My First Encounter with Beautiful Orcas – 12/04

My first encounter with beautiful orcas and what’s more, an unexpected one! Ok just to put this into context, when I say unexpected, I was on a whale watching trip at in the Bay of Islands at the top of New Zealand’s North Island so I was hoping to see something.

What made it unexpected was the fact we were told before leaving port that the whales currently in the waters were Southern Right Whales. Now I’m very fond of this species (and was lucky enough to see them in Patagonia) but ever since I was a young child there’s always been something uniquely evocative in my mind about Orcas. So when we were out at sea my heart leapt when I heard the skipper of a nearby boat radio ours with the simple word ‘orcas’ and their subsequent location. I could barely contain my excitement and didn’t have to wait long before we spotted a small pod close to the original boat who had noted their presence in the area. Our own boat shut down engines an appropriate distance away and luckily a mother and calf came closer to us, giving us a fantastic view.

The orcas stayed around the boats for some time making an amazing moment last that little bit longer. If I had been fascinated with these beautiful animals previously, this experience instilled a lifelong desire to see and help them as much as possible.

-Graham

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