Orca close encounter in harbour

21:50, Mar 25 2014

A pod of orcas got within touching distance when they paid a visit to Wellington.

Jack Machiela filmed the pod from the Karaka Bay wharf on the Miramar Peninsula yesterday afternoon.

At one stage they swam right under the wharf and if he had reached out he could have touched a dorsal fin, he said.

The Lord of the Rings tour guide had been taking a group of Canadians, Chinese, and Australians past Scorching Bay when he first spotted the family pod.

Further around the coast he stopped the van at Karaka Bay to let the tourists out for an unscheduled stop. The tourists were ''buzzing'' after the encounter, he said.

''We didn't see orcs but we saw orcas.''

Orcas are regularly seen in Wellington Harbour, but tend not to stay for long.

They specialise in hunting sharks and stingrays, but have also been known to eat whales, walruses and penguins.

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The Dominion Post