Visiting orca draw a crowd

19:01, Jan 30 2014
Orca pod
MAKING A SPLASH: Waterfront whale watchers look on as the pod of orca put on a show off Rocks Rd on Thursday afternoon.

Seeing orca makes living in Nelson extra special.

An increasingly common sight at this time of year, a pod of whales frolicking in the Haven drew scores of spectators to Nelson's waterfront yesterday.

Tony Bennett was cruising along the Haven on the high tide around 10am yesterday, running in his new outboard engine and taking a look at the Boulder Bank baches when his wife Margot called out: "What's that?"

Ahead were about eight orca. "They came straight towards us in two distinct groups and we were right in the middle."

They watched the orca, intrigued as they blew air.

"What a special moment," said Mr Bennett. The couple moved to Nelson from Hertfordshire in England four years ago.

He said they were amazed at being in the midst of the orca, and his wife mentioned whether it was safe. "I said as long as you stay in the boat."

As the orca moved away, she said to him: "You don't happen to miss being back in Hertfordshire then."

Orca researcher Ingrid Visser said the orca would have been hunting for rays.