Orcas to start the day

Think of the perfect start to your day. A coffee and pain au chocolat perhaps? A beautiful sunrise or birdsong at your window? Happy children that eagerly cooperate in everything that is asked of them?

Tuesday morning we couldn’t have asked for anything better than seeing a family of Orcas just metres from shore.

Credit: Kelly Thomas - Orcas, Lyall Bay

FIN-TASTIC: Orca make a visit to Lyall Bay, Wellington
CREDIT: Kelly Thomas [supplied to Stuff.co.nz and Dominion Post]

I was driving Sophie to Kindi when the sight of cars pulled up on the kerbside, and folk looking out to sea, brought a sudden rush of excitement to my chest. First thought to enter my head, ‘Dolphins or Orcas?’.

I hastily pulled the car up onto the kerb, patting myself on the back for impulsively remembering to check in my rear view mirror and indicate first. I raced to open my car door and let Sophie out. We couldn’t see anything. Drats! Had we missed whatever it was? I asked the closest person and quickly discovered a family of Orcas had been close to shore, but were moving on up the coast.

‘Quick, Sophie, back in the car!’

We drove on for less than a kilometre, with me trying to remember to focus on the road and avoid crashing into the other cars occupied with equally distracted drivers trying to sight Orcas.

‘There Sophie! I’ve seen them! Right by the rocks! They are actually in the bay!’

Pulling onto the kerb with hasty excitement and racing to open the doors, grab the camera and check Alice was still happy, we sighted two Orcas on the opposite side of Island Bay, mere metres from shore. We were too far away to get a photograph, so dived back in the car to get closer to the action. The Orcas were moving fast, chasing their breakfast – sting ray someone reckoned!

Island Bay

ISLAND BAY: No Orcas in this photograph, but beautiful all the same.

We pulled in on the other side of the bay and Sophie ran down the beach to the rocks.

Sophie makes a dash for it to see the Orcas

ORCAS: Sophie makes a dash for it. Two Orca fins are on the left-hand side of the photograph.

Within minutes the Orcas were on the move again and so were we. I hastily phoned Dan, who was cycling up to school to drop Charlotte off on his way to work. As soon as he heard the news he turned his bike around and peddled fast back to the coast. This was one morning when work could wait!

Finally, after a couple more stops, we got our best sighting in Ohiro Bay.

Orcas in Ohiro Bay


It was the most amazing sight and a breathtaking way to start Tuesday morning! Alice, bless her, was more concerned about when her next sleep and feed was coming, what with all the stops and starts in the car. Sophie was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to get to Kindi to tell everyone her fin-tastic news. Dan hopped back on his bike and managed to make it to the office by 10am. Unforgettable.

Orca fins in Ohiro Bay

ORCAS: Catching their breakfast in Ohiro Bay

See the tail?

ORCA: Spot the tail!