Kauri Point coastal residents know to keep an eye out for Orca once summer starts. Neighbours alerted us to a pod entering the harbour on the evening of November 15. By the time we had the kayak in the water most of the pod was well in to the harbour, hunting stingray on the incoming tide. We could chart their progress by the seagulls in their wake, ready to snap up stingray offal spat out by the whales The bull Orca in this pictures was hanging back behind the pod, and at first we thought he was distressed. No. He just had a cunning plan. In water less than half the depth of a kayak paddle the Orca deliberately beached himself to herd stingray into shallower water. In the first picture the Orca swims towards the shallows. In the second he has beached, with his belly scraping the mud and his back out of the water; using his tail to crab sideways and then push forwards. Picture three shows the whale wriggling around to change direction, and then with a number of large tail movements (picture four and top) he was back into the channel and swimming to rejoin the pod.
Drying out your camera and cell phone afterwards: a day in the hot water cupboard