Orca sighting at Tahunanui

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A pod of orcas were spotted along the back of Tahunanui Beach this morning including a mother with her calf.

The orcas came up out of the water in order to navigate over the sandbar before heading towards rabbit island and then towards the back beach.

Dog walkers were frantically calling for their dogs who were in the water at the time in order to keep them out of harms way.

DOC marine technical advisor, Andrew Baxter, says it’s unlikely orcas will attack a dog but they have been known to take seals and dolphins.

“It would be prudent to have your dog out of the water.”

As the tide continued to go out the orcas quickly turned around near the Blind Canal and headed back to sea.

Andrew says there are less than 200 orcas in New Zealand and there are they migrate around the country in separate family groups. Some groups travel around the North Island, some around the South Island and some travel around both.

He says orcas feed off rays and it would be the eagle rays in the channel that brought them in near the shoreline.

“They seem to come through, hang around for a while and move on.”

One regular beachgoer says he has never seen them this close in the area. The orcas were about 15m from the shoreline.

Watching through binoculars he said there was kayaker Shane Anderson with the orcas as they headed back over the sandbar.

Shane said one of the orcas came close enough to touch.

Did you get any photos of the orcas? Send them through to us.