Kayak­ing with orca at Raglan

Hamilton Metro News - - Front Page - Belinda Feek

A group of kayak­ers in Raglan Har­bour man­aged to get up close and per­sonal with a pod of orca.

Ten kayak­ers and pad­dle board­ers set out from Raglan Kayak and Pad­dle board’s Bow St jetty and within five min­utes of pad­dling had sad­dled up along­side the crea­tures, owner Stephen Reid said.

“We were straight across from the har­bour. It was only a 5 or 10-minute pad­dle from where we set out from.”

At least five orca were seen by the group on Thurs­day, half of which were tourists and the rest were lo­cals.

“It was a cou­ple of tourists that alarmed me and saidwe need a kayak, we can see the orca, and the oth­ers were al­ready out there so it was re­ally a case of good tim­ing, we hit the right spot at the right time, re­ally,” Reid said.

The orca had been reg­u­lar vis­i­tors into the har­bour this year, feed­ing on the steady sup­ply of stingray, Reid said.

“We’ve had a few ex­pe­ri­ences pad­dling with them, so I’ve kind of got to know their pat­terns a bit and they head up the har­bour and they’re usu­ally in for 30, 40 [min­utes] to an hour and then they’ll come back out with the tide so af­ter about half an hour of them be­ing in, I’m shut­ting up and go­ing out for a pad­dle, know­ing that they were go­ing to come back down the coast.”

Reid said there was one “re­ally big one that had a re­ally wonky dor­sal fin”, while the oth­ers were also a good size.

“They’re just beau­ti­ful. It’s such an amaz­ing feel­ing when you’re there— it’s amix­ture of nerves and ex­cite­ment and adrenalin. It’s out of this world.”

Reid said he’d seen them about four times this year.

“We’ve been run­ning this busi­ness for 14 years and we used to think around Novem­ber and Fe­bru­ary we’d get them around those months, but this year I feel like they’ve been in­more of­ten to be hon­est, that’s my feel­ing on it. It would be great if it was a reg­u­lar thing.”

Photo / Stephen Reid

Kayak­ers in Raglan Har­bour got up close with a pod of orca.

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