BY JULIA WADE
Large wild creatures frolicking along the coastline is always a sight set to thrill, and over the last few weeks several reports of beautiful marine mammals gracing Mangawhai’s waters have been posted on local social media.
One of the most recent sightings was on the afternoon of November 13, where around ten orca, including three calves, were spotted hunting stingray as they traversed Mangawhai’s Harbour as far as Moir’s Point.
However some locals were also concerned that the creatures showed signs of stress as some boaties, in their excitement, got a bit too close for comfort for the massive sea adventures, with one orca slapping her tail, a classic signal for people to ‘back off’. Other warning behaviours are breaching, tail fluke swipes, fin slaps and thrashing.
Project Jonah NZ general manager Daren Grover says it would have been an incredible experience for the locals to watch the whales close to the shoreline, however any interaction, ‘should be on the whales and dolphins terms’.
“So don’t approach them and don’t block them, especially if there are calves in the pod,” he says. “If you’re in a boat or on a jet ski and travelling, maintain your course and speed, give no sudden hard direction or speed changes, and if you do approach a pod, always come from behind, never cross their path of direction.”
Interested in becoming a Project Jonah trained Marine Mammal Medic? Training courses for 2021 will be held in Ruakaka on March 21, and Auckland April 10 and 11. Visit projectjonah.org.nz for more details.