Last Tuesday a reckless Orca “Killer Whale” diced with death when he entered shallow water and was beached at Ruakaka, my favourite walking beach. Luckily his presence was quickly reported to the Department of Conservation and the local community. My friend Chris’ boss, Roger and visiting film-makers Nic and Kirsten were among those who responded to the call for help. As they battled to get the young chap back to deep water, his mother, Yin and brother, Rua who had responded to his distress calls, waited patienty out in the breakers.
Ah ah, can I hear you asking how come I am referring to these whales by name? It happens this young fellow is known to Ingrid Visser, a marine biologist and the first New Zealander to research orcas exclusively. She has set up the Orca Project Hotline and when whales are spotted in the north she is person who is called and, of course, when the call came she quickly responded. She recognised young Putita immediately, has known him since he was a kid and had met him up close before when his reckless lifestyle led to him being stranded at Mangawhai, a few miles south of Ruakaka. She regards the whales are her whanau (family).
Ingrid said Putita is a great hunter and may have been catching stingrays in the surf when he got into the shallow water and got into strife.
I think the photo below tells the story:
I have lifted the photos from Roger's Surfline blog where they are credited to 'The Northern Advocate', our local paper. Thanks Roger, Mike, and the Advocate.
And to think all this happened right there, where we go on to the beach for walks!