After my work-out this morning, I drove back to the city via the bays. I have described this drive numerous times – past the boys’ school, the marina and boat sheds and the several tiny coves. Out on the water there was a sailing school enjoying the mild breeze. I neared Point Jerningham, and started planning where I would stop at for my Monday morning caffeine kickstart to the week. As I turned into Oriental Bay, the city spread out in front of me; a view that never disappoints. There were the usual suspects walking, jogging, cycling and fishing along the bay. I saw two men standing gazing out into the harbour, one pointing, the other with his phone held out in front of him, photographing something. I glanced across, and immediately saw a huge black fin.
I was not going to miss this! I have lived in Wellington for almost 24 years, and never once I have managed to see any of the more interesting visitors we have to our harbour. (The one pod of dolphins in Lyall Bay, on the south coast, was not actually in the harbour, so doesn’t count.) So I parked immediately, and rushed across the road to the shore’s edge. And there, in front of me, only metres from the rocks, rounding the point and heading into the harbour, was a pod of orcas. As they rose for air, I could see the beautiful and distinctive black and white markings on one or two that broke the water. There appeared to be a number with youngsters, one of which had lost most of its dorsal fin. I stood there for some minutes, in awe, as they passed. I estimate I saw at least ten, though reports on the newspaper’s website say it was only a pod of four. I know I saw more than that though, as they varied in size and shape, and took several minutes to pass the point and move fully into the inner harbour.
They apparently headed directly for the wharf, delighting those in the office towers (including my husband) and around the waterfront, and later ventured north to the bleaker Petone shore. You can see a brief video here.
And I sat on the Bay and drank my takeaway coffee, happy that I have finally seen what is in fact a reasonably regular (several times a year) occurrence in Wellington.