Seventy-two Mercury Bay Area School students, and a number of teachers and parents got more than they bargained for when they came up close and personal with a group of orca during a trip on the Glass Bottom Boat on Tuesday last week.
“We were keen to take students from MBAS to Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve, but had to postpone the outing three times because of the weather conditions,” says Mark Jones, Glass Bottom Boat owner. “The weather was perfect last Tuesday and to add to the excitement, I got a call from Luke Reilly of Luke’s Kitchen, who was on the water earlier in the morning, to say there’s a pod of orca in the marine reserve not far from Centre Island. We went looking for them and the students were super happy to see them in their natural habitat.
“We were always going to make three trips using two boats on the day to accommodate all the students. The amazing thing is that the orca stayed around in the marine reserve the whole day for all the students to see them. It was pretty special. The kids were fizzing.”
Mark hopes that they would be able to make the outing an annual event. “The only problem is that this year is going to be a hard act to follow,” he says. “I’m not sure what we’re going to do to make next year even better.”
Pictured is Hazel Whitford, one of the students who participated in the trip, with an orca in the background.