Anti port extension people go for the emotions: who will save those killer whales?

Photo credit:  Amos Chapple

Photo credit: Amos Chapple

A clear sign the protesters are on the back foot, they have abandoned rational argument (such as it was), and gone straight for the heart strings.

Proposed Auckland port developments could be a killer blow for the harbour’s already endangered New Zealand orca population, a wildlife expert fears.

Ports of Auckland wants to build two 100m extensions from the end of Bledisloe Wharf and eventually reclaim 3ha of seabed between them, a move which has sparked fierce public backlash.

Orca Research Trust founder and principal scientist Dr Ingrid Visser feared a narrower Waitemata Harbour would make boat strikes more common and increased noise could put the endangered mammals off entering a vital feeding and sleeping area.

Oh dear.  Of all the places in the world Orca want to feed and sleep, it’s exactly off the current port extension.  Right.  Not doing yourself a lot of credit there Ingrid.  This is how you lose support from people who care about your work in general. Read more »


Close encounter of the Orca kind

These sorts of clips are mandatory here at Whaleoil

Read more »


I wonder what the green taliban will say about this


Orca whales are awesome…especially when they carve up useless gray whales.

Nature’s truth and tragedy unfolded in a dramatic scene on Monterey Bay last week when a pack of 20 orcas attacked a mother gray whale and its calf.

The fight lasted more than two hours, witnessed and photographed by field scout Bart Selby, and dozens aboard whale watching boats that cruised at top speeds to the periphery of the scene and cut their engines.


Selby, a kayaker, wildlife expert and photographer, heard about the whales and headed straight to Monterey. In 2011, Selby paddled a kayak solo 25 miles from Santa Cruz to Monterey, and two weeks ago, reported sighting a mother gray whale and its calf lounging on the inshore waters at Whaler’s Cove at Pigeon Point near Pescadero.

Selby boarded the Point Sur Clipper with Monterey’s champion whale specialist, Nancy Black, and they quickly found the orcas, more than 20 in all, on the hunt.

Orcas find gray whales

At mid-afternoon, the orcas found a mother gray whale with a calf.

“They came in waves, like attacking swarms of hockey players,” Selby said. “When one group got tired, then the entire line would rotate out and orbit the center ring while a new swarm of orcas pressed the attack.”

Just as a pack of coyotes will try to separate a fawn from its protective mother, the orcas tried to pry the calf away from its mother as well.   Read more »

Family witness Killer Whale hunt close-up


Jack Machiela’s Wellington Orca encounter yesterday

This is pretty cool

While guiding a LOTR tour around Wellington (NZ), we came across a pod of about 6-8 Orcas (aka Killer Whales), making their way out of the Wellington Harbour, moving from Scorching Bay back through Karaka Bay. We stood on the Karaka Bay jetty, and let the gentle giants pass right below us. Magic!

Supporting our Kiwi battlers overseas: Michael Poole

One of the things that opposition politicians like to make a meal of is the fact that young Kiwis go overseas for study, adventure, career. I guess they would prefer the old East German or North Korean scenario that you can’t leave and that anyone who did was a defector.

Often they do it the hard way too. A Kiwi kid studying overseas can’t access student loans, etc, back in NZ. If it is for sport they have to make it on their own – away from any taxpayer funded national body. The really weird thing is they grow, develop, get new skills and often contribute overseas. Many of them also come back later on and bring their value with them.

Here is an example.

22 year old Kiwi born and bred triathlete and Florida Chemical Engineering college student Michael Poole is an ORCA athlete who has taken the big step of being open about his epilepsy by working with the Epilepsy Foundation USA which serves over 2 million Americans. This includes being invited to address one of their key events in Washington DC. He has just returned to the USA after some summer training and racing in NZ and Australia. He is heading towards a huge US race programme. He is keen to make a big contribution to this organisation as he does it through encouraging activity and understanding.

Poole is pictured above racing the legendary Craig Alexander in Auckland, NZ last month. Photo/ Supplied

Poole is pictured above racing the legendary Craig Alexander in Auckland, NZ last month. Photo/ Supplied

For the lair


I am starting to make a list of items that are needed for the lair…you know cool stuff like  a Polar Bear, Grizzly Bear rug, a Lion, a Cougar, Moose, Elk, that kind of thing.

Toys are also on the list of things for the lair.

I like this one…has the Whale theme going and looks like a whole heap of fun.

Is it a plane? Well, it steers like one. Is it a boat? Legally, yes. Is it a submarine? Kind of … and then it leaps out of the water and breaches just like a whale.

The Seabreacher could be described as a fast-planing raceboat, or alternately as a fully sealed jet-ski-engined sea missile that can plunge two people under the water at 60km/h and then hurl them into the sky.  Read more »

Obligatory Orca post

The Herald finally reports on something useful

Morgan Tait reports

Aucklander Mike Coughlan was filming a diving trip off Matai Bay on the Karikari Peninsula before Christmas with a friend, and as he resurfaced found himself up close and personal with an 8m orca and her 1.5m calf.

“I was coming back to the boat after diving for crays and was behind the boat when the mother and calf came towards me,” he told the Herald.

The whale dwarfed the 5.6m speedboat he was diving from, he said.

“I think they were curious. I didn’t really have time to be scared or intimidated, they were just suddenly there.”

Mr Coughlan quickly jumped back on to the boat.

“The mother and calf came right up, about half a metre, to the boat …

I had my GoPro [camera] on a stick so I dropped it into the water and filmed them coming over.”

Video, thanks to Mr Coughlan, over the break   Read more »

Having a whale of a time

Kristin Edge at The Norther Advocate reported on orcas, which means an immediate obligatory post for Whaleoil:


Credit: Ingrid Visser and Monique Visser from Orca Research

It seems locals and tourists aren’t the only ones enjoying Northland’s fabulous coastline at this time of year.

A pod of 23 orcas delighted boaties and devoted researcher Dr Ingrid Visser when they cruised into the waters at the Poor Knight Islands last week.   Read more »

Eating baby seals is only the beginning

Apparently I eat babies…am evil personified…and should be ignored.

But you can’t ignore Killer Whales…you can only seek to understand them.

Fortunately The Atlantic earlier last year compiled a list of 7 reasons why Killer Whales are Evil geniuses.

Over at Wired Science, a photographer caught a stunning sequence of a killer whale in Monterey Bay flipping a dolphin out of the water and then eating it. Apparently, they do this regularly! “I have seen this with several different species of dolphins from various places around the world, so I think that killer whales probably do this regularly but not commonly,” a NOAA ecologist told Nadia Drake. “With slower swimming species, like seals and sea lions, killer whales prefer to use their tails to swat them out of the water.” Just go look at the ridiculous photographs.

Yikes. So that’s reason number one: they kill dolphins, and who doesn’t love dolphins?

Perhaps, though, we should more firmly establish that they are evil.* They kill baby things. So many baby things and in so many innovative ways!Baby sealsBaby sea lions. Even baby sperm whales!   Read more »