An Auckland couple had the experience of a lifetime yesterday when a curious pod of orca came within touching distance of their kayak.
Photographers Scott Sinton and Julie Chandelier spend a lot of time of the water and are "very fond of marine mammals," Julie said.
The small pod had been seen just off the Whangaparaoa coastline over the past few days, and Julie said "we couldn't help but go out when we heard a pod of orca was around.
"We kept a good distance as always (50m) and they decided to come and check us out.
"The six of them surrounded us, swam under us and gave us one of the best experiences.
"It was pretty incredible."
Julie said she and Scott are often on the lookout for marine mammals like orca, and have noticed an increase lately in the number of people heading out to interact with them.
She said it was important that people doing so abide by the Department of Conservation's guidelines.
"The most special interactions always happen on the animals' terms."