Te Awanga fisherman Ziggy Bawden caught more than just crayfish while checking his pots at Cape Kidnappers last Thursday.

Mr Bawden managed to capture his close encounter with about a dozen killer whales on camera.

"We were just checking the cray pots then we saw some orca, so we went over to have a look. One came over really close and I got it on camera."

Mr Bawden posted the footage to Facebook where it has already been viewed more than 7000 times.

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"It was awesome, just amazing."

Mr Bawden was on board with his wife and father.

Although the trio counted roughly 12 orcas in the pod, only three came right up to the boat.

"They were just coming for a look," Mr Bawden said.

He said they weren't the "real big ones," the biggest being about five metres long.
"I've seen them before but not that close, it was by far the most exciting encounter I've had."

Department of Conservation (DoC) manager Dave Carlton said it was not unusual for orcas to cruise the coast of Hawke's Bay in search of food.

He said anyone encountering the wild animals should use caution and keep their distance.

"They are big animals and may have young with them so you don't want to break up the pod."

Ziggy's father Neville Bawden has been fishing off the cape for 40 years and said this was also by far his most exhilarating orca encounter.

"I've seen them before, but they generally keep their distance."
He said he suspected one of the bigger bulls was watching what was going on from a distance.

"We really did just buzz all day, it was incredible."

Facebook users were in awe of Mr Bawden's footage.

"I have now watched it more than 10 times and can't get over it! What an amazing experience. No words for it. Just awesome,"Ann-Margaret Rooney said.

In the video one of the younger orcas is seen swimming right up to the boat and rolling on its back.

"I love it how he's just showing off in front of you, like 'rub my belly'," Caleb Buffchacho McNabb said.

Trudi Calder echoed the sentiments of most commenters.

"Nature at its finest. Magical experience. Lucky boys," she said.

?To view the video, visit https://www.facebook.com/ziggy.bawden?pnref=story