A family of three orcas were captured riding alongside the bow of a boat near Cape Rodney on Sunday morning.

Kirstin Jones was one of five people on the yacht who were surprised by how close the orcas came. The group was sailing from Tutukaka to Auckland when the sighting happened.

"I felt very privileged to get that kind of visitation, it was the highlight," says Jones, a guest on the yacht Spearhead.

The group spotted the pod in the distance after passing a fishing vessel they believed attracted the orcas. As they continued to sail the pod moved closer, eventually appearing right under the bow of their boat.

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"They just kept coming closer and closer, they were around for about 15 minutes. It was pretty special," says Jones.

Jones has not spotted orcas in the area before and their closeness to the boat was especially unique. After sharing the video on Facebook, she had lots of comments from friends shocked by the "bow-riding" orcas.

Dolphins are often seen riding waves from boats, but the orcas were a special sighting.