A New Zealand mom got to watch as a pod of orcas, or killer whales as they're sometimes called, swam around near her 6-year-old daughter while the young lass tried to learn to water-ski, Stuff reports. Fortunately, the animals are not considered a danger to humans in the wild.
Natalie Kepa and her family and friends had gone to the calm waters of Kumutoto Bay for some water-skiing on Sunday, and Natalie's 6-year-old daughter, Stella, decided to try her hand at the sport. However, the young lady's first attempt at water-skiing was short-lived, as someone on board the boat that was pulling her almost immediately noticed something in the water.
"I've just seen a big black shadow under the water," the boat's driver said, as he pulled the craft over to a safe place.
Needless to say, talk of black shadows underneath the surface of the water, when one is in the ocean, is rarely a good thing, and Natalie says she was terrified.
"I was holding onto the rope with Stella and the fear of God was in me. I said; 'What is it, what is it?' and [the driver] said 'I don't know,'" Kepa said.
Then, the party noticed big black fins.
Fortunately, the party soon realized that it wasn't a shark swimming about, but rather, a pod of orcas. Still, Natalie was scared.
"We started seeing the orca underneath Stella, between the boat and Stella skiing - it was so terrifying," she said.
Natalie ordered her husband to get Stella out of the water, and then the group watched as the giant marine mammals went about their business.
The entire thing was captured on video, which you can see below.Though the family was terrified about the encounter, Stella, her mother says, was "stoked." And even though they called it an early day after the incident, they plan to return to the same area for more water-skiing, in order to keep Stella from becoming afraid.
Still, Natalie says she hopes not to see any orcas on their next trip.
As it turns out, the family likely had nothing to fear. They believe the marine mammals were hunting stingrays, not humans. And indeed, orcas, despite their terrifying nickname, aren't known to be a threat to humans -- at least, not in the wild. As of this writing, there are no known incidents of orcas attacking humans in the wild (though they are believed to have contributed to human deaths in captivity).