Killers at play: extraordinary photos of orcas chasing down yacht

Extraordinary pictures of orcas surfing the wake of a boat off the coast of Mexico show the marine mammals playing in jet bubbles and chasing down a yacht.

A fishing company from Loreto, Mexico, runs charters off the Baja Coast. Cast 'n Reel owner Ashley Ross said it was "magical" to be able to snap the shots they did about a month ago.

"As far as we know this is the first time orcas have surfed the wake of a boat here in Loreto.

"They never played so closely to us. They usually keep their distance until we turn the engines off. Then they circle the boat and even swim underneath," she said.

"The orcas that we find here are magical. To see them so happy in their natural state is priceless."

New Zealand orca expert Jo Halliday said it was not uncommon for orcas to play in the same way dolphins did.

While orcas were normally found in cooler waters near both poles and in the Pacific, Halliday said they were quite happy in temperate waters as well.

While there was no evidence of orcas attacking humans, people should still keep their distance, Halliday said.

While commonly called "killer whales", orcas are actually large dolphins.

Fairfax NZ News/