Kayaker faces jail time for orca swim

(topVIEW Photography)
(topVIEW Photography)

A kayaker who swam with an orca has discovered he's being investigated by the Department of Conservation (DoC), and could face a fine of up to $250,000 or a jail sentence.

"When I entered the water, I have basically no recollection of what was going on because of the excitement of it all," kayaker Tim Stewart says.

topVIEW Photography happened upon the encounter with a drone and the video has since attracted millions of views online.

"[I'm] bewildered by where it's gone," Mr Stewart says.

"I've had my mother ring me from England saying she'd seen it on television, and in Australia and somebody else from America."

But DoC has also seen the video and they're not happy.

An investigation has been launched and Mr Stewart could be charged with harassing, disturbing, injuring or killing a marine mammal. The punishment is up to two years in jail, or a fine up to a quarter of a million dollars.

Mr Stewart says he broke the law "out of ignorance".

Just six days after that encounter, topVIEW Photography captured footage of a speed boat charging through a large pod of dolphins not just once, but three times.

topVIEW's Sam Kynman-Cole released the full version of the footage exclusively to Newshub and Mr Stewart believes there's a huge difference between the two acts.

"That is deserving of prosecution, I don't think I'm deserving of prosecution," he says.

"That I see as ridiculously stupid."

Now that Mr Stewart realises the seriousness of the situation, he's considering hiring a lawyer. But despite the threat of prosecution, he still says he has no regrets.

"No it was an amazing experience, it was worth a million dollars," he says.