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Tourists on a boat tour on the Newfoundland coast got the show of a lifetime Thursday afternoon when a pod of orcas attacked a minke whale.

Chris Shortall runs the Molly Bawn boat tours out of Mobile, a community on the southern shore of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula. The area is the splashing ground of humpback and minke whales, dolphins and seabirds, but orca whales are rarely seen.

"They were in hot pursuit of a minke whale," Shortall told CBC News.

"They were attacking it and biting into it."

Eventually, the orcas killed and ate the minke, something Shortall called "disturbing but part of nature."

As for the sightseers, "They were blown away," and "a little mortified."

The boat came within a few dozen centimetres of the whales, which sometimes swam underneath the small boat, which usually only has space for 12 tourists.