1 Luna of Nootka Sound

Perhaps it was a storm with great waves and high winds that caused the young Orca to get separated from his mother and his extended family called a pod. Nobody knows for sure but when the killer whale swam into Nootka Sound off Vancouver Island he was all alone. The lone whale was identified by marine biologists as Luna of L-pod. Scientists always name the young orcas in the Pacific Northwest when they are born, and they can easily identify them by their distinctive black and white markings.

Luna of Nootka Sound 2

No two killer whales look quite the same. In Nootka Sound, Luna found all the salmon he wanted for food. L-pod which was his extended family swam far away to the San Juan Islands.

Orcas or killer whales are highly social animals. That means they need others of their own kind to make them happy. They hunt together, play together, and protect each other. The older ones instruct the younger ones in all the skills they need to survive. When Luna no longer had other whales to share his time, he became lonely and started looking for attention from people. He would swim up to boats. If they stopped he would give them a slight bump. Often he would swim alongside them looking for a friendly scratch on the back or a belly rub.

When word got out that a killer whale was being friendly to boaters in Nootka Sound, people came from all over to see the wild animal. Luna slowly was getting tamed. Some person put on a wet suit and tried to ride Luna. Another time over a hundred persons crowded on a narrow pier in a harbor and tried to touch Luna as he swam just a few feet away. Luna was a big sensation with lots of people.

However not everyone was happy about the killer whales interest in humans. By the end of the first summer he had become so fearless that he was pushing boats around and had actually broken the rudders of a few of them. He had also been hurt doing this, getting a big cut over his eye when he bumped into a sharp propeller.