Luna the Orca

The story of Luna, the young Orca whale who called Nootka Sound its home, became famous to the locals when he entered the sound in 2001. Luna was separated from his pod (L-pod) at the young age of 2 years old, lost and alone, he found his way to Nootka Sound and immediately became a notable presence with the boats in the area. His survival was doubted by scientists because orca whales are extremely social animals, and Luna was so young. To much surprise, Luna adapted to the local environment.

Luna became so popular because of his tendency to ‘play’ with boats and people. He would rub against the hull of a boat and swim with boats not fast enough to outrun him such as sailboats, trolling fishing boats and tugs. His intentions never appeared to be violent but due to his size and power, Luna caused damage to some boats while playing. Scientists and the Department of Oceans and Fisheries decided to reunite Luna with his pod. Their efforts were blocked by the Mowachat/Muchalahat peoples who were connected spiritually to Luna. Lunas appearance came just days after the passing of Chief Ambrose Maquinna, who wished to return as an orca in the afterlife. As the government ships appeared to take Luna back to his pod, the members of Mowachat/Muchalahat First Nations appeared in long canoes, singing. Luna followed the canoes and after a few days of this, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans called off their ships.

After a few years, Luna was accidentally killed in 2006 after he swam into a propeller blade in Nootka Sound. The memory of Luna and his legend travelled across the world and captured the hearts of many.