Luna the Whale Tale of Puget Sound
The Story of Luna the Whale
Nootka sound is not customarily home to resident orca pods but the area did become home to one young male orca named Luna, who was a media sensation. In 2001, Luna was separated from his family that resided in Washington’s Puget Sound. Somehow, Luna arrived instead at Nootka Sound. The came just days after the Mowachaht’s Chief Ambrose Maquinna had passed away.
Before his death, the Chief has said he would return as a whale to assist the Mowachaht people oppose the invasion of commercial salmon fisheries. When Luna showed up three days after the Chief’s death, the whale’s presence at Nootka Sound was seen as sacred to the Mowachaht people and while some environmental groups wanted to move the whale back to the Puget Sound where it would live among its familial pod, the Mowachaht opposed this with the belief that Luna was the reincarnations of Chief Ambrose Maquinna. The Mowachaht did not keep Luna, who they called Tsuxiit, in the Nootka Sound against his will and most conservationists agree that Luna was capable of swimming back to his family.
Instead of doing this, Luna remained in the Nootka Sound and became quite an attraction in the area. Luna would frequently swim up to boats, flirting with their passengers and eventually, tourists began coming to Nootka Sound just to play with the flirtatious baby orca. Many people attribute Luna’s playfulness to loneliness and Luna’s friendliness ultimately resulted in the whale’s untimely death. In 2006, Luna was playing around a tugboat in the area when he became caught in the boat’s propellers and died. Orcas customarily live a lifespan similar to humans; this made Luna’s young death especially sad to orca lovers and the Mowachaht population.