In no particular order here
are some local comments and (unconfirmed) stories about
Luna and his interactions with boaters during his time
in Mooyah Bay.
boaters who were aware of Luna were operating under the misconception
that it was acceptable to stop in the zone and allow for Luna
to come to them. Erin and I explained Luna is a special case
and for him there is no safe viewing distance.
of the common questions we get is “Why is Luna staying in this
one location?” Our answer to that is that we don’t know. One
of the stories we’ve heard is that Luna’s uncle died in Mooyah
Bay when his pod was passing through and he has chosen to stay
people think Luna is part of the transient population, recalling
that they’ve seen his family in the area hunting seals off
haul-outs south of Gore Island.
have heard of people feeding Luna, repeatedly the item mentioned
was a loaf of bread, and once, we heard of taco chips and beer-
whether there’s any truth to that we’re not sure.
Forbes, who is the owner/operator of Critter Cove, told us
that prior to us being here there would be 30 boats any given
day in the zone with Luna. He shared his experiences with
Luna last winter (2001/2002) when he could watch Luna from
a distance breaching and feeding. His favourite site was Luna
schooling pilchard against his body with his pectoral fin. He
said Luna used to capture his prey and bring it to the boat
as if to show what he’d caught. Cam recalled he would bring
salmon half chewed to boat sides.
has mucous eye goobers in both eyes. It looks like a transparent
jelly type film that trails the direction of his swimming. They
are about six inches in length and we tried to capture them
on video for the attention of trained biologists to diagnose
(we’re not sure how well that came up on the video).
see an average of six to ten planes daily flying over Mooyah
Bay. It appeared most of them were travelling through but
on few occasions planes have circled the area and flown extremely
low to the surface. We’re not positive as to distances above
water because we don’t have a rangefinder nor are we positive
of the company these planes belong to- we think it’s Nootka
passing out info at Cougar Creek we heard a story from an older
lady who had taken their small Boston Whaler out with her grandkids
and husband to Mooyah Bay to see Luna from a distance. She
was quite clearly frightened by his assertiveness and was insistent
that there be more publicity attesting to his mannerisms. She
was from Campbell River and was sure to add she had read and
seen all the coverage about the whale (our question was then
why would you enter the zone?!).
Sinclair told us of his experiences with Luna pushing him away
from boaters he would be talking with by wedging his body between
the two boats. It took a couple of days of us being there
before he began to do the same thing with us. We also noticed
his tail splashing when engines would start to become more
aggressive, as if he was clearly intent upon them staying. We
think this is due to cutting down the number of interactions.
the ten days we were there we noticed peoples response changing
when we approached them already with Luna. It used to be that
boaters played dumb about knowing what area they were in, or
about Luna in general and would slowly pitter patter away from
the zone after talking with us. Over the past two days we
had more than two boaters ask us how to get him away from them
or if we could take him now in an urgent sort of frightened
expression. The physical power of Luna coupled with his increasing
level of assertiveness is changing the boaters responses to
a couple of occasions we approached boaters who claimed there
should be signs up at Gold River and local marinas. There
are signs up at Gold River and all the local marinas which
tells us either they’re not big enough or aren’t in the best
location for viewing.
have been told that boaters travelling under 30 knots are approachable
by the whale on two separate occasions.
we know Mooyah Bay to be closed for fin fishing, the signs
in the marinas say it is open for fishing but it is a no retention
area. This confusion has had us speaking with one boat within
the bay that was fishing. Crab trapping etc. is open and although
we discourage people placing their traps there, we also ask
them if they are going to trap there to transit in and out
of the zone as quickly as possible, transiting along the shorelines
as much as possible.
boaters have told us on their way through Gold River they were
told by store clerks of where Luna is located, to go and see
him, that Luna will let you know when he’s had enough visiting..
boater asked if the lady who swam with Luna has been reprimanded?
believe it was Cam who told us about a boat of school children
dipping their feet in the water with LunaThere
is concern that boaters who see M3 come into Critter Cove for
lunch or dinner are taking advantage of our temporary lack
of presence in the zone. On August 10th Garth,
Veins of Life Watershed Society, Louise and Megan ran into
a boat (“Striper”) on its way into the zone to have a look
with their cameras out and ready to go. Striper is a boat
that I’m sure is aware of our presence because we’ve seen him
at Critter Cove on a daily basis and while we haven’t spoken
with him on the water I’m pretty sure we’ve spoken to him at
Critter Cove at the fueling station.
boater who supported the effort to cut down all human interaction
suggested we update the Critter Cove website with progress
reports so people can follow the progress and Critter Cove,
along with all the people who do follow the requests when transiting
through be recognized for their support and cooperation.
First Nations in Nootka Sound believe that Luna arrived around
the same time that their Chief, Ambrose Maquinna died, and
that Luna is there to mourn his death. They believe that after
the mourning period, Luna will leave the area. The local newspaper Ha-shilth-sa indicates
that the First Nation’s name for L98 is “Cuuxiit”.
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