1. #1
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    Unhappy Accident Claims Local Celebrity

    Even though there were times when he was a royal pain to boaters and a safety risk to himself, he was a well know feature to the west coast of Vancouver Island. I am sure he will be sadly missed.

    Tug Owner recalls orca's habit of 'goofing around'

    Sandra McCulloch, Times Colonist Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    Luna spent the last few hours of his life chasing sticks thrown into the water and hanging out with the crew of the 30-metre tugboat General Jackson.

    The six-year-old orca acted like a stray dog, seeking out companionship whenever the tug arrived in Nootka Sound, said Barry Connerty of Great Northern Marine Towing of New Westminster, owner of the General Jackson.

    The whale died at about 9 a.m. Friday when he was fatally wounded by the tug's propeller.

    In the early morning, the tug, which was pulling a loaded barge, arrived in the sound to wait out bad weather off the coast.

    "As soon as they get in there, (Luna) comes up and plays with them," Connerty said. "Since dawn, the whale had been around, playing by going through the tow line and everywhere else, just goofing around, right?"

    The crew snapped pictures of Luna's antics -- the whale and the tugboat crew had a long-standing and friendly relationship, Connerty said.

    "My guys go in to Mooyah Bay (near Gold River) all the time and as soon as the boat is there, the whale is right there beside them.

    "He's not a nuisance, quite the opposite. They play with him. They play fetch -- they throw sticks and he brings them back."

    Luna frequently "helped" the operators of boom boats to push logs into bundles, he said: "He'd go right beside the boom boat and boom the log."

    Unlike fishboats, which have sensitive electronic equipment at risk, the tugboats are tough enough to withstand a little whale play, said Connerty.

    The crew will miss Luna, he said.

    "The comparison I heard is you get a dog that chases after cars, you know eventually he's probably going to get hit. Nobody means for it to happen and nobody wanted it to happen."

    Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006

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    I'd hate to be the Captain of that tug!

    Now Luna's mate will not rest until he hunts down the Captain and KILLS HIM!

    ...Oh, wait a minute...That might be a different Orca I'm thinking about!




    Kevin
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    LOL. Acutally Luna was a juvenile whale that for reasons only known to him, became a permanant resident to that area. Most killer whales migrate between Baja CA and Alaska throughout the year. There are a few resident pods that claim various parts of west coast Vancouver Island and Puget Sound, WA but there are none in the Gold River area.

    Luna has been around for roughly 6 years now, and several attempts to relocate him either to his original pod or to other didn't work out too well. Also there was a certain amount of Native input on this too. They claimed that Luna carried the spirit of one of their dead Elders.

    For a while, he was a bit of a nusance because he would get a bit too close to smaller boats and there had been reports of hull damage because of him. But I guess things kinda quieted down, because this is the first report of his activities in some while. Just a real shame it had to be his obituary.
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    Uh, oh! Now the local natives will be after the Captain as well! Not safe at sea, or on land. That's gotta suck!




    Actually it really is a sad story. Killer whales are very beautiful and extremely intelligent creatures. There is apparently a learning curve when it comes to vessel propulsion systems though.




    Kevin
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    IAFF Local 2339
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    "Fir na tine"

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