It All Started With Luna
On a hot July summer evening in 2007, while working as a paramedic just outside of Edmonton, Alberta, I happen to watch the award-winning documentary "Saving Luna."
If you don't already know the heart-wrenching story of Luna, here's the Reader's Digest version. A young male (yes, Luna is a boy) killer whale from L Pod, known as L98, became lost and separated from his family in beautiful Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island. Luna was young and all alone so he tried to make the best of a bad situation and become friends with humans. Orcas are very sociable and family-drive so this young whale reached out to the only other intelligent creatures around (us) as its new "family."
Luna not only broke down the wall between humans and wild animals but swam into our hearts. Sadly, this story doesn't end well. It was humans who also sent Luna to his final resting place.
I was instantly hooked by this story and, like any addict, I need to get my fix. I spent hours online learning everything and anything about killer whales. Fast forward to one cold and rain day in November, 2017, and, while washing the dishes from her oceanfront home, my mother happened to spot two large black fins in the water. That's right, folks, it was Orcas. Knowing her son was obsessed with these amazing animals, she grabbed her video camera and went outside in the pouring rain and began recording.
Unbeknownst to her, my mother recorded a group of Biggs/Transient Orcas taking on a humpback calf. I admit that I've watched the video a few dozen times and I'm still awestruck with their synchronized swimming; an Olympic team could not even came close to that level of precision. I now had a new obsession: Biggs (as they're called) or mammal-eating killer whales.
On the journey, I once again read all that I could and started to share the video with marine biologists on the west coast. These people included Jackie Hildering "the marine detective" of the Marine Education and Research Society and Dr. John Ford, among others.
Six months later, I made a life and career-changing decision, moved to Vancouver Island and the rest, as they say, is history.