Friendly orca tries to communicate with boat by imitating motor

Despite their fearsome name, killer whales are actually quite friendly (at least to humans). It is common during whaling tours for these seafaring mammals to draw close to boats, curious to investigate further.

It’s hard to tell exactly what orcas think of boats. To them, our vessels must seem like giant, powerful beasts that cruise along the surface of the ocean, making strange noises. Propeller-based motors create a loud and interesting sound signature, which may seem like language to baffled killer whales.

Meet Luna, the star of a documentary called “The Whale.” Luna lost contact with his family off the coast of British Columbia and began to interact with humans in Nootka Sound. This is one of those encounters, and Luna has decided to communicate, pursing its blowhole like a pair of lips to create a sputtering sound just like the nearby engine.

It’s not clear whether Luna realizes the boat isn’t alive, or whether he’s just having fun mimicking it’s sounds, but it’s a great reminder of the formidable intelligence of the orca.

If you’d like to get to know Luna better, feel free to check out the documentary’s website for more information on this fascinating sea mammal.