|Sipping Killer Whale's Milk on Vancouver Island |
Once I was working at an outdoor adventure camp near Campbell River, on Vancouver Island, B.C. We took people kayaking, surfing, skiing, whatever they wanted to do. We skiied and kayaked and surfed all over and around that island. And sometimes we saw a killer whale. The people seemed to like that best of all.
One summer we had a mother killer whale in our bay. She had lost her baby and was very sad. And she had too much milk. So we helped her – we’d go out very early every morning and fill three or four boats full. Those whales can make a lot of milk!
But the milk was starting to go to waste. Then on one trip we found some coyote puppies who had lost their mother. We knew exactly what to do. Feed them on killer whale’s milk and everyone would be happy – killer whale and little coyote puppies too. This went on all summer. Every morning we continued to collect the killer whale’s milk – up to 6 boats full by July!
But summer ended and the killer whale moved on, as whales do. Those poor puppies, not so little now, got quite depressed. I would feed them the best slops, goat’s milk, whatever they wanted. And they would just look with half-closed eyes, sigh, and slowly walk away. I started to really worry. And the puppies started to get smaller and smaller with each day.
By the end of September I thought it was the end of those coyote puppies. I didn’t know what to do. Then one lunch hour I hear a lot of excited barking and howling– definitely happy-coyote sounds! I look out my window just in time: all those coyote puppies’ tails flying in the wind. Out in the bay is the mother killer whale. She spouts water up 100 metres in the air and waves her tail.
Those coyote puppies jump in the water and start swimming up the bay. All in a neat line, they follow their killer whale mom. And as they get to the end of our bay – I can see them spouting sea water out of their little coyote snouts! Good-bye!