Mar 14, 2023
Eavesdropping on orcas: love, grief, and family
This past summer, I was in Alaska in a little coastal town called Seward - a gorgeous spot on the Kenai Peninsula tucked between the ocean and some giant glacier-covered mountains. I met a guy named Dan Olsen, who records killer whale calls using an underwater hydrophone.
Olsen gets all kinds of information from his recordings. The calls bring the underwater world of orcas alive. But there's a lot more going on in these clicks and whistles than you might think. Like, how their dialects, their languages, evolve, and even become part of orca family "culture.”
Jay Julius, a member of the Lummi Nation, says there's something deeper going on in the conversations among orca pods in the Pacific Northwest.
The orca story is one of human misunderstanding and generational trauma. But it's also a story of celebration, family, and a sense of place. Exploring their chatty underwater world might just help us understand how they are communicating… and what they are trying to say.
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