Saturday, February 14, 2009

Beached Whale

Morning, after the news has spread, the crowd begins to gather.

Starting the measurements and then the necropsy. The dudes in white are the marine life specialists. They will have a very long day today.

This crowd will dwindle down pretty fast once they start the necropsy. The heat, the scream of the gulls, and the smell are overwhelming.

Last weekend the beach here was not pink. It was a sight to see though. We had a 32 foot, two year old, male humpback whale wash up on Oak Island - the island south of us. It was the second whale in a month to be beached on the coast of North Carolina. The first was a rare Right Whale on the Outer Banks north of us.

It is sad to see such a large creature - the biggest mammal- laying dead on the shore. An incredible sight. So big and powerful, yet still. The tail was pretty amazing. On Sunday they just sort of did crowd control and let everyone touch and take pictures. Monday was the get down to business day of figuring out what happened, documenting the whale, and of course the necropsy.

They do the Necropsy right there on the beach. It is hard to move a creature that large. They take pictures, measure it, then begin to cut it open. They measured the fat layers, check its organs, take blood, etc. Then they cut it up and dig several large holes with a tractor and bury it right there. They believe that this whale died because he became entangled in something.There were fresh cuts on his mouth and tail. Another words he drowned.

If you have a strong stomach and I do mean STRONG here is a local website/blog of one of the local freelance reporters/ Satu Harris. Scroll down to February 8 or 9. The blog does a very good job of documenting the necropsy. Also, two of the photos I used are from there, also. Please remember that this is a mammal, so there is lots of blood and guts, even one of the marine life specialists lost his cookies in the process. This is life on the beach..


PoetsEspresso said...

That is sad, to see such an amazing creature gone. I suppose when they do beach up they're already dead. Now I'll think of there being whale bones at the beach next time I go.

rscoach said...

ohhhhh! So sad - I hate what man has done to these beautiful gentle giants - I was lucky enough to go on a whale watching trip when I was in Provincetown on Cape Cod a couple of summers ago - it happened to be just after babies were born and venturing out with their mothers - we saw so many whales at close range all around our boat and was lucky enough to see a couple breech out of the water - a sight not to be forgotten - I think I will keep that memory for a long, long time - Reva (Los Angeles)

Sharon House said...

Gosh Elizabeth, I didn't realize that it had washed up on Oak Island. I used to hang out there a lot when I lived in N.C. I had heard the story on the news. Poor whale...