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Humpback whale washes ashore at Oceano Dunes

Posted at 6:28 PM, Nov 09, 2018

Another dead whale has washed ashore at the Oceano Dunes.

Experts on scene said it’s 31 feet long.

All day long on Friday, it drew quite the crowd.

“I thought, wow, that’s amazing,” said George Esterer. “I’ve never seen one after 30 years. I don’t know if I’ll ever see one again.”

The humpback whale was found beached sometime on Thursday.

“I’ve always wanted to see a whale in real life so seeing this whale this morning, I was very surprised and I took many photos and everything,” said Cayden McCoard.

Tons of photos were taken of the rare sight.

“We were just cruising up the coast and there was just a dead whale floating there,” said Michael Love.

“It’s interesting to see because it’s part of nature to us and if you look at it, it looks like it has some shark bites so you try to figure out why it died, how it got here,” Esterer added.

Curious onlookers stopped to take photos of the whale carcass. (KSBY photo)


Channel Islands Cetacean Research Unit Stranding Coordinator Lili Hartounian was in charge of observation and sampling of the whale late Friday afternoon.

There’s a specific protocol she follows.

“Length, width, markings, findings, coloration, bruising, bite marks, any external factors,” she said.

She believes this whale to be a sub-adult.

It has a number of shark bites as well as marks from birds and rolling in the sand.

As for the smell…

“It’s bad,” Love said.

“It’s definitely not for the faint of heart,” Esterer said. “It’s a little strong.”

The samples will be sent to a pathologist to determine what might have happened to the whale.

“It’s just kind of sad when you see something like this but it’s mother nature,” Love concluded.

We won’t have the results of the whale samples for a few weeks.

The last whale that washed ashore at the dunes was buried. It is still being determined what might be done with this one.

A necropsy might be performed on Saturday but that’s also being decided by whale experts.