Friday, May 22, 2015

Half Moon Bay Gray Whale gone, towed to sea: it took 2 days

Half Moon Bay Review/Ester Hahn, 5/21/15, 2:56 pm.  "Dead whale towed out to sea."  

Image result for Half Moon Bay whale towed out to see picture
Rotting whale gone in two (2) days, and that's how
this is supposed to work in the civilized urban world.
"The cause of death for a 38-foot female gray whale remained a mystery today even as it left Poplar Beach. It was towed out to sea at 11 a.m. today.

....  The city of Half Moon Bay worked in tandem with the National Marine Fisheries Service to arrange for the tow, according to Deputy City Manager Alex Khojikian. Based on wind, tide and currents, California Stranding Network Coordinator Justin Viezbicke determined the GPS coordinates for the whale’s drop off that would least likely result in the whale returning to shore.

....  The tow cost the city less than $10,000, and National Marine Fisheries plans to cover a portion of the cost through a grant, said Khojikian. The city contracted Vessel Assist out of Santa Cruz to tow the whale."  Read more.

Reference Fix Pacifica reprint article - ABC 7 Science News/KGO TV, 5/19/15. "Dead whale washes ashore at beach in Half Moon Bay."

Related articles - San Francisco Chronicle/Kale Williams, 5/21/15, 11:45 pm.  "Latest dead whale to wash up gets towed, dumped at sea." City officials had the carcass towed out to sea Thursday morning. The whale, which appeared Tuesday morning on Poplar Beach in the seaside town, was taken roughly 30 miles out into the Pacific and unceremoniously dumped, officials said. The process of towing a 38-foot mass of rotting bones, meat and blubber was not an incredibly complicated affair."

 Half Moon Bay Patch, 5/21/15. "The gray whale was discovered on Francis Beach in Half Moon Bay at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday (5/19/15), city officials said. Researchers were unable to perform a necropsy on the 38-foot whale because it was too deep in the surf to access the carcass, California Academy of Sciences spokeswoman Haley Bowling said today. .... Half Moon Bay city officials consulted with researchers from the academy as well as the Marine Mammal Center and the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine the best way to dispose of the whale. Despite its advanced decomposition, the whale’s spine remained intact so crews tied a rope around the tail and towed it 30 feet from shore, where it is unlikely to return to the California coast, city officials said."

The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), 5/21/15, 5:00 AM. "As a string of deceased whales mysteriously washed ashore along the San Mateo County coastline over the last few months, wildlife officials are contemplating potential explanations and how to dispose of the massive carcasses. A decomposing adult female gray whale that landed near Kelly Beach in Half Moon Bay — the third whale to land in the county within the last month alone — will be towed out to sea with the help of the National Marine Fisheries Service. The 38-foot gray whale washed ashore Tuesday just as crews in Pacifica were burying two others that stranded there in April and May. A 48-foot sperm whale was discovered April 14 near Mori Point and a 42-foot adult female humpback was found May 5."

Note photograph (1 of 4) from the San Francisco Chronicle, courtesy/City of Half Moon Bay.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

Problem solved in 2 days and for less than $10K cost to the City of Half Moon Bay. Just call us Pathetica.

Steve Sinai said...

I'm taking odds on whether the whale washes up on Sharp Park Beach.

Anonymous said...

Sinai kills it. Best whale post!

Anonymous said...


You place those bets over by the nickel slots.

Sharon said...

So this is really quite astonishing that HMB can take care of the issue in 2 days while Pacifica takes a month. I don't care about the "whose jurisdiction it is" issue. Pacifica could have and should have taken care of it pronto and fought about the bill later. We don't pay our taxes to this city to have to deal with such a stench. Blatant mishandling.

Kathy Meeh said...

Sharon 1029 agreed; and, accurate, timely advisement to the public should have been clear as well.
Even the whale that washed-up near Fort Brag (a more rural area) took only 2 days to remove. With that one, there was also no default "rot in place" policy.
Steve 922 reminds us some of these hauled-out-to-sea whales may wash-in again, hopefully not.

Anonymous said...

Jurisdiction issues provide no excuse for the rank, make that reeking, incompetence of our city council and CM. A bunch of buck-passing bureaucrats, but not a problem solver among them. And cowardly--not a word from them. Instead they have the cops carry a message. How weird is that? Are we supposed to believe SF would have said don't touch our rotting whale if Pacifica made the first step? The issue was noses not jurisdiction and the noses belonged to Pacificans. Foul!

Anonymous said...

This is warp speed for these idiots. Well this is a different set of idiots but if you've seen one, etc. Same situation 6 or 7 years ago and it took Pacifica 6 months to bury it. Vigilantes next time! I mean for the whale, of course.

Anonymous said...

The other beach cities tow their dead out to sea. Hoping dead will wash up in Pacifica because Pacifica will let it rot on shore. Feed the hungry little animals.

Anonymous said...

Sharp Park whales still above ground?