Tuesday, November 28, 2023

An Elusive Sperm Whale Washes Up Dead on the Mendocino County Coast

The carcass of a Sperm Whale found this morning washed up on rocks along Portugeuse Beach [Screenshot of a video sent to us by China Rose]

Sperm Whales are denizens of the deep. Known to hold their breaths for up to an hour and dive down to depths of 6,000 feet, they are considered elusive by many marine biologists.

This morning, a Sperm Whale emerged from the Pacific and washed up on the rocks of Portuguese Beach near the town of Mendocino. 

Sarah Grimes, the Noyo Center for Marine Science’s Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator spoke to us while on the scene this morning and gave us insight into her observations. 

The whale seems to be caught on some sort of reef off the shore of the beach, Grimes said. Its location remains completely inaccessible for closer evaluation. Grimes is attempting to get clearance to use a drone for close up views of the whale.

Due to its location, the exact size and gender of the whale are difficult to determine, but Grimes said it appears to be large. 

She said it is “pretty darn rare” to see a Sperm Whale wash up on shore. The only other time she has seen one was around 10 years ago when a calf washed up near Gualala. 

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If the whale comes inland, Grimes will request agencies to assist in the analysis of the carcass. If it pushes further out to sea with the tides, marine observers will do their best to trace the path of the drifting carcass and if it comes to shore, the analysis will occur where it beaches. 

Grimes told us she will provide us with updates as the situation develops.

If any members of the public find a dead animal washed up on the shores of Mendocino County, report them to Noyo Center’s Stranding Coordinator, Sarah Grimes at (707)-813-7925. If a live marine mammal in distress is located, contact the Marine Mammal Center at (415)-289-SEAL.

[Video sent to us by China Rose]
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  1. The NOAA shop Ruben Lasker with it’s vast array of different sonar systems was off our coast this week. We have pictures of it within .5 miles of Westport’s shore. Could the Ruben Lasker have something to do with this whalers demise?

  2. Don’t worry, Gavin will send us all free clothes pins for our noses once funding and purchase orders are done at only $222 a clothes pin(except delivery next March). Breath deep those near Portuguese Beach – breathe the air while shopping Medocino Village turistas.

    Meanwhile others in comments blame Reuben Lasker

    Homeported in San Diego, California, NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker is the fifth in a series of Oscar Dyson-class fisheries survey vessels and one of the most technologically advanced fisheries vessels in the world. The ship’s primary objective is to support fish, marine mammal, seabird and turtle surveys off the U.S. West Coast and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

    NOAA is a popular global warming project, how dare you slur a government program CRISTOPHER GROSJEAN, but at least you use your real name. And please post facts not accusations!

    Checked my Science book, whales do die!

    • I did not think they were blaming the Reuben Lasker. I took it as “Was the Reuben Lasker here in response to this?” But I could be mistaken.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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