Beached Whale in Cannister Cove, Greenspond

Yesterday, we visited the Greenpond walking trail in search of a beached whale that a visitor told me about.  We found it in Cannister Cove, just beyond the point of the trail where you can choose between going all the way around the island, or walking back to the beginning via the middle of the island.

A humpback whale, belly up.  We estimate that the whale is about 30 feet long with a tail about 5-6 feet wide.  The smell while I took this picture was sickening as the wind was coming directly towards me.  I could hardly smell a thing in the second picture. 

Does anyone know why a whale would beach itself in this manner?  Was it still alive when it came in?  Or did the sea bring it here?
 Someone asked me today if this happens very often- I don’t think so.
This is the first time I’ve ever seen it.  And Duke only saw one before, I think, when he was very young.

On a more positive note, there were lots of feeding whales at the beginning of the trail, blowing and rolling.  Every sighting is thrilling, no matter how many times I see it!

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