One of my all-time favourite things to do on this earth is to watch humpback whales frolicking in the waters all around where I live in the summertime. They spend months here, feasting on capelin, smacking their flukes on the wave-tops, and jumping clean out of the water seemingly very happy with their lives. We are only given glimpses, and very rarely get the opportunity to see them up close.
I heard that a dead whale had washed ashore at Lumsden beach, and at the same time, some friends dropped in who I knew would want to see it too, so we jumped in our vehicle and drove to the most popular of our sandy beaches. Not exactly sure of its location, we walked for a while, looking at rocks that might be whales, until we finally came within sight of the whale. Unmistakable once we were in the right place.
Although it is roughed up a bit, it’s hard to say what happened, and how each injury was gotten. There are signs of having barnacles pulled off or crushed, perhaps by netting, and there are some marks that look like rope wounds. It is lying on a rocky part of the shoreline, and so some of those marks could be simply from being tumbled over the heavy granite stones.
Some of the barnacles on the flukes are still alive, popping in and out as if things are normal. There are air bubbles still leaving the whale’s system. He hasn’t been there long. And yet, there are already marks all over the whale’s skin from seagulls starting to eat away at it, and flies and rock crab are doing their bit too. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes mother earth to reclaim the body, if it’s left there as is.
It is an excellent opportunity to see this majestic creature up close, and I have taken quite a lot of photographs so that when I want to draw a humpback whale again, I’ll have lots of detail shots to refer to.