Minke Whale on Port of Ness Beach

A dead Minke Whale was washed up on Port Beach today. It looks like it was washed up at high tide early this morning, as it wasn’t there yesterday.

I became aware of it around lunchtime today, when I saw this picture posted on facebook.

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As you can see, there is a large growth ballooning out of it’s mouth. There was some discussion about what exactly it was but it appears that it’s either its tongue or, less likely, its stomach, which have swollen as part of the decomposition process.

As soon as I got home from work, I grabbed my camera and went straight down.

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You can see the whale on the far left of the beach, beside the rocks.

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There was a crowd of around 20 or so people down while I was there

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Some media were there too. Mike Skelly, STV cameraman, on the right, and Murdo Maclean STV/Heb News.

There were several people there from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR)there too. They had written something in the sand warning people to stay away because it was toxic etc but no-one was paying much attention and had walked through it dozens of times!

They took some details of the whale, including measuring it’s length while I was there.

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The whale was measured at 24 feet. There was some talk earlier in the day that it may be the same whale that was trapped in Leverburgh earlier this month but the BDMLR folk confirmed that it definitely wasn’t, as the Leverburgh one was a juvenile and only around 15 feet long.

There appears to be some uncertainty over how it will be disposed of. One of the BDMLR women said their preferred choice would be to get it ashore and into a landfill. Port is inaccessible for any vehicles attempting to reach it from land so they are talking about getting a boat to tow the carcass either out to sea to be dumped or onto the slipway about half a mile away just within the harbour breakwater. I asked if they’d consider blowing it up but that’s the last resort – disappointing! 🙂

I’ll leave you with a few other pictures I took around Port while I was there. The wee bird is one of my favourites, a sandpiper.

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4 Comments

  1. Awww man! They’re such spoil sports – I’d be there for the blowing up 😉

    The ‘official’ woman reckoned it had only been dead a day or two, but I was speaking to a local who reckoned a couple of weeks at least…. I think the smell was more like a ‘weeks old’ smell rather than days …

  2. Pingback: A look back at 2012 « Air an Lot

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