Early on Friday morning, Moe received news of a right whale carcass on the Nova Scotia coast. Moe, Jerry (NEAq volunteer), Amy and I headed across the Bay of Fundy in Campobello Whale Rescue's Fast Rescue Craft (FRC) inflatable to search for the whale. We caught up with Phil, a Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) officer, on a rocky coastline where the 43 foot male whale was found. We needed to relocate the significantly decomposed carcass to a beach with accessible roads in order to conduct a proper necropsy. The whale was towed to an ideal location, a large sandy beach only a mile away. Unfortunately for us, this large sandy beach was also ideal for weekend beach goers. To appease residents' understandable concern, DFO hired Mr. Stanton, a local fisherman, to help tow the carcass another 10 miles away.
Mr. Stanton needed a deckhand, and before I knew what was going on, I was in his skiff and headed to his boat. I notified him that I had limited boating experience, but apparently he felt confident in me, as he left me in charge of his 45 foot vessel while he tied a line on the whale. About five hours later we arrived at our destination. The locals were intrigued by our arrival and helped the DFO officers and our crew secure the carcass. The crew worked until 3 am to secure the carcass above the high tide line to ensure the carcass would not drift away over night. Final arrangements have been made, and the necropsy has been scheduled for Sunday. We may be one step closer to finding out who this whale was, and why he died. Stay tuned...
[Note: Other members of the New England Aquarium staff have responded to deceased whale incidents. You can read about another incident closer to Boston in this post from the Marine Mammal Trainers.]