Special Sighting: Bolinas Beached Whale

Content warning: dead and decaying whale

Sighting from August 31, 2017

In May, a 79 foot blue whale washed up on Agate Beach in Bolinas. The Marine Mammal Center performed the necropsy and concluded that the whale had suffered trauma to her skull, a fractured spine, and broken ribs, suggesting that she was hit by a container ship. 

Even though parts of the body have decayed or been collected by researchers, some of the whale is still on Agate Beach. There is a large amount of skin, including the pleated grooves on the throat. There are a few bones, most notably a single vertebra. We also found baleen. 

There are around 2800 blue whales who feed near our continental shelf in the summer. They are endangered, and as such it is illegal to take any part of their body. It is also illegal to harass or disturb a beached whale, whether it is alive or not. It is always important to be respectful of the creatures. 

Ship strikes are a huge problem for whales near San Francisco. The San Francisco shipping lane is one of the top two deadliest spots on the west coast for whales. 

We journeyed on to Point Reyes for the afternoon, where we spotted some intertidal creatures, birds, and tule elk. 

A huge thank you to friends Goni and Caroline for contributing photos and being ready for adventure!

Days off 🙌

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