Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The dead whale

A dead sperm whale appeared Friday evening in the coast of Carrasco, at about the intersection of the Rambla and Bolivia avenue. The beast was about 16 m long and had buried in the sand during the last storm.

 photo 201401024_zpsf0a4cbff.jpg

The Prefectura (Coast guard) men tried to seize it by the tail and move it around, without much success. Even submerged, it was way too heavy, and currents were strong. A lot of people had gathered around to watch the show.

 photo 201401015_zpsef8990d6.jpg

This happened on Saturday. Later, heavy construction machinery arrived, entered into the water, and eventually the poor whale was moved to the beach, to rot in peace all Sunday while local government feverishly contracted transport to a burial site. This is how it looked 24 hours later, on Sunday afternoon.

 photo 201401029_zps8dbc1643.jpg

Can you imagine the stench of a 20-ton long-dead animal?  I am glad that photos have no odor. Yes, that dark mass near the tail are intestines. The body swelled and broke under the pressure of methane from the formentation. I had to take a closer picture but frankly I am not proud of it. You don't really have to look.

 photo 201401028_zpse96e01da.jpg

Another view, this time of the huge head of the sperm whale. The newsmen said that it is the animal with the largest brain in our planet. 

 photo 201401034_zpsfa076462.jpg

Yesterday, the whale was finally loaded in a truck and transported for proper burial. Quite an operation from local government and the Coast Guard. It will take about a week for the beach to be clean again.

This incident made me think of Captain Ahab in his Pequod and his special white whale. Before the Panama canal, I believe that there were whalers stopping at Montevideo harbor. In any case, we do not see whalers anymore; our current fishing boats look friendlier.

 photo 201401005_zpsb966cde2.jpg

Technical: Kiev 4M with various lenses (J-12 and -9, H-103). FP4+ in Beutler.