Monday, February 20, 2012

The Sei Whale

It doesn't happen often, seeing a whale up close to shore.
When it does, it is usually a bad sign.
Something is wrong.

They think the whale came into the bay
Chasing food.
She is two-toned, metallic and grayish blue.
White underneath.
If you swam beneath her, looking up to the sky,
I imagine it would be a barley visible ghost that would cruise,
50km/hr over your back.
They are the fastest cetaceans, you know.
Looking down, from the bow of the ship that hit her,
Her dark skin probably blended into the water below.
A flying shadow.

I wonder if they felt it,
The short shudder
As the ship's rudder
dug through her skull?
Maybe it didn't even register.
If it did, what is running through their mind now,
With the news crews recording,
People chatting,
Children asking?
A job is a job.
These things happen.
That whale shouldn't have been in the Bay,


The whale is just down the road from us. It is an odd feeling. Fascinating to see such a large animal up close, beautiful even. It is sad to see an endangered species washed up on the shore, dead.

Here is a piece from the local news..

"By Allison T. / 757-247-4535Compiled

NORFOLK - A 42-foot dead whale washed up near 1st View Street in the Ocean View section of Norfolk around daybreak Sunday morning, according to the Virginia Aquarium.
The aquarium's Stranding Response Team is reporting that the male sei whale has a deep 1.5-foot gash on the back of its head, which fractured thewhale'sskull, said Susan Barco, the aquarium's senior scientist. It also has traces of orange and brown paint or rust on its head, an indicator that it was probably hit by a ship or boat.
After efforts to move the whale failed Sunday, the stranding team secured him and will get an excavator to move him on Tuesday, Barco said. Based on its condition, Barco estimated that the 20-ton animal was killed within the past two days.
The stranding team will do a necropsy – an animal autopsy – on Tuesday to further investigate the whale's health prior to the accident, Barco said. The stranding team will monitor the whale throughout the holiday weekend, Barco said."
 source is here.

Here are some photos I grabbed today. 


  1. That's sad. I haven't ever heard much about this species. It sounds like they're pretty rare. Too bad this is the way we get to see one.
    Nice poem for the moment.

  2. its is sad. it is also really interesting to watch all the people gathering. Some laugh, some are grossed out, some are sad, some seem indifferent... just really interesting. Thanks for your comments, jay.

  3. Must be pretty humbling to see something like that in person, pretty cool creatures. Great writing.

    1. you are absolutely right. I just learned it turned out to be a Fin Whale. A different endangered species. The can grow over 80ft in length. insane.