A 60′ Finback Whale washed up yesterday in Amagansett. The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation said it was an adult female. No clear cause of death had been determined, but a ship strike hasn’t yet been ruled out.  Finbacks are common, although it’s quite extraordinary to see one washed up. Coincidentally, an infant Pygmy Sperm Whale beached two miles west of the Finback yesterday–a very unusual species in these waters.  The infant was weak, and apparently separated from his mother. Unfortunately, it had to be put down by officials.

Sad day on the beach–a quiet crowd gathering in the fog to see the whales.

Panasonic G3- 14mm – wide converter.


34 thoughts on “Finback

  1. I’m wondering what the red is – it doesn’t look the right color for blood – and why the whale appears so long and narrow. For the kids especially, at least it’s an opportunity to see first hand how big whales are.

    1. The red is the whale’s body tissue. The carcass was out at sea from one to two weeks, and some of the skin was ripped off. The color was brilliant–in truth, a bit alarming.

      Finbacks are long and narrow, but I was also using a very wide lens here to take the whole scene in (22mm equivalent on a 35mm camera). The lens is definitely contributing to that effect.

      Yes, the kids were quite excited, and the officials from the Foundation were doing a good job with interpretation.

    1. The photograph on top was taken only about a foot off the ground. The bottom one was around 8 or 9 feet (me holding the camera above my head with the LCD tilted down). Interesting differences…considering they were taken at the same place.

  2. “Every living creature on earth dies alone.” (Donnie Darko)
    This is a very sad part of life, but we have to accept that. It’s a very difficult thing to make peace with, but life must follow its natural path. I seriously hope that we’re not contributing to the deterioration of their habitats to much. Thanks for sharing this post, John.

    1. So true.

      This whale may indeed have been struck by a ship, and it did have scars from net entanglements –quite possibly from many years ago.

      It’s hard not to conclude that they’d be better off with out us. Thanks for commenting Anette.

  3. Well, and for some people a thrilling destination on an otherwise utterly boring weekend. Kind of Gulliver in the Land of Lilliput.
    Sarcasm aside: Good photos of life and death, and I do not regret that I followed the link to your site, that ‘Syncopated Eyeball’ sent me with the subject “The first photo is wonderful”. It certainly is.

  4. Oh my word. I’m speechless. That first shot makes you think you are looking at something prehistoric. The scale communicated in the second one is humbling. What powerful photographs. They say so much more than words ever could: about life and death.

  5. Wow – as you say, a mix of both sadness and awe – I have never seen anything alive of this size! The wonder of our seas! There is something very tender about something so huge dying like this too..really makes you want even more to take care of our world..

    1. The tenderness that you describe so well–that may be the only good that comes from encountering these large dead animals.

      The whale most likely died because of indirect interaction with humans.
      Perhaps we’ll learn something beneficial in the process.

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