The crowds usually come to Sand Beach in Acadia National Park, Maine to see the cliffs of Great Head and the only sandy beach in the area. In late August this summer a sub-adult male Minke Whale washed up on shore, making quite a spectacle for the hordes of camera toting tourists, myself included. As it turned out this whale had died several weeks earlier and was already being tracked by the researchers at Allied Whale. I know it was a sub-adult male Minke whale because of the team of volunteers happily answering questions and explaining the whale to dozens of kids, grandparents, teens and families hovering around the 23-foot corpse. I think it was the stench that brought the spectators in but it was the informal lesson in marine biology that kept them around. Just down the road from the beached whale is the College of the Atlantic, home to Allied Whale. Here’s a blurb from their site explaining what they do;
“Allied Whale is committed to the understanding and preservation of marine mammals. We respond to marine mammal strandings from Rockland, Maine to the Canadian border, curate the humpback and fin whale catalogues for the North Atlantic as well as the Antarctic humpback whale catalogue, and operate the most remote field research station on the eastern seaboard of the United States: Mount Desert Rock.”
Instead of a gruesome shot of a decaying whale surrounded by sun-baked tourists I went with this. Probably the last time I’ll be this close to the chin of a Minke Whale.