Last month when a gray whale beached in Del Mar, lifeguards, with the help of officials from both state and federal marine wildlife agencies, towed it several miles out to sea and hoped that nature would take its course.
Nature decided to create a large storm swell that washed the whale back to shore — to Torrey Pines State Beach. This time the whale was chopped up and hauled off to the Miramar Landfill. This made no one happy, and Eddie Kisfaludy, Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s marine technician, was called in to devise a way to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Kisfaludy, who I profiled Sunday, says he is close to a solution that will not only get deceased whales off the beach for good, but allow their bodies to be used for the benefit of science. All he needs is a decent sized boat, a large harness, a strong rope and locomotive wheels totaling 5,000 pounds.
His plan would include towing the whale about 15 miles out to sea, strapping the train wheels (which are a commonly used marine weight) to the whale and letting it sink about 3,500 feet to the bottom. He will mark the spot so marine biologists can study what happens as the whale decomposes in the deep sea.
“It’s a dream way of doing it,” Kisfaludy said. “We are not using whales to fill landfills; we are dragging them miles off shore and doing what is natural — well almost natural.”