Wednesday April 7, 2010 – This morning I got a call from my friend, photographer John Todaro (http://bit.ly/deKPot): a young whale was washing ashore the main beach in town. I met him down there and, yes, a juvenile Humpback Whale was in the surf, alive.
Unlike the whale in my children’s book, for this whale there would be no happy ending.
The whale was clearly ailing. It made occasional sounds that seemed similar to moaning. It occasionally raised its tail. Its eye opened at times and closed at others.
It did not seem simply stranded in water too shallow. (In fact the tide was rising.) It seemed too weak to swim.
A young whale on its first northbound journey in the first spring of its life, it somehow got separated from its mother.
I watched for about an hour. The authorities were gathered: marine mammal rescue people (there was nothing they could do), police (they merely kept people away), reporters, plus a small crowd of quiet onlookers.
Sadly, without its mother and in its weakened condition, it had no hope of survival.
It might have been sick, or its mother might have gotten sick or died—or hit by a ship, or perhaps tangled in fishing gear.
The gulf between the whale and humanity was just a few steps, but unbridgeable. We all wished we could help. We could not help. We all wanted to save it. Japan insists we must kill more.
PS – after two days the whale was euthanized.