Update Friday morning: The whale has died. The Atlanta Journal Constitution and other outlets report that the whale died overnight: story here. (Update/Note Friday evening: There were a few wrong reports out, so the whale was reported to have died too soon. Though, as of a Friday, April 9th at 4:00pm press conference, the whale was definitely pronounced dead, sometime late Friday morning.)
A visit to the whale, beached on Long Island
KW: You have probably heard the story that a young, humpback whale has stranded itself on Main Beach in East Hampton, Long Island. The decision of the scientific community was that it was sick and could not be saved. So, they have been trying to put it to sleep.
I felt very sad for the whale. And, I felt like this was a momentous occasion. So, after work today [Thursday], I drove from North Babylon to East Hampton (Google Maps says one hour and twenty minutes) to go be near the whale. I wanted to meditate for it to suffer less. And, I brought my famous flute in case it seemed right to play a song.
Here is the important update about the whale. As of about 8:30pm tonight (Thursday, April 8), the sedatives were not working well. I saw a few spurts of water go up from its blowhole. I saw its tail flip up in the air a few times. There was a biologist standing inside the roped off area of beach where the whale was. He said that they were having trouble sedating the whale, and that they were going to try to drag it up on the beach (I think again) to try to get the correct angle to get the sedatives into it (and/or to euthanize it, without getting dangerous chemicals into the water.)
I was hoping to reach the beach before it got dark. I would say there was a glimmer of light as I walked from the parking lot, across the beach, towards the lights where the team, including marine biologists, was working. I could see the whale with the lighting, though the whale itself is not really visible in my photos or video.
When I got there, there were a few clusters of people. It thinned out a little after 8pm. I heard a man ask his friend if he was ready to go, after paying his respects, so I realized that he was there to be kind of spiritually supportive, too. So, I asked if they wanted to share a moment of flute music in honor of the whale. I opened my bag and played a quiet song on my wood flute. A woman who had come from Northport to make the visit drew near. It was a nice moment. I found out that one of the men was from the Shinnecock tribe. And, he told me that some folks from Shinnecock had been out the day before to do a ceremony (which is pictured in the Newsday video below.)
It was difficult to leave. Though we kind of asked the man answering questions to hold our good thoughts for the whale, and the four of us walked back towards the cars.
The man had said something about bio-something creating luminescence in the wet sand of the beach. And, as we walked back, our footsteps made sparkles like surprising stardust spread out around our feet. It was magical, and the woman from Northport felt like it was a gift from the whale.
As we were walking away, I felt very satisfied to see that a couple and another group of people were traipsing across the beach towards the whale. So, I think the community probably kept a near continuous vigil, in addition to the team with marine biologists.
Newsday video is below…
(I try my best not to link to Newsday since they erected a “partial paywall”. But, I think that youtube forces them to be open and net-neutral, as it were. So, guess it’s okay to watch their video with good pictures, and a ceremony done by some Native Americans from Shinnecock.):
Happier videos of other humpback whales in the wild:
Baby whale cozies up to charter boat:
Humpback whales swimming:
Background story from the AP: here.
Filed under: Ecology, Environment, local, long island, nature, News, video Tagged: | animal rescue, beached whale, ceremony for whale, dying whale, East Hampton, East Hampton beach, humpback whale, long island, Long Island beach, Long Island whale, Main Beach, Shinnecock, video, vigil, vigil for whale, whale