Dead whale leaves stink in the air

The dead whale found on Papamoa Beach today by John Howlett. Photos: John Howlett.

“It’s pretty whiffy out on the East Papamoa Beach today,” says fisherman John Howlett.

John is describing the smell in the air left by a dead whale he found on his way to a fish at the Kaituna cut.

He could still smell it when he got to the cut, which is about 2km downwind of the decaying carcass.

From its teeth in the narrow jaw and the square front to its head, it looks like a sperm whale, but not fully grown.

John sent his photos through to the Tauranga Department of Conservation office and a whale expert is on his way to inspect the find.

“It washed up with the last high tide overnight,” says John.

“It’s been dead for a while. On one of the sides you can see where sharks and squid have been trying to eat it. There are shark teeth marks in it. Definitely with big teeth, shark sized bites.

“Its tail is quite rotten looking and the barnacles and that kind of stuff appears to have fallen of it. The tail is just like all sinewy type stuff left, the outer layer’s gone.”

He also saw round holes in the carcass that may be from cookie cutter sharks or lampreys.

There is no obvious indication of how it died.

“But it’s been dead for quite some time. You can see one of its eyes and its eye has rotted out. I would say in a few days’ time it will be rather smelly.

“We could still smell it when I was down at the Kaituna Cut and that would be fully two kay away, easily.”

 

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