Environment & Science

Wally the dead whale is probably back — again

The whale is approximately 40 feet long and is believed to have been between 10 to 30 years old. Marine animal authorities will try to determine why the animal died.
The whale is approximately 40 feet long and is believed to have been between 10 to 30 years old. Marine animal authorities will try to determine why the animal died.
NBC4

Officials say a dead whale that keeps returning to the Southern California coast after being towed out to the ocean may have floated back to the coast again.

A whale body that came ashore Saturday at Grandview Beach had been decaying in the water for about two weeks, KABC-TV reports. The whale came in at around 5:30 p.m. 

Officials have not yet conclusively determined if the body is that of Wally, but they believe it is the female whale, the TV station says.

Officials will dismantle the carcass Monday after a failed attempt to move it Sunday. 

"It's 22 tons of flesh that just isn't going anywhere," Sgt. Robert Veria with Encinitas lifeguards tells KPCC. "In fact, equipment was broke trying to move it."

Tides have hampered removal efforts but the plan is to try again in the early morning, around 4:30 a.m., on Monday.

A 40-yard dumpster has been set up on the beach about half a mile north of the carcass. Because the the dead whale is too large to move, it will be segmented, portioned out and moved off the beach that way.

"It's gonna involve really big, sharp knives and chainsaws," Veria says. "It's going to be a big, messy operation."

The process may take two days but the rest of the beach will remain open during the whale dismemberment and removal.

Wally was towed out into the ocean after washing up on Dockweiler State Beach in Los Angeles County before the Fourth of July weekend.

The decaying carcass was towed again a week later when it drifted toward San Pedro.

Wally was spotted near Newport Beach on July 10 and was towed out a third time but drifted back on July 11 and had to be removed again.

"Not to knock our brethren to the north," Veria says, "but the answer was to tow it out to sea and let it drift down wherever it landed — good luck. So we're finally gonna deal with it. We're gonna get it out of here so the next beach down south doesn't have to deal with it."