Nick Carroll On: It's All Happening Again – Another Dead Whale Buried

16 Oct 2017 14

Nick Carroll

Senior Writer

COASTALWATCH | ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

Video & Photos by Glen Bowden
Words by Nick Carroll

Sure enough, yet another surf community has to worry about a dead whale and a council

So yeah, this time it’s the Sunny Coast. Or more precisely, Wurtulla, where building easterly winds and swell brought in a whale carcass over the weekend.

The whale — declared a “calf” by some media, though it’s since been estimated at between 15 and 25 years of age — may have been dead for about two days. It had been heavily preyed upon by large sharks on its way to shore.

“Most people thought it was an upturned boat,” says Glen Bowden, a professional photographer who got a call from a friend as the carcass approached the beach.

A Sunshine Coast Regional Council worker told Glen he thought the whale wouldn’t be buried. But sure enough, by early afternoon a digger was at work in the shallow dune behind the beach.

Nearby club Windansea Boardriders swiftly launched a petition demanding an exhumation of the carcass. Windansea’s Terry Landsberg told us they were “very concerned, especially with the position of the whale … it’s only a metre under the sand. Dogs will be digging it up by the end of the week.”

Terry had had contact with the council, who told him they’d been advised to carry out the burial by Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage. The corresponding NSW department was responsible for the whale burial south of South Wall Ballina last week. In NSW they later claimed it was just a “holding” burial and they’d planned to exhume it and remove it from the beach environment as soon as possible, but Terry told us he’d had no such word yet from the Queensland department, nor from the Council.

“We’ve been in contact with Wayne Hudson from Port Macquarie” regarding their response to a similar situation a few weeks back, Terry says. The current burial site is also directly seaward of a major land development that’s currently in progress; Terry says information about the burial and its potential as sharkbait has been passed on to stakeholders in the development. “They might not like the idea.”

The Port Macquarie crew had to apply for grants to cover the costs of their exhumation. Windansea plans to let the petition run for two or three days before taking any further action, but as Terry told us: “It’s up to guys like ourselves to chase this stuff, even though we’ve got jobs and families — do we have to go around chasing money to get this sort of thing done?”

Yeah, we suspect that until various government departments begin catching up with the new reality of Australia’s east coast biomass, it is going to be up to us surfers.

Meanwhile, in eastern Vicco, locals in and near Kilcunda on the Mornington Peninsula are still a bit rattled after a large whale avoided a similar burial by simply being washed back offshore.

“I think everyone’s really concerned,” Dave Wingfield, a Kilcunda schoolteacher and surfer, told CW. He says the community was “up in arms” after the authorities declared their intention of burying the carcass in the sand. “The Shire (council) was inundated with calls and emails, that’s what they told us anyway.”

The nine-metre humpback was in a difficult position — burying it would have meant getting machinery across a small river — so the authorities were stymied. Then a couple of big swells back to back took the carcass back out. Dave says the last time he saw it was a week ago, floating several hundred metres offshore, before it eventually disappeared.

He’s been living in Kilcunda for 25 years and hadn’t seen a carcass before. “I don’t know, maybe it’s going to become more common now.”

Sign the Sunny Coast petition NOW!

Tags: video , whale , Nick Carroll , sunshine coast , topnews (create Alert from these tags)

blog comments powered by Disqus
More From Environmental News
Nick Carroll On: Ballina's Turn On The Whale Carcass Merry-Go-Round

Nick Carroll On: Ballina's Turn On The Whale Carcass Merry-Go-Round

Bury it, get yelled at, then quickly dig it up — is this any way to treat a mammal?

18 11 Oct 2017
Community Assistance Required In Port Macquarie

Community Assistance Required In Port Macquarie

Here's what you can do

20 Sep 2017
Recent

Watch: Parko's Last Lap: Tahiti | Billabong

Joel Parkinson on his first ever event at Tahiti.

2 16 Aug 2018
Watch: Nightmare At Nazaré

Watch: Nightmare At Nazaré

2 16 Aug 2018
THE O’RIGINALS Part 2 – Lachie Rombouts, Gardener and Surfer

THE O’RIGINALS Part 2 – Lachie Rombouts, Gardener and Surfer

5 15 Aug 2018
Watch Replay: Tahiti Pro 2018 - Round 2

Watch Replay: Tahiti Pro 2018 - Round 2

14 Aug 2018
Watch Replay: Tahiti Pro 2018 - Round 1 & 2

Watch Replay: Tahiti Pro 2018 - Round 1 & 2

13 Aug 2018
Latest News

Watch: Parko's Last Lap: Tahiti | Billabong

Joel Parkinson on his first ever event at Tahiti.

Watch: Nightmare At Nazaré

The time Marcelo Luna almost died

THE O’RIGINALS Part 2 – Lachie Rombouts, Gardener and Surfer

"You just travelled two hours to be there, it doesn't matter what it's like, you're going out."

Watch Replay: Tahiti Pro 2018 - Round 2

Round 2 live from Teahupoo

Popular This Week

Would You Have a Look at Tom Carroll with This Big Tiger Shark

“I thought, you’re kidding, I’m not getting in the water with those things." – TC

Swell Alert: Humungous South Swell to Break The Wave Drought On the East Coast

A heavy round of S swell is just around the East Coast's corner.

Is Steph Winning The 2018 Title? Mick and Mase Kill It On The Search, & Teahupo'o Starts Tomorrow

This Week In Surfing: Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was August 10, 2018

Go to Top