Nfld. & Labrador

Out of sight, out of smell? Dead whale towed away from Greenspond

"The smell is gone, everything hopefully is all good."

Rotting fin whale towed to cove to decompose without stinking up the town

This fin whale carcass washed ashore near the causeway just outside Greenspond last week. (Submitted by Josephine Kelly-Janes)

After washing ashore outside Greenspond in Newfoundland's Bonavista Bay, a fin whale carcass has now been towed away — and with it, the stench.

It washed ashore about a kilometre outside of the community, near a causeway, late last week.

While the whale couldn't be smelled in town, it was a strong odour for anyone driving through.

The smell is gone. Everything, hopefully, is all good.- Clyde Bragg

"The smell from it, it kind of takes your breath away. Not in a good way, either," said Clyde Bragg, town manager and clerk for Greenspond.

"It's something you don't see every day, so a lot of tourism. Good for tourism," he added, laughing.

Bragg wasn't sure what the best course of action would be to deal with the whale, and the town was hoping the winds would change to northerly and blow the whale back into open water.

"Nature would probably take care of it," Bragg figured, "but that never happened."

Decomposing in peace

So, he got in touch with Wayne Ledwell, with the Whale Release and Strandings Group.

Ledwell looked at the animal, Bragg said, and said there were what appeared to be bite marks, from a great white shark or other large predator, on the carcass.

The town was hoping the winds would change and drive the whale back into open water, but that didn't happen, so it was towed to a cove to decompose naturally. (Submitted by Josephine Kelly-Janes)

"He told me to, if I could do it or get someone to tow it away in a boat to a cove somewhere, and just secure it so it wouldn't drive away again, like go back out into the ocean to be a hazard to navigation or someone run into it, something like that. So that's what we did," said Bragg.

"We got a small boat, a 19-foot boat, hooked onto the whale and dragged it probably a mile or a kilometre and a half away from the community and got it secured to the land where it's going to hopefully decompose."

Feast for predators

It was an hour-long process, at least, given the whale was around 15 metres long and the towing had to go slow.

Bragg said the town will continue to monitor it to ensure it doesn't drift back for another visit.

"That's pretty much it. It's out of sight, out of mind. The smell is gone. Everything, hopefully, is all good."

Bragg added the whale is now likely making a great meal for a hungry bear.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from the Central Morning Show