(Photo by Christopher Boffoli, substituted at 7:11 pm for our original cameraphone photo)
ORIGINAL 4:59 PM REPORT: We are on a private beach in The Arroyos where neighbors and whale experts have gathered because of a stranded, likely dead, gray whale. More to come. 5:04 PM UPDATE: Among those here is whale expert Jeff Hogan, who’s been talking to NOAA. He thinks the whale is indeed dead, possibly just within the past hour – neighbors here tell us they saw it moving around earlier this afternoon. It is off a bulkhead in front of homes along this far southwest section of West Seattle shoreline; the whale is mostly submerged but the tide is starting to go out. 5:27 PM: Update, the tide actually is still rising – high tide is in about an hour. Then there’s a minus tide at midday tomorrow, and experts will examine the whale then if it hasn’t floated off overnight. Two TV choppers were over us a little while ago so you may see something about this on tv too. Here’s what Hogan told us a short time ago:
Again, this is happening just off a private beach (we are here by the good graces of the neighbors, one of whom called us about an hour ago to ask who to report this sort of thing to) so not a good idea to come down to try to get a glimpse. If you see a marine mammal in trouble, by the way, this is the hotline (easy to find any time on the Seal Sitters’ website) 800-853-1964. ADDED 6:52 PM: Video from a little more than an hour ago, giving you a little more perspective on where the whale is, in context with the residential shoreline (and Vashon across the way):
Hogan expects to be back in the morning where a low tide would beach the whale so it could be necropsied. We will be continuing to monitor the situation tonight.