ID of Beached Whale/Eleuthera, Bahamas

From: Peter M Scheifele (
Date: Wed Mar 08 2000 - 21:18:10 EST

Linda, Bruce and Mike

I'd say we're pretty well confirmed as to the larger whale being a Fin
Whale. You had one photo that confirmed it for showed the fi
relative to the flukes. Also the Fin is a rorqual that has "vents" or
pleats and is white underneath. That animal is too long to be a Minke
and the fin is not right for a humpback. Fins do travel in that area of
the world even though you may not ever see many whales. Its a Fin Whale.

I am familiar with Pygmy Sperm Whales (Kogia breviceps) as I had done
some acoustical work with one some many years ago. The animal in the
photos definately is a Kogia. It met a demise that was both deadly and
painful leading me to wonder whether it ever heard the vessel. This is a
highly debated subject especially if the sea state was high and/or if the
whaler was at the surface and is also dependent on the speed of the boat
at the time of the strike. What size vessel was it? How big? Twin prop
or single screw? What was the water depth?

Fishermen heading in with a catch don't usually waste much time and
typically they cavitate (the screw) to the point of singing the prop.
The noise of cavitation is both loud and obnoxious and unmistakeable to
all but the Deaf. That makes this yet another interesting case, no?
Since this is a part of the work I do any info about the incident that
you can dig up would be appreciated!


Peter M. Scheifele
129 Hunters Road, Norwich, CT 06360

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