Yesterday was our last day in the Cornish seaside village of Pentewan, so in the morning we headed down to the shore for one last gaze out to sea before heading back inland. As we turned to walk along the sands, we got quite a shock. There on the shoreline lay the carcass of a whale.
At first, the sight of a marine mammal lying lifeless on dry ground was so terrible it seemed wrong to stare or take pictures. But, as I looked again, it became a privilege (despite the animal’s decomposed state) to see a magnificent beast of a kind I am sure I will never get so close to again.
Two Marine Life Rescue experts were assessing the carcass; one told us he thought it was that of a juvenile Minke whale. It was well-nourished, he said, not starved, indicating that it had most likely died at sea rather than having been stranded. It wasn’t bloated with gas, he told us, having already ruptured through its mouth.
It would have been interesting to learn more, but recognising the men had a job to do, we didn’t question them further.
Though sad, this encounter, rather than being morbid or grisly, was a very real reminder that we share our world with some truly remarkable creatures.