CAPE TOWN - Sea point residents woke on Friday morning to find a nine-metre long humpback whale carcass that had washed up the day before, was gone.
It was towed out to sea in an operation involving the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Table Bay and police divers.
NSRI Table Bay was asked by the City of Cape Town (CoCT) to prepare a joint operation for the removal of the carcass with the Police Dive Unit, after the dead whale washed up on the rocks of Sea Point’s shoreline on Thursday morning.
By 6pm on Thursday, a plan was in place to pull the whale carcass off at the next high tide, at 7.35 pm.
Quentin Botha, NSRI Table Bay duty coxswain, said that at 7pm “the towing line that had been set up by police divers earlier was attached to the sea rescue craft Spirit of Vodacom, with the assistance of the sea rescue craft Spirit of Day”.
The whale carcass was towed to deeper waters, about two to three nautical miles offshore (about 3.7km to 5.5km). At a depth of 50 metres, the towing rope was released and the carcass sank. The operation ended at 9 pm.
Commenting on the dead whale washing ashore, the CoCT on Friday wrote on Twitter that “the City’s Coastal Management Department has confirmed that this is not an unusual occurrence”.
Meanwhile, a brand new addition to the Sea Point Pavilion is an art installation by local artist Marco Olivier, titled, The snail and the Whale, the CoCT said on Friday.
Unrelated to the humpback carcass, but in close proximity to where it was washed ashore, the installation is “inspired by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved children’s picture book, that narrates a story about a tiny snail’s incredible trip around the world on the tail of a great big, grey-blue humpback whale”.
“The life-sized sculpture took nearly six months to complete and blends effortlessly into the environment. It will surely become one of this season’s popular photo opportunities,” the City said.