Orca at California Academy of Science, Indra’s net at Marine Mammal Center

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In Nov. of 2011 a rare offshore orca washed ashore dead on a remote beach of Point Reyes. Read about that event here.

Today I stopped by the CAS In San Francisco to see the progress on assembly of the skeleton of this extraordinary creature.

The last image shows one of the flippers. I packed both of those out in two trips. Each one weighed over 70 pounds when covered with flesh. It is incredible to see the inside.

What an amazing job these folks have done.

See for yourself. The first 4 are from a few weeks ago, the rest are from today.

 

After visiting the orca, I stopped by the Marie Mammal Center to preview a new art installation by my friends Richard and Judith.

They made an amazing piece from a large trawler net I packed off the beach near Slide Ranch last year. It was wet when I packed it out and weighed over 100 pounds.

They have outdone themselves, it is gorgeous.

 

 

AC72 – An oracle of marine debris

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On 17 October, 2012, a boat owned by the Oracle/BMW racing group capsized as it was sailing on San Francisco Bay. Much of the resulting debris was recovered by those who created the mess. Shortly afterwards, the California Coast from Daly City, north to Point Reyes was awash in very expensive boat-bits.

I collected dozens of shards of carbon-fiber laminated aluminum and wood-fiber.

A group of Oracle people did come up once to Point Reyes to help recover debris left by another errant sailor, Duncan MacLean as well as pick up what they could find of their mess. I applaud their efforts and thank them for compensating me for the many hours I spent picking up after their fun went awry. I continue to find pieces of their boat on Point Reyes beaches.

Have a look at what a $9 million boat is made of.

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From May thru September of 2013 the California Academy of Science – whose mission includes exploring, explaining and protecting the natural world – will host a display entitled “Built for Speed”. Oracle will have on display a smaller version of the boat that disintegrated on San Francisco Bay. There will also be on exhibit the orca that washed ashore at Point Reyes in Nov. of 2011. See more about that orca here.

A few months ago I attended an art opening at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. It was sponsored by PG&E, among others.

The Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit veterinary research hospital and educational center dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals.

PG&E had a plan that calls for towing a quarter-mile-wide array of underwater “air cannons” that emit 250-decibel blasts into the ocean every 15 seconds for 12 straight days. This was to map the sea-floor to understand earthquake faults near the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

I wonder how many marine mammals that testing would have killed and injured?

Thankfully the permit for this testing was denied.

It has been said that politics makes strange bedfellows.

It seems that practice carries over into science as well.

Does the end justify the means? I do not think it does.

Greenwash is just that, greenwash.

Orca at Point Reyes

Click on the title of this post to read it and see a related header image.

NOTE2: Go to this post to see images of the skeleton being assembled at The Academy of Science.

NOTE: Hello orca enthusiast. You’ve found my images, take a moment to leave a comment at the bottom of this page. Tell me how you got here, what your interest in orcas is. This orca skeleton is being assembled at the California Academy of Science for the next few weeks. Go here to learn more.

I packed out both pectoral fins as well as four vertebrae.

Here are images from the removal of O319 from the beach.

An 18 foot long, juvenile male orca washed ashore on a remote beach at Point Reyes just before thanksgiving 2011. This animal belongs to one of three ecotypes, the offshore group. It was last seen off Vancouver in September. The other ecotypes are resident and transient. These names are derived based on what the animals do during the summer months.

A full necropsy was performed. Blood was found in the blowhole and there was other evidence of trauma to the head. This may have been the result of being struck by a ship, or during interactions with other whales. No determination on cause of death has been made.

Little is known about offshore orcas. This may be only the second specimen of this type to be collected, most animals die offshore and sink.

Orcas are actually members of the dolphin family, the largest member. Males can grow to over 30 feet long, though are usually 20-26 feet in length. This is the first killer whale known to wash ashore at Point Reyes in many decades.

Offshore orcas mainly feed on sharks. Sharks have very tough skin and that is likely why the teeth of this animal are very degraded. Resident animals mainly feed on salmon, transients prefer marine mammals, such as seals.

Here is some video of the whale in the surf.

Orca – ©Richard James Photography

Orca – ©Richard James Photography

Orca flukes – ©Richard James Photography

Orca fluke – ©Richard James Photography

Orca mouth – ©Richard James Photography

Orca teeth – ©Richard James Photography

orca teeth closeup – ©Richard James Photography