San Diego: 45-Foot Whale Carcas Towed To Mission Bay

A 45-foot whale, thought to be a fin whale, was towed from the tony San Diego suburb of La Jolla to nearby Mission Bay after it began to stink as it decomposed just offshore off Children’s Cove. One question: Why not just drag it out to sea a couple miles instead of into the bay, scooped into a truck, and driven to the landfill? Your tax dollars at work…

As reported on

Fin Whale

SAN DIEGO – A whale carcass was moved from Mission Bay’s Fiesta Island to the Miramar landfill Sunday morning.

Crews from the city’s Park and Recreation Department arrived at Fiesta Island about 8 a.m. Sunday with six front-end loaders and scooped the carcass from the sand into the bed of a large trailer-truck, said San Diego lifeguard Lt. Rick Wurts.

The process took about an hour, Wurts said.

Originally believed to be a blue whale about 35 foot long, Wurts said the carcass is now believed to be that of a fin whale about 45 feet long.

"It was certainly well along in stages of decomposition," Wurts said.

The carcass was first spotted about 9 a.m. Saturday in the ocean about 2 miles west of the Children’s Pool in La Jolla. Lifeguards used a large net to haul the carcass to shore; the process took about six hours.

The stench was reported to be pervasive.

Lifeguard Lt. Nick Lerma said Saturday that the smell is what prompted lifeguards to tow the whale in for disposal. They didn’t want the carcass to get stuck in a hard-to-reach cove and pollute the shore.