It is with such a heavy heart that I write this blog…..
On Friday evening a magnificent Humpback whale, unfortunately, got herself beached on the shores of Beira outside Biques restaurant. The call came in at around 5 pm when people were enjoying their after work beers noticed the whale in distress. People immediately stopped what they were doing and ran to her aid. Beira being in the 3rd world means that we are not geared up for these rare events. There are no emergency services on standby with their helicopters and inflatable rafts to help with the rescue operation. It fell to a group of courageous men who waded into the dark and murky sea to attempt to try and move her. People flocked to help in any way they could, parking cars to light the area, providing ropes and vehicles to try and turn her. It was a desperate race against time chasing the outgoing tide. Some brave individuals were successfully able to hook rope around the whale’s tale which enabled a truck to move her into the direction of the deep water. Cheers could be heard when it was hopeful that this could have been enough to set her back on her way. But unfortunately, as the tide changed the current grew stronger, and she was turned back the wrong way. Further attempts were made to try and turn her, but these were all in vain. There was nothing else anybody could have done for her with the resources at hand. It was with such sadness that she was found dead fully beached on the shore in the early hours of Saturday morning. A video can be seen on my Instagram account on the attempted rescue HERE.
The crowds that grew on the beach the next day as the news spread about this “mythical” creature were like nothing I have ever seen before. Easily two thousand people were staring on in wonder. Guards were protecting her from anyone getting too close due to fears of individuals trying to potentially take advantage of this apparent food source without knowing the dangers of this. A decomposing whale carcass is a breeding ground for bacteria and poisons and is lethal if eaten.
The governmental authorities have now stepped in, and her body has now been successfully tugged out to sea.
Many questions have been asked, could we have done more? Why had she come so close to the shore? Was she sick? Did she come to shore to die? Unfortunately, these questions will have to remain unanswered as unlike anywhere else around the world we have no professionals here to study the event, and as with many beached whale incidents it will continue to be a mystery.
The display of such selfless acts of kindness by all involved helping this poor creature was astonishing to witness. I am very proud to say that my husband was amongst the men who swam out to help her and he has the cuts and bruises to show for it! Along with a multitude of crab bites from the hundreds of tiny crabs that had made their home on her vast body. It has been a once in a lifetime experience which has reminded everyone how nature can be so cruel.