September 29, 2009

Whale carcass makes stench, draws visitors

Authorities in Virginia said locals are flocking to see an unlikely and smelly attraction -- the rotting corpse of a 25-foot humpback whale.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center's Stranding Response Program said the carcass, which was first noticed bobbing Saturday in the Chesapeake Bay and beached Monday in the York River near Gloucester Point, is radiating a powerful rotting stench that can be detected for blocks inland, the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press reported Tuesday.

Hopefully the wind switches for the neighborhood, said Christina Trapani, assistant stranding response coordinator for the program.

However, the odor has not dissuaded curious onlookers from making the trek to the beach to view the massive carcass.

It's like my excitement for the day, said onlooker Samantha Jensen, who is six months pregnant. Besides morning sickness.

Linda Candler, marketing director at the aquarium, told The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot the facility is in discussions with county and state officials to have the whale removed. Candler said officials are working to ensure the owner of the beach property where the whale washed up does not have to pay for the removal.