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A humpback whale sighting of a different kind

A 37-foot-long humpback whale washes up at San Francisco’s Baker Beach” – we first heard this a month ago. There was talk of a burial, but with the ongoing shelter-in-place order, the city has other pending problems to address.

Before we know it, San Francisco has started to reopen and several sightings of the dead female juvenile whale popped up on iNaturalist. We couldn’t believe that it is still there and decided to take a look.

Had we arrive at Baker Beach by the Sand Ladder, we would have seen it right away. But we didn’t know that. We walked through our secret hummingbird forest and entered the beach after passing by a cluster of windswept Monterey Pines.

We glanced at each other as we walked along the beach, and we both knew what the other was thinking. Where is the whale? We were expecting a massive carcass of sorts, but the beach was rather empty with a few dog walkers and early birds.

Eventually, we arrived at a strange bone-like structure. And there, not far away, we saw the skin of a whale reduced to what seemed like a deflated air mattress.

The Chinese character for Capital (京) carries the meaning of a Great heap (mound) – Beijing (北京), the capital of China, is the Great heap (京) of the North (北).

Although the Whale (鲸) is not a fish, it is seen as a Great heap (京) in the Fish (鱼) world, and Shock (惊) is a Great heap (京) of Emotions (忄) one experiences.

Silicon Valley has long thrived on the motto “move fast and break things.” To keep humpback whales and other marine mammals thriving, we need to do the exact opposite: slow down.

Dr. Jeff Boehm – “How we can live with humpback whales in San Francisco Bay”

Although we didn’t get to see the great heap that we had imagined, we certainly felt a great heap stirring up inside us – reminding us what’s precious and how not to take nature for granted.


It is interesting to explore iNaturalist and watch a documentary of a different kind:

April 21 sighting was probably the earliest of all – a day before the Hoodline article reported on the dead whale

April 22 sighting documented a time where people were not social distancing

May 1 sighting and May 12 sighting showed the disappearance of bones but the dead whale seemed stationary at the same position

We least expected it to have floated away on May 15 (only three days after) and wonder what it has become this week.

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  1. 2020: May #1secondeveryday – documen·ting

    […] June 1st is supposedly the end of shelter-in-place and a new beginning, but as of 8 pm last night, San Francisco has imposed a citywide curfew. A month ago, we were still wondering about “the second wave” and “it might get worse in winter”. It seems like we have more pressing matter right now, and we will never have time for the burial of a whale.  […]

    Like

  2. 2020: May #1secondeveryday – documen·ting

    […] June 1st is supposedly the end of shelter-in-place and a new beginning, but as of 8 pm last night, San Francisco has imposed a citywide curfew. A month ago, we were still wondering about “the second wave” and “it might get worse in winter”. Now we have a more pressing matter, and we are probably never going to bury a whale.  […]

    Like

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