Blue whale dismantling in Rocky Harbour finishes up

Published on June 2, 2014
Richard Roberts cuts meat away from a large whalebone in Rocky Harbour Saturday.
Cory Hurley/The Western Star

For the first time in more than a month, there will soon be no blue whale remains on the shores of Rocky Harbour. In fact, the crew from Research Casting International was expected to have the second massive sea creature dismantled and completely ready for transport to Ontario by Sunday. After the anticipated cleanup finishes, the spectacle on the shore of the Northern Peninsula community will be there no more.

The area has been engulfed with increased tourism and an awful odour since two of four dead blue whales caught in ice floated ashore in the area weeks ago — the first one ending up across the shore of Bonne Bay. As local residents continued to observe the piece-by-piece removal, the guests were considered an asset, but the smell will not be missed.

The crew led by Brett Crawford was continuing to cut away and clean the giant carcass Saturday — getting toward the latter stages after more than a week’s work. The Royal Ontario Museum will be the first destination for the skeleton, but this one will be returned to Memorial University.

The university said it could take up to five years before the skeleton is ready for display. Mark Abrahams, dean of science at Memorial University of Newfoundland, previously said the university will engage and consult the public about how and where the blue whale will be displayed.

However, there is already speculation the skeleton will end up in St. John’s.

That does not sit well with David Smallwood, a local historian and well-known community volunteer who visited the site in Rocky Harbour Saturday. He believes the skeleton would be a tourist attraction and should be situated somewhere on the west coast.

“With the Bonne Bay Marine Station right up the road and Grenfell in Corner Brook, there is no reason why it should not be displayed out here somewhere,” he said on the wharf in Rocky Harbour.