Beached Whale Spotted - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Beached Whale Spotted

Published May 6, 2015

Photo by
Sveitarfélagið Vogar

A minke whale has been discovered beached on the shores of Vogar, already dead when witnesses first stumbled upon it.

According to a Facebook post from the municipality of Vogar in southwest Iceland, the whale in question was relatively young, measuring only between six and seven metres long. It is unknown when the whale died or how.

Whales beaching themselves is not an uncommon phenomenon in Iceland. In fact, the Icelandic word for a beached whale, hvalreki, is used in common parlance the same way the English use “windfall”. This becomes more evident in the various ways beached whales have been used in the recent past in Iceland.

For example, in 2014, the Penis Museum put in a request for the penis of a beached sperm whale which has washed up in the Westfjords.

In 2013, a group of pilot whales beached themselves in Snæfellsnes, prompting many locals to descend upon them and butcher them for their meat. The act was not only dangerous, on account of the high levels of mercury in pilot whale meat, but it was suspected that some of the whales might have even been butchered alive.

In 2012, the jawbone of a beached sperm whale was poached for its ivory, which can fetch a hefty price on the black market. The perpetrators were never apprehended.

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