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Gawkers hold noses, trek to rotting whale carcass in Malibu

December 6, 2012 |  1:18 pm
A dog sniffs the carcass of a whale at Paradise Cove in Malibu. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Beached whaleThe whale carcass splayed on a Malibu beach -- possibly after it was struck by a boat -- attracted a steady trickle of gawkers Thursday morning, who found only remnants of the giant mammal.

They could make out a head and a tail, but the whale's middle looked as if it had been dissected -- which it had, at least partly by seagulls. Since Monday, when it was first snared in the rocks on Little Dune beach, the surf and wind have also eroded the carcass. Local officials said they hope to remove it as soon as today.

"I thought it was rocks or something," said Emily Cheever, 25, who was visiting her cousin here.

Upon closer inspection, she found a row of whale bones tangled in a white, stringy substance. On its head, some blood pooled between salmon-colored blubber and bone.

"It's hard to tell what I'm even looking at," said David Greenbaum, 30, who lives on the nearby cliffs.

The smell -- one of, well, seafood gone bad -- was only perceptible within about 20 feet of the remains. Gary Carr, 59, who lives nearby, compared it to Brut cologne.

One onlooker paced in front of the carcass, covering her nose with a pink scarf. Others brought dogs, who sniffed the whale and slunk away.

Gabriel Hart, who lives in Silver Lake, paced around the whale perimeter, trying to determine its size. (He guessed 40 feet, which is close to the official estimate.)

Guy Fortugno, 52, of Woodland Hills, nudged some whale blubber with his foot. He was surprised -- it was still spongy.

Soon, all the onlookers left the beach. A group of seagulls took advantage, and dove in for lunch.

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Photo:  A dog sniffs the carcass of a whale at Paradise Cove in Malibu. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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