Wednesday, May 28, 2008

on the beach

Well, back from the beautiful island for three sleeps already and no blogging until now. Very slack. We had a lovely time: all will be revealed in the next few days.

Not so lovely for this chap, though. Rotto Bloggo was enjoying lunch when a contact rang with a tip about a whale beached next to the army jetty.

We raced down with four-year-old Ella to check it out: reporters at work. There were some difficulties with the local police. A male officer said we couldn't cross the police line, and the RIA ranger would have to let us through. This was fret-indusing. There was no line. He said, "You've been to police lines before have you mate?" We calmed down and lo, the ranger did eventually let us get closer to the stricken beast.

Soon we'd filed for PerthNow. It was the first time I'd seen a whale so close. They are majestic creatures. It was making a noises that sounded like a cross between a cow mooing and a dog with kennel cough. He (the sex was undetermined) tried to roll on his back a couple of times, which was distressing.

TV reporters turned up. Time passed. The wildlife officer arrived on a boat. We thought he was injecting it with something, but he was taking its temperature. The prognosis wasn't good. Eventually he announced it had to go.

Cops cleared the beach and hills ("there's no way they need to see this", a policewoman said). There was an interesting indigenous procedure: two elders were there, and were hugged by a ranger as the deed was done.

The first shot rang out at 1650, and there were eleven more in the next six minutes. The shooting was very loud, but Rotto Bloggo's associates didn't hear it, back in Thomson Bay, about 700m away.

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