Whale beached on Little Cayman

A dead whale has washed up on a reef in Little Cayman.

The body of the whale, believed to be either a false killer whale or a pilot whale, is covered in wounds, most likely inflicted by the reef.

Ben Webb, dive operations manager at the Little Cayman Beach Resort, said the whale had been spotted by some guests on Saturday morning.

‘It’s still sitting out there on the reef. You can’t smell it from the beach yet, but you can smell it as you get closer to the reef,’ he said Tuesday, adding that sharks were waiting for high tide so they could ‘get a bite of it’.

‘There are things getting at it now and there’s a blood trail, so that’s going to be attracting a lot more,’ he said.

Carrie Manfrino, president of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute said she had heard from fishermen of false killer whales or pilot whales in the area occasionally.

‘In the winter of 2001, a pod of killer whales travelled down the Sister Islands. However, in the 10 years that I have been on Little Cayman, this was the only time I encountered them,’ she said.

The dead whale, which was perched on the reef outside the Little Cayman Beach Resort, west of Owen Island, was a minor tourist attraction over the long weekend, with visitors hiring kayaks to paddle out to the reef to have a look.

The marine institute’s scientist in residence at the research centre on Little Cayman, Claire Dell, said she had not yet seen the whale, which is about 20 feet long, but said observers were hoping that the next high tide might wash the body off the reef.

The last reported beached whale in the Cayman Islands was February last year when an Antillean Beaked Whale, also known as the Gervais’ Beaked Whale, washed up on the beach near Spanish Bay Reef in West Bay.

The last unusual sighting of whales was in summer 2008 when a pod of killer whales were spotted off East End.

Janice Blumenthal of the Department of Environment asked members of the public who make sightings of large marine animals to report them to the department which collects information on sightings and strandings.

She said that over the past year, there had been 40 sightings of large sea creatures, including whales, dolphins, manta rays, loggerhead turtles, and sharks.

The public is asked to report sightings by 949-8469 or e-mailing [email protected]