Watching A Whale Get Cut Up With Chainsaws
These pictures are of a sperm whale that washed up on the beach in Pegwell Bay, Kent. According to the local paper, he was 13.8 metres long, weighed somewhere between 25 and 30 tonnes and is believed to have died of starvation. The locals called him Bruce. It was quite difficult for me to get these pictures, as the police weren't letting anyone get within gawking distance. But on the second night, they just left him unattended on the mudflats.
The first thing that hit me was the smell: Like a billion wet pennies in a pile of rotting fish. At the start, I wasn't aware of the huge chunks they'd already torn out of Bruce, so I was sad – he still looked whole, like he was having a sleep. But then when I saw the way his blubber had been massacred, the sadness went away and I was overwhelmed with awe. The scale of the thing was unbelievable – I'm 6ft, and couldn't see over Bruce's body to talk to my mate.
If you're wondering how those big holes got in the side of Bruce, it's because the only way to get rid of him was to use chainsaws to cut him into "manageable chunks" so he could be taken to the local landfill. Not the most peaceful end to Bruce's life, but at least they didn't try to blow him up.
This is the inside of Bruce's mouth.
I have no idea what this is the inside of.
The light's different in a lot of the pics because I spent the best part of three days with Bruce. The majority of the pictures come from this one night, though, when I followed him across the mud flats as two large diggers struggled to drag his body from the beach to an old hoverport. I guess they didn't have any of those special "whale-disposal diggers" ready for action down in Pegwell Bay.