Michael Major, of Stanwood, takes a photo on Monday with a 43-foot dead gray whale that washed ashore Sunday near Harborview Park in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Michael Major, of Stanwood, takes a photo on Monday with a 43-foot dead gray whale that washed ashore Sunday near Harborview Park in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Dead whale on Everett beach to be towed to Camano Island

The gray whale washed up Sunday. Its gender, age and cause of death have not been determined.

EVERETT — Beachgoers gathered around a 43-foot-long gray whale Monday, examining the barnacles on its back and the scars in its rubbery skin.

The creature washed ashore Sunday near Harborview Park.

The Everett Police Department and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife are planning to have the carcass towed at high tide on Tuesday to Camano Island, where it will be left to decompose, said Michael Milstein, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

He did not know the exact destination on Camano.

Authorities hope to examine the whale later this week and determine its age, gender and cause of death, Milstein said.

Nearby resident Debbie Ritchhart spotted it from her living room window off Madrona Avenue around 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Worried the whale might still be alive and struggling to breathe, she called 911.

Monday, her husband Brian Ritchhart headed down to the beach with a measuring tape to gather the mammal’s length.

“We’ve been here 30 years and this has never happened before,” he said.

Elizabeth Humphrey assists Brian Ritchhart (third from right) as he measures a dead gray whale on Monday that washed ashore near Harborview Park on Sunday in Everett. It was the 13th gray whale to wash ashore in Washington this year. (Julia-Grace Sanders / The Herald)

Elizabeth Humphrey assists Brian Ritchhart (third from right) as he measures a dead gray whale on Monday that washed ashore near Harborview Park on Sunday in Everett. It was the 13th gray whale to wash ashore in Washington this year. (Julia-Grace Sanders / The Herald)

The whale was still beached on the flats Monday afternoon, allowing humans to get a better look at low tide. The only way to access the beach near the whale without trespassing on railroad property is through Howarth Park.

Robert Sennabaum was walking his dog Rex when he came across the carcass.

“I feel like global warming might have something to do with this,” he said.

Adults and children on Monday look over a dead gray whale that washed ashore near Harborview Park in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Adults and children on Monday look over a dead gray whale that washed ashore near Harborview Park in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

This is the 13th gray whale to wash ashore in Washington this year, Milstein said. Last year at this time there had been three or four.

But as a whole, Milstein said the gray whale population is doing very well. There are about 27,000 that migrate along the West Coast.

“Overall the population is healthy,” he said. “But when you have a large population like this, it can be more sensitive to changes in the environment.”

Another dead whale was found at Cape Disappointment Saturday, Milstein said.

A number of recently washed-up whales have appeared skinny and malnourished, he said.

Brian Ritchhart on Monday walks around a dead gray whale that washed ashore near Harborview Park on Sunday in Everett. (Julia-Grace Sanders / The Herald)

Brian Ritchhart on Monday walks around a dead gray whale that washed ashore near Harborview Park on Sunday in Everett. (Julia-Grace Sanders / The Herald)

An examination has not yet been performed on the whale found in Everett, but Orca Network co-founder Susan Berta said photos show it looks emaciated.

“So what we’re seeing is (the dying whales) not getting enough food in the Bering Sea last summer,” she said.

About 12 whales stop in North Puget Sound annually to feed on their way north, Berta said. They’re usually here from March through the end of May.

“When there isn’t enough food up north is when we get newcomers to our little group,” Berta said. “So we’re waiting to see what happens.”

Port Gardner and Possession Sound commonly are hosts to gray whales and orcas, and occasionally humpbacks.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Kevin Duncan puts his ballot in the ballot drop box outside of the Arlington Library on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 in Arlington, Wash. The Arlington school District has three measures on the February ballot, including one to replace Post Middle School. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
High court: State must pay for some, not all, ballot boxes

Snohomish County sued to recoup the cost of adding 21 ballot drop boxes to comply with a 2017 law.

Jesse Spitzer (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)
Sultan man wanted in Washington, Idaho arrested in Montana

Jesse Spitzer, 30, is accused of multiple thefts and was on the run from law enforcement for a week.

‘Armed and dangerous’ carjacking suspect last seen in Edmonds

A man in a stolen truck led troopers on a chase. He crashed, assaulted another driver and took that car.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lynnwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lynnwood bookkeeper gets federal prison for embezzling $298K

Judith Wright, 75, was sentenced Friday to six months for writing fraudulent checks to herself. It wasn’t the first time.

Sen. Ron Muzzall, R-Oak Harbor, left, speaks on the floor of the Senate, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., during debate on a measure that would delay implementation of a long-term care program and the payroll tax that pays for it. The Senate passed the measure, which was passed by the House last week, and Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign the measure on Friday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Delay of Washington’s long-term-care program signed into law

The bill addresses concerns about the program’s solvency and criticism about elements of the underlying law.

Anthony Boggess
Man charged with first-degree murder for killing of Marysville roommate

Anthony Boggess, 30, reportedly claimed “demons” told him to hurt people. He’s accused of killing James Thrower, 65.

Les Parks, left, talks with his daughter, Kenzi Parks, after a laser etched drum finished printing Tuesday afternoon at his home in Tulalip, Washington on January 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
After 1,200 positive cases, Tulalip Tribes face ‘deepest fear’

“We used to be big on family doings — not anymore.” On top of a cultural toll, the pandemic has exposed health inequities.

Stevens Pass on Dec. 30, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / Herald file)
Amid rocky ski season with 300 complaints, Stevens Pass offers deal

Vail Resorts said returning customers can get discounts for 2022-23 if they renew their passes by May 30.

A car drives by Everett Station where Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin's proposal for its ARPA funds includes funding a child care center at station. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald) 20211118
Council approves lease for Bezos Academy at Everett Station

The preschool will be tuition-free. “I just know how darned important it is,” Councilmember Liz Vogeli said.

Most Read