Cape Cod: Marine Stranding Hot Spot

Winter and spring astronomic tides entice marine mammals to chase bait fish deep into serpentine estuaries, trapping them on the oozy bottom as the tide flushes out beneath them. Pilot whale strandings were so frequent in Wellfleet that a major estuary, Blackfish Creek, was named after the bounty they brought the Outer Cape community. Critically endangered sea turtles get trapped in Cape Cod Bay by icy fall waters, get cold-stunned once temperatures drop below 50 degrees F and are tossed hypothermic on bay beaches by sustained wind events in November and December. Strandings come year-around and involve a committed bunch of adventurous spirits who dedicate themselves to mitigating the impact of Cape Cod’s dangerous geography. In July 2002, 43 pilot whales stranded in the Run south of Lieutenant Island. The video clip below shows a young calf encircling her beached mother and her pleas echo the urgency of our efforts to save marine animals from the worst outcome of these stranding events.

Pilot Whale Calf Nuzzles and Cries to Stranded Mother

This mass marine mammal stranding began early in the morning of July 30th with an emergency phone call to my 24/7 hotline.  For the first two hours of the event, the original video below … shot from my kayak with a small digital camera … makes us the only eyewitnesses to this mass stranding event as it occured.

Eyewitness to Mass Stranding of Pilot Whales

Leave a Reply