There is something graceful and majestic about whales, but sad when they are found in a narrow river far from their pelagic home. I wonder if it is true that animals will sometimes go off on their own to die.
This whale, believed to be a sei whale, was first spotted in the Elizabeth River last Thursday. The local stranding response team monitored the whale each days as she moved farther and farther up the river, away for her home in the ocean, away for any source of food. There was really nothing they could do except watch and wait as she swam in gentle circles.
Yesterday, a week after first being seen, she was found dead in the shallows of St. Juliens Creek, her smooth dark skin catching the evening light. Still majestic.
postscript: A necropsy performed on the whale revealed that it may well have died from ingesting a piece of plastic, possibly from a dvd case, which it could not digest and blocked the whale's stomach.)