SAN DIEGO - A big job lies ahead Wednesday for marine biologists faced with disposing of a dead whale in Point Loma.
The 50-foot fin whale washed up onto the sand Monday near the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant. The unusual sight attracted people like Travis Making.
"It's not something you see very often so I thought I'd come by and take a look," he said.
Workers at the plant saw the dead whale floating close to shore over the weekend.
"Looks like he's been dead for a while … he's pretty bloated," said fisheries biologist Susan Chivers, who is with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NOAA took samples of the whale's tissue, hoping to find out its gender and any health problems it may have had.
After discussing several options late Tuesday afternoon, several organizations decided to turn the carcass over to the Marine Conservation Institute.
The institute will send a boat from the Torrance area on Wednesday when high tides are scheduled. They will then tow the dead whale more than 20 miles into the ocean so fish can feed it.
"I think it's a pretty unique experience. Very few people actually get to experience a whale up close and personal like this," said David Huntamer, a spokesman for the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Although it is unclear how much this will cost, the city is left picking up the tab since the whale ended up on its turf.
Lifeguards speculated that the whale may have been hit by a ship.