IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. - It is a decision of enormous proportion – what to do with a dead whale that washed ashore south of Imperial Beach.
State park rangers tell 10News there are four options: leave the whale where it is, bury it in the sand, haul it back out to sea or partition it and haul it to the landfill.
Rangers say the landfill might be the cheapest and most likely option. Some of the whale spectators agreed.
"We tried towing it out once and it didn't work … might as well just cut it up and take it to the landfill," said beachgoer Stephen Rolle.
As 10News has reported, the whale has been in the same spot since Saturday.
Experts with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) believe it is the same whale that was towed 10 miles out to sea last week after it washed up near Point Loma.
Yellow caution tape was put up around the whale sometime Tuesday morning. Regardless, spectators still tried to get as close as they could.
"I don't want to stand in front of it, have my picture taken with it. It's very sad to me," said Rancho Penasquitos resident Edie Esparza, who wanted to see the whale close up.
Alyssa Garcia said, "It's sad that it's dead, but I guess if its dead why not do the cheapest option."
She is referring to the landfill option which was done with another dead whale – a gray whale – that washed ashore in Del Mar and then again in Torrey Pines in 2009.
"Actually, I think they should take it out deeper into the ocean and sink it out there and let it become food for the other fish," added Ruben Esparza.
This too has been done before. In November of 2011, a 67-foot fin whale carcass was towed to Fiesta Island by a catamaran after it washed ashore in Point Loma.
That whale was also supposed to be headed to the landfill when billionaire Sir Richard Branson and his company Virgin Oceanic instead paid for a burial at sea.