There is something so calming about being by the ocean. The sound of the waves, the sound of the rain on the waves… you just can’t beat it.
I’m in Cannon Beach, Ore., right now. Spending time with family. My grandma, aunt and uncle live and Portland and every few years we try to rent a house on the beach and just relax.
We were on the beach the other morning, just out for a stroll in the misty morning, admiring the seaside cliffs (if you’ve ever seen the movie “The Goonies” that is about the part of Oregon we’re staying).
On our stroll we came across a dead animal. Initially, it looked like a baby whale. But, we didn’t know. Also, I didn’t know what you do in situations like this and the looks of some of the other passersby with sticks made me nervous. So I called the nearby aquarium to report the animal.
They stopped by to check it out and said it is actually a Risso dolphin. They are apparently pretty rare here.
It’s not real big, but an impressive enough creature. It had been on the beach for at least a few hours because the eagles had already begun circling and picking at the meat.
According to the depths of the Internet, Risso dolphins are typically about 10 feet long and weigh 600-1,100 pounds. They are usually found in deep water, not usually close to land. They are also protected by the 1992 Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The guys from the aquarium said that in all the time they’ve been here, they’ve only seen three of these kinds of dolphin. They don’t typically see them north of California, they said.
Tomorrow, we’ll get to see them do a necropsy. I know, it sounds gross. They will cut the meat off the dolphin’s skeleton, take samples to find out how it died and leave the rest for the birds.
We’ll get to watch.
The skeleton, then, they’ll take and display it at the aquarium nearby. Kind of neat.
Initially, it doesn’t sound like it would be very appealing. But, the rarity of getting to see such a thing done on an animal they say is so rare should be interesting. Plus, one of my family members here is very into animals (Hi Carol!), my husband is an EMT and my mother is a nurse. So, I’m sure we’ll all be gathered around.
It will have a touch of sadness to it because the dolphin is apparently a pregnant female. But, such is the circle of life.
The ocean, in all it’s calming qualities, has its treachery as well.
Kristen Czaban is managing editor of The Sheridan Press.