GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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November 1, 2012

Crews dismantle, preserve dead whale on Rockport beach

ROCKPORT — A team of scientists and volunteers at Rockport’s Cape Hedge Beach today have dismantled the whale carcass that washed up nearly two week ago and have begin salvagingthe bones for a museum exhibit.

As the team hacked away at what was left of the finback whale, spectators had their last chance to check out the giant finback today. The bones will go on display in the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, N.H.

The whale was originally spotted in Boston Harbor Oct. 8, but floated away from there and residents found it already dead and washed up on a beach off Penzance Road on Oct. 20.

At that point, the whale was inaccessible to big machinery at that area, so town officials resigned to letting nature take its course on the body.

But when the winds and coastal surge of Tropical Storm Sandy struck Monday night, high tides washed the whale carcass briefly out to sea and then up onto Cape Hedge Beach.

At the new location, workers today used machinery, including a bucket truck and a back hoe to dig a hole for the leftover blubber and flesh and carry that material to the hole in the parking lot behind the beach. Volunteers and scientists used knives and hooks to pull apart the carcass and salvage the bones.

For much more on this story, look to tomorrow’s print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com. To have text updates regarding local breaking news coverage sent to your mobile phone, just sign up for the Times’ free text-alert service n the gloucestertimes.com homepage. For more up to date coverage, follow the Times news team on Facebook and on Twitter.com @gdtnews.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.

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