Dead whale and a huge turtle in the Gulf of Maine

For all the great pictures that I take on the lobster boat, there’s one that I really missed out on.

About two years ago my captain, Skip Werner, and I spotted a dead whale floating several miles off the coast of York County, but I didn’t get a chance to take a picture.

Fortunately, Skip did get a pic, but I didn’t realize it until today when we were talking about all the awful smells we’ve had to deal with on the boat (the dead whale was extremely gaseous and rotten).

As always, Skip was more than happy to help with a blog post so he sent me the pics:



It’s a little hard to make out, but you can see the slash marks all over the whale’s midsection. Skip’s diagnosis was that the poor animal was the victim of an oil tanker’s unforgiving propeller- based on his 50+ years working on the water, I’m inclined to believe him.

On a lighter note, here’s a pic of a huge turtle that came up with Skip’s son Thom’s traps a while back (the turtle survived the ordeal unscathed and was released back into the ocean immediately).


I should point out that Skip said he had only seen a dead whale in Maine waters one other time in his life, decades ago.

So these pictures don’t indicate any extreme problems or environmental emergencies in the Gulf of Maine, but they do call attention to some issues that often go overlooked- namely the disruptions caused by the massive oil tankers that constantly occupy the waters.

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.