Dead gray whale sighted off South Whidbey

The body of a gray whale remains floating on its side in Saratoga Passage Monday evening after attempts to tow it to Oak Harbor for examination failed.

The full-grown 40-foot-long adult whale was first spotted about 8 a.m. Sunday floating off the northwest side of Camano Island north of Madrona Beach opposite Penn Cove.

It later floated past Langley, heading south.

A crabbing boat crew attempted a tow, but abandoned the effort about 4 p.m. today. However, the crew marked the carcass with an large orange buoy.

"It was too big for the boat," said Howard Garrett of the Orca Network, the local whale-tracking organization based in Greenbank.

He said officials will wait for the whale to wash up onshore, and then test it for toxins and cause of death.

"We hope it washes up in a place where we can get at it," he said.

Garrett said he's not sure if the whale was a regular visitor to the area, but it may be the same one that was "looking poorly" around Holmes Harbor the past month.

Meanwhile, another dead gray whale was seen floating in Birch Bay north of Anacortes on Monday, "but nobody's got up close to it yet," Garrett said.

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