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Dead Whale Washes Ashore At Popular O.C. Surf Spot

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Despite Lower Trestles' popularity among among surfers, those looking to catch a wave are likely to steer clear of the beach for the time being.

Like an ominous sign from Mother Nature, a dead whale washed ashore at the Orange County beach on Sunday afternoon, around 3 p.m. According to KCAL, the animal is likely a young gray whale, and probably was in the middle of its northward migration.

It's unclear how the animal died. Todd Mansur, a boat captain for Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, saw the carcass floating offshore and told the O.C. Register, "It looked like nature. There were no marks from ships, no propeller marks, no abrasions, no entanglements." He said he saw a second carcass floating offshore in recent days, and expects its to wash up at San Clemente State Beach soon.

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State park officials with San Onofre State Beach are unsure what to do with the whale carcass in the time being, telling KCAL where it washed up is too rocky for burial. "We're talking to heavy equipment operators now, and we can either pull it up off the beach or tow it out to sea," Brian Staudendaur of the California State Parks told Surfline. "We want to remove it as quickly and safely as possible."

Whatever happens, surfers will likely stay away from the Trestles (named for a nearby railway bridge) for a while, out of fear the carcass will attract sharks. Kelly Slater posted a photo of the carcass to Instagram with the note, "Great white sightings sure seemed to coincide with the burying of a whale 15+ years back by Trails [Beach]. Not saying they weren't around before then but they've been sniffing around the area consistently since then."

Kalani Robb also expressed caution:


"Hopefully they will be able to tow it back off the point at high tide and float it to a much less populated part of the coast," State Park lifeguard John Dowell told Surfline. "One thing's for sure: the Lowers/Middles lineup will be empty for awhile."