Whale Beached on South Beach, Best Day of Marine Biologist’s Life
EVANSTON — A humpback whale washed ashore South Beach today and became beached when it could not move itself back into deeper waters. The whale remains on the beach now, but four Northwestern seniors who were playing volleyball at the time of the beaching responded quickly. They are providing continuous aid in order to keep the whale alive until the crane building the new music building can be requisitioned to lift the whale back into the lake.
Weinberg senior Katie Bogarty called the beaching “a dream come true.” Bogarty, president of NU Students for Saving the Whales, “never thought [her] club would accomplish anything useful.”
“Luckily I had just re-watched that Seinfeld episode where George saves a beached whale,” continued Bogarty, “and so I knew just what to do.”
Bogarty took control of the situation by yelling, “Quick! Is anyone here a marine biologist?”
Miraculously, her volleyball opponent Melody Xin was, and Bogarty reluctantly turned over the rescue efforts to someone who might know what they were doing.
“I had no idea there would be a marine biologist,” said Bogarty. “I really think I had that situation under control.”
Xin explained that she’s a double major and usually just tells people she’s studying chemistry. “It’s much more respectable.”
Xin rushed toward the whale and attempted to save it, prepared to use all her marine biology skills. She identified the species as humpback by its long pectoral fins, measured its length at 13 meters and estimated its weight at 34,000 kilograms. That done, she stepped back, wiping her hands in triumph and looking especially pleased with herself.
“Once they beach, there’s pretty much no hope for them,” Xin told the confused onlookers. “So, yeah, that whale’s a goner. But how cool is it that I was able to identify it?”
“What really puzzles me,” Xin wondered aloud as waves gently lapped the struggling mammal, “is how on earth a whale made it to Lake Michigan. Even if it did manage to swim from the Atlantic ocean through all the canals and rivers, whales are salt water creatures, and Michigan is a fresh water lake.”
An investigation conducted into this matter has shown the whale to be inflatable, placed into the lake by several McCormick sophomores at North Beach.