HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The public is asked to continue to stay out of the water at Waimanalo Bay following the removal of a massive whale carcass Wednesday.
A traditional Hawaiian blessing was held and witnessed by a group of about 50 people before it was hauled away to be buried on private land, the DLNR said.
Kalani Kalima of Na Kuaaina o Waimanalo conducted the pule and blessing, expressing the importance of the cultural connection to whales.
The whale carcass was first spotted by Honolulu Ocean Safety Division lifeguards at around 9 a.m. Tuesday and was about 300 yards from the shore.
Ocean Safety Lt. David Loui got an up close view on a jet ski.
“One of the sharks, probably about 12 feet, was actively coming to the jet ski craft and almost making lunges toward it, and basically trying to scare us off,” Loui said.
The current brought it closer and closer to land throughout the day and it eventually washed up by the early evening.
As word spread on social media, more people headed to Waimanalo Bay to see it in person.
“This is like finding gold or diamond because this hardly ever happens,” said Sean, of Salt Lake.
“We’ve just been hanging out, kind of watching it, looking at what it looks like, looking at the tiger bites on it,” said Sammy Falgiani, of Kaimuki.
The beach remained closed Wednesday as the threat for shark activity in the water remained high.
Nicholas Hofmann, training coordinator of the Health and Stranding LAB at University of Hawaii, said about 20 whales and dolphins wash up every year on U.S. soil around the Pacific.
Working with Hawaii Marine Animal Rescue, Hofmann’s team recovered the whale’s baleen.
“We are here to better understand why this animal died for this animal and for the population as a whole, some cause of death and then collecting samples for research in the future,” said Hofmann.