Yesterday we woke to the sound of a helicopter circling overhead. What's up? We could see the television news trucks with their transmission feed towers from our building.
Quickly walking to the parking lot, we found a news briefing in progress. Dr. Erin Fougeres, a Marine Mammal Biologist with NOAA, says 8 pilot whales have died after getting stranded near Lover's Key on Monday. Wildlife officials euthanized 4 of them, the others died naturally. The biologists will test the whales for diseases to see if that is what killed them. There has been an outbreak of the Morbillivirus in dolphins along the east coast killing 1,000 of them. The Morbillivirus is like the flu and is fatal. Mammals pass it to one another by rubbing against each other.
It was very sad to see two of the whales beside the dock. The 8 dead pilot whales were part of a pod of 14 first spotted Monday morning in the area. Scientists are still trying to figure out what is drawing them so close to our shores. They say it could be because one of them is sick and about to die. Biologists say the mammals have a tight social structure and stick together.
I am sure we saw these whales swimming in the bay. Gary said, “What are those? Can dolphins be black?” I remember saying, “darn big dolphins.” We're such land lubbers from Illinois. We can't tell a dolphin from a whale. I think we need much more time in South Florida.