Mukilteo Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

Letter to the editor: To kill a humpback whale


Last updated 7/22/2020 at 12:12pm

Editor's note: Mukilteo author Steve Bertrand penned this poem about the apparent death of a humpback whale near Mukilteo last week.


“They make their dive, now where is it going to go?

He could turn around, come around the same spot,

400-yards down. They can go down 10 to 15 minutes.

You can see him go down over there & who knows where

he’s going to come up 10 minutes later.”

Captain Brian Jonsson


July 6, 2020

There are four miles between the Clinton & Mukilteo ferry landings.

The Salish Sea encompasses Puget Sound.

The ferry Tokitae is an Olympic-class passenger ferry.

It is 362-feet long, carries 1,500 passengers, & travels 17-knots.

Humpback whales frequent the Salish Sea.

They grow 52-feet long, weigh 40 tons, & live 50-years.

The Tokitae carries passengers between Clinton & Mukilteo.

It is a 15-minute trip.

The humpback whales feed on salmon in the Salish Sea.

They migrate between polar feeding grounds & tropical breeding grounds.

A pair of humpback whales surfaced in front of the Tokitae.

The Tokitae was a short distance from the ferry terminal in Mukilteo.

The Tokitae is named after an orca captured in the Salish Sea.

The Tokitae hit & most likely killed the humpback whale.

Witnesses on the Puget Sound Express whale watching boat

saw the whale moments before it was struck.

They were video-recording the humpback whales.

Photos show the whale’s injuries before it slowly sank beneath the waves.

The humpback whales had been in the area since the Fourth of July.

The crew & passengers weren’t aware they had struck anything.

A Washington State Ferry approaching its destination.

A pair of humpback whales frolicking in the Salish Sea.

What are the odds that somewhere between short trips & long journeys

such a tragic accident could take place?

Steve K. Bertrand



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