Gray Whale Attraction in Port Townsend, WA

A tale of a whale and a labor of love

Gray whale exhibit
The skeleton of a gray whale is on display in the downtown Victorian seaport of Port Townsend, WA.

A team of volunteers learned about the dead whale in 2019 and set about preserving it for education.

Gray whale

“Before you is an example of what happens when marine science and a supportive community combine forces, inspired by the Salish Sea. This male gray whale died and washed ashore in 2019. Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) coordinates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Mammal Stranding Network locally, and PTMSC volunteers Dr. Stefanie Worsag and Mario Rivera responded. They also offered to let it decompose on their beachfront property, where Cascadia Research, SR3, and PTMSC conducted a necropsy.

“Worwag and Rivera named the whale “Gunther,” gained permission from NOAA to use the skeleton for education, and began a multi-year process rebuilding him. They were joined by industrial designer Les Schnick and shipwright Ric Brenden, who volunteered to create a mount for the 42-foot-long skeleton. The four gave hundreds of hours to creating this exhibit, and through a collaboration with PTMSC, the City and the Port of Port Townsend, Gunther’s story is shared with you.”

Gray whale exhibit by day
View of gray whale skeleton towards downtown

Here’s more detail about the background of this amazing story…

Mind if we drop off a dead whale on your beach? Asking for a friend.”

It takes a village. The team assembles and works to preserve the skeleton for the public.

Watch the video by King 5 on YouTube to learn about all the players that had a hand in this project.

More photos of the whale on the wharf…

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1 Response

  1. November 26, 2023

    […] of Port Townsend, WA, installed a breathtaking skeleton of a gray whale in an outdoor exhibit. Read the story of how a community pulled resources together to make it happen from NOAA, to Port Townsend Marine Science Center, and countless […]

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