Itinerant dead whale is buried under parking lot in Rockport

This whale tale has come to an end.

The dead whale first spotted floating in Boston Harbor close to a month ago has finally been laid to rest under the parking lot of Cape Hedge Beach in Rockport.

“Basically, it was just a pile of blubber by the time it was said and done,” said Joe Parisi, Rockport’s public works director.

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The 55-foot whale was seen Oct. 7 in South Boston waters. Coastal communities braced themselves as the huge carcass bobbed about and crossed their fingers that the whale wouldn’t end up on their shores. Federal law says that if it lands on your beach, disposing of it is your problem.

The whale washed up on Rainsford Island, off the coast of Hull, then drifted back out to sea.

The carcass made its way just north of Pebble Beach in Rockport, but was soon on the move again, thanks to a strong current from Hurricane Sandy.

After weeks of teasing beach communities and leaving a stench wherever it washed up, the lump of rotting whale flesh made landfall for the final time on Cape Hedge Beach in Rockport, about a mile from its previous resting spot.

Rockport called in a scientist from the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries to collect the bones from the whale, which might end up on display at the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, N.H., Parisi said.

Left with a daunting blob of decayed whale blubber, close to 20 volunteers walked onto Cape Hedge Beach first thing Thursday morning, armed with filet knives, he said.

“There was still a substantial amount of blubber and flesh to be buried,” he said.

The volunteers sliced and diced the whale flesh, while an excavator dug a 5-foot-deep pit in the beach’s gravel parking lot, which would become the whale’s grave, Parisi said.

Volunteers used the excavator and a front-end loader to carry the cut-up bits of whale from the shoreline to the parking lot, he said.

By 4 p.m., the deed was done.

“It’s nice that we’re able to dispose of the carcass,” Parisi said. “Otherwise, there would probably tend to be a number of calls on the smells and odors.”