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Moby Dick in Richardson Bay

The ‘ick meter’ was cranked up several notches last week when, on the same day the big wind storm rolled through, a dead gray whale made its smelly way around Richardson Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers wrangled the bloated beast and anchored it just outside the channel — off the Spinnaker Restaurant in Sausalito — to wait for better weather to tow it out to sea. "We’re charged with removing debris from federal channels," said Chief of Public Affairs J.D. Hardesty. "That includes large items such as big logs or dead whales." He noted that the last whale they removed was seven years ago, but the year before that, they’d had five.

The seven-ton, 24- to 30-ft gray — probably a younger whale — has since filled the nostrils of Richardson Bay sailors with a fetid stench. One group of young sailors even bumped into it last night when they ran out of diesel just a little too close to the scene. "We had to push ourselves off of it," said one gal with a shudder. "Blech!" But not to worry, Hardesty reports that USACE contracted with a private party to tow the rotting behemoth out several miles past the Farallones for disposal early this morning. We can all breathe easy once more.

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John Thompson and CG Auxiliary officer Rick Saber check the expiration dates on John’s flare gun ammo.