September 1st, 2016 (Barbara Hollands). Sharks attracted by the smell of a rotting whale carcass off Yellowsands caravan park have been spotted by a drone and a microlight this week, prompting warnings to surfers and bathers to stay out of the water.
The 14m-long humpback whale washed up onto the rocks last Monday.
Yellowsands resort manager Jason Leppan filmed what appeared to be a large great white swimming in the surf line just metres from the carcass on Tuesday and warned people to stay out of the water.
“A friend flew over the area with a microlight on Monday and said there were two ‘whites’ near the carcass,” said Leppan.
“We had been expecting to see shark activity and so I flew my drone on Tuesday afternoon and it did not take long to film a shark of between 2.5m and 3.5m swimming just 50m from the whale.”
He said the smell of the rotting animal was “really unbearable” but he was having little success pin-pointing who was responsible for removing it.
“It’s coming up for the festive season and we are fully booked, so a rotting carcass won’t work for sure,” said Leppan, who is seeking legal help regarding the problem.
His brother Aiden said he had stopped surfing since the whale landed up on the rocks.
“I would not surf anywhere within a 10 to 15km radius – nowhere between Yellowsands and Queensberry Point.”
Aiden said despite the presence of the decomposing whale, he had seen surfers in the bay.
East London Museum principal scientist Kevin Cole said in about three of four weeks, soft tissue would begin to break off the whale and wash into the ocean, creating a problem with sharks and predators.