Gilbert the whale found dead on Alum Chine beach

East Dorset Open Water Swimming Club members celebrated the end of a successful 2009 season which catered for over 400 swims. However we were saddened to hear that a female northern bottlenose whale had been found dead on the beach at Alum Chine where we swim.

The northern bottlenose whale
The northern bottlenose whale
The 21ft (6.4m) young female, thought at first to be a male, had given the name Gilbert after RNLI lifeguard Nick “Gilbert” Smith who first spotted it on 13 September between Bournemouth Pier and Branksome.

Rescuers fear Gilbert may have got caught up in netting but post-mortem tests have proved inconclusive. Further tests are needed to establish how the whale died, but it was revealed she had not been feeding. Rope marks were discovered on her beak, prompting fears she had become tangled in nets.