Kauai News

Dead whale removed, buried at secret location on Kaua‘i; beach remains closed

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The body of a 60-ton, nearly 60-foot-long sperm whale was nowhere to seen Monday. Photo Credit: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now

A disappearing act of colossal proportions has taken place at on the East Side of Kaua‘i, after county, state and federal personnel worked through the weekend to remove a 60-ton sperm whale from the shore of Lydgate Beach Park — and bury it at an undisclosed location.

Despite the whale’s complete removal by the end of Sunday – when nothing remained but strips of yellow caution tape, several “shark sighted” signs and four excavators – Lydgate Beach Park will remain closed until Feb. 1.

There remains park maintenance to do in the wake of removing the 56-foot-long beached palaoa (Hawaiian for sperm whale), which was discovered Friday evening.

  • Lydgate Beach Park is located between Kapa‘a and Līhue on the East Side of Kaua‘i. Photo Credit: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now
  • It was not immediately clear if shark warning signs at Lydgate were directly related to the recent whale removal. Photo Credit: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now
  • Lydgate Beach Park will remain closed until Wednesday as county personnel complete cleanup of the site. Photo Credit; Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now
  • Several pieces of heavy machinery were needed to remove and bury the sperm whale. Photo Credit: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now

“With the assistance of the Department of Public Works, crews will be on-site with heavy machinery to remove debris in the vicinity of Morgan’s Ponds and complete clean-up work resulting from the beached whale over the weekend,” according to county spokesperson Alden Alayvilla.

The whale’s final resting place is being kept a secret to prevent desecration.

Communications Manager Dan Dennison with the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources deferred questions related to the whale’s interment to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But he did say whale burial locations are not publicized to avoid the taking of body parts of a protected species, which is illegal under federal and state laws.


A group of several Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners conducted protocols throughout the weekend’s whale-removal efforts. A senior member declined to speak publicly on the topic Monday, citing her wish to receive permission from her fellow participants first.

Scott Yunker
Scott Yunker is a journalist living on Kauaʻi. His work for community newspapers has earned him awards and inclusion in the 2020 anthology "Corona City: Voices from an Epicenter."
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