San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionHistory of the Museum

Trip to Trinidad Whaling Station, July-August 1926

Getting Oriented
July 17

We went to the whaling station this morning to look over the ground of our future work. Made the acquaintance of Mr. Dedrick, the manager of the plant, who proved to be most hospitable.

Many of the modern whalers in the Pacific Northwest were Norwegian, like Frederick Dedrick. As the head of the California Sea Products Company, he initiated construction of the Trinidad whaling station in 1920. The photos on this page were taken on several different days during Huey's visit.

We learned that three small steam vessels were being used for the whaling & all the boats were equipped with modern equipment, gun harpoons & bombs.

After the whales are captured they are pumped full of air & lashed alongside with their tails towards the bow of the boats & towed to the station. On arrival the dead animals are moored to buoy & the station crew then takes charge. The whale is then towed to the base of a large slanting chute by means of a powerful steam winch & large rope. At this point they fasten a large steel cable to the flanks of the beast & haul it up the platform into the cutting shed.

Hauling Finback Whale Up Skidway
Huey photo - hauling finback up skidway

The blubber is then removed in four huge slices from head to tail by powerful winches.

Cutting Up a California Gray Whale
Huey photo - cutting up California Gray

Next the head is severed, then the abdominal cavity & all the intestines thru the huge tail muscles are pulled from the vertebrae.

Removing Viscera from Finback Whale
Huey photo - removing Finback viscera

Nothing now remains but the vertebrae which is hauled to the side & pulled to pieces. The blubber goes thru a machine that slices it all into fine pieces, then by an endless belt it goes to the rendering tanks where the oil is taken out by steam heat. The residue is made into fertilizer.

The head, intestines, all bones and blood are made into fertilizer while the large muscles & larger portions of flesh about the head are cooked in pressure cookers for chicken feed.

Whale Bone, after it has been passed through the retort
Huey photo - chopped whale bone

We set our traps near a trickling rill in the dense redwood forest this evening.