SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A heavily decomposed humpback-whale carcass that drifted into the waters of the San Diego last week drifted back toward shore - despite being towed out to sea five times.
The dead sea mammal was first spotted in the Los Angeles area two weeks ago.
Lifeguards up and down the San Diego County Coast have been keeping an eye on the whale carcass to prevent it from washing up on the beach.
"This is just too big to handle easily. We have already towed it off our shore three times - Oceanside has done it twice," said Lt. John Sandmeyer, with the San Diego Marine Safety.
Remarkable video showed a great white shark eating the humpback whale carcass. It was towed offshore by Newport Beach lifeguards two Thursdays ago.
"Most of the skin up top is bleached by the sun and big and bloated and smelly and there's been some footage online of sharks feeding on that carcass. It's the natural process of the circle of life," said San Diego lifeguard Lt. Rick Romero.
Researchers nicknamed the humpback whale "Scarlet" and tracked her since she was a calf in 1997. Experts are not sure how it died.
"It's up in the air on what is going to happen to this whale, but for the time being no one is really excited to have the dead whale, a 50-footer on their beach," said Sandmeyer.
The Coast Guard said a C27 flying from Sacramento flew over and could not find the whale. Lifeguards want to do whatever they can to keep the carcass from washing ashore - not only because of the smell, but the cost to haul it to a landfill.
The Coast Guard also released bulletin to mariners to be on the lookout for the whale carcass.