2. Monica Perez and her family examine the carcass
3. Perez and her children walk along the carcass
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Monica Perez, onlooker
"I brought them down to pay respect to the whale and also to learn. It's very scientific. It's not every day that you have a whale that washes up onto your beach and there's a lot that we can learn from these majestic creatures."
5. Various of dead whale
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Monica Perez, onlooker
"Earlier I came by to look at the whale and right now, we are, the wind is blowing a different direction. This morning, we couldn't stand where we are now because it does have quite an odor, but at the beginning of the day, I was down by the tail and I walked it off and I think it was about eight or nine feet wide."
7. Various of dead whale
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Monica Perez, onlooker
"We did miss the end of school but I figure that this is school in action."
9. Various of dead whale and onlookers
10. Shot of signage for Trestles surf spot
11. Heraclio Belmontes walks past the whale carcass
The massive, reeking carcass of a whale rotted on Tuesday at a popular California surfing spot, luring dozens of gawkers while authorities decided whether to tow it out to sea or cut it into pieces and load them on trucks.
The curious onlookers positioned themselves upwind to avoid the overpowering stench of the decomposing carcass that towered over them as they took selfies and knelt to examine the animal.
The adult gray whale was about 40 feet long and weighed up to 60,000 pounds.
It was stretched partly in the water, a fin pointing high into the sky and its enormous tongue so swollen that it bulged out of its mouth like a giant black balloon.
Removal will be a difficult, messy process whether the carcass is towed out to sea or cut up and hauled away on trucks.
The whale likely died of natural causes and was discovered Sunday on the beach. A decision on what to do with the carcass isn't expected for a day or two.