We've just returned from another whale stranding (there have been others between the last post on this thread and this current whale, but these have been treated separately in various 'pilot whale stranding' threads). This particular whale washed ashore, likely dead, off southernmost North Island, New Zealand, last Friday. It is a 17m bull sperm whale. We could not get to this whale until the following Monday (2 days ago), by which time its condition had deteriorated. Although we've done equally large whales in the past, this one proved to be extremely difficult to cut into in order to recover the stomach contents. Thankfully the digger was able to assist us after we had made the initial incissions through the ventral body wall (we were exhausted by this time). We have to purchase some proper flensing knives to do this properly, although we did go armed with an assortment of long-bladed knives and improvised cutting tools. Warning, some might find the content of this thread rather unpleasant. We don't intend to butcher these animals in order to get the stomach contents out, but this proved to be the only way that they could be recovered in this instance. We flew down, rented a car, got covered in blood, rented a motel unit to wash up, and then had to fly back up again that evening (the car stank at the end of this; we'll not get another rental from there; the motel room wasn't that sweet-smelling afterwards either; and the airline did ask what smelly bits we had in our assorted bags and buckets .... we'll probably never fly Air New Zealand again, rent from Budget rentals, or get to use that motel). Three of us went: Emma Beatson (who took all of the photos attached below; thanks Emma); Nik Hannam, who also dissected the sunfish for us, researches sharks (related thread in this forum), and without whose help we would not have got inside this huge whale (he is remarkable with knives); and myself. The stomachs of this particular whale were completely empty; not even a single nematode was found therein. Seems to be a recurring theme does it not! I'm not too sure what happened to my head in one of the latter images; I can assure you that it has not been severed by the digger, and is not buried in whale entrails!