Lifeguards towed a 67-foot fin whale that washed up on a cove in Point Loma back into the sea Wednesday morning.
The whale beached itself on the cove near the Point Loma Waste Treatment Plant on Saturday. Lifeguards have been waiting for the tide to rise before towing it off the shore with a small boat.
Earlier in the week, lifeguards attached a line to the tail of the whale in preparation for its removal.
The whale will be towed out to Fiesta Island, where scientists will determine the cause of death. Lifeguards expect that it will arrive at about noon and stay until Friday.
On Friday, lifeguards will tow it back out to sea and sink it. A previous plan to dump the carcass in the Miramar landfill was abandoned.
Private company "Virgin Oceanic" donated one of its ships and the required fuel to drop the whale off.
Scientists will then study the whale's decomposition for research purposes.
Lifeguards said the stench was getting worse each day.
On Tuesday, lifeguards discovered that the whale was pregnant when she died. Scientists believe the gases from the decomposing whale may have forced the unborn whale out of its mother, according to Jim Milbury, a spokesperson with the National Marine Fisheries Service