KINGSTON — The cow carcass that washed up on North Beach the end of April became more than a headache for the Port of Kingston. It became a tourist attraction — at least on a small scale.
Kingston Adventures owner Beth Brewster rented five or six paddle boards to people who wanted to see the cow, tethered to a buoy, up close.
However, the chance to see the water-logged mammal ended Tuesday. Port employees embarked on a mission to sink the cow, using chain and cindern blocks. Now, marine wildlife are assisting in the carcass’s final decomposition.
“Most places get seals,” Kingston Port Commissioner Walt Elliot said. “We get a cow.”
Elliott appreciated the port’s response. Harbormaster Kevin Van Vliet acted promptly, he said. This included dragging the carcass off the beach to get it away from the public, Elliott said.
An investigation by the Department of Agriculture found the cow was vaccinated. The cow’s origin remains unknown. “They really did get moooving on this one,” Elliott said. He is glad to see the issue dealt with.
Prior to sinking the cow, the port towed the carcass and tied it to a buoy to keep the tide from pushing it back to the beach. Sheriff’s deputies shot the carcass, attempting to sink it by puncturing holes in it.
Van Vliet requested $600 from the port commission to have a private business haul the carcass away with a dump truck from the boat launch. The commission did not provide funding.
According to Elliott, the appropriate action to take was sinking the cow. Hauling it on land was less desirable. It was unknown what other issues might be created dragging it up the boat launch into a truck.
The commission “asked Kevin to see what he could do to provide nourishment for aquatic life,” Elliott said. So, on the morning of May 8, two port employees set off with about $100 worth of materials to bury the cow at sea.
The last time Elliott can remember anyone in Kingston dealing with livestock was when a steer escaped from a trailer and ran around downtown.
Following the cow’s sea burial, Elliott quipped about future divers discovering the cow’s remains off North Beach and wondering what mysterious plot was going on.
Though Brewster never saw the cow, she is glad it’s gone. On Aug. 12, Kingston Adventures hosts the Peninsula Relay Challenge. The starting point: North Beach.