PICTURES: Life-sized sperm whale model beaches in Greenwich

As part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival a life-sized replica of a sperm whale was beached by the Cutty Sark on the banks of the Thames today. Picture: Stu Mayhew.

As part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival a life-sized replica of a sperm whale was beached by the Cutty Sark on the banks of the Thames today. Picture: Stu Mayhew.

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Londoners thought there was a repeat of the time a whale swam up the Thames in 2006 after a life-sized replica was beached at the Cutty Sark today.

As part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival a life-sized replica of a sperm whale was beached by the Cutty Sark on the banks of the Thames today. Picture: Stu Mayhew.As part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival a life-sized replica of a sperm whale was beached by the Cutty Sark on the banks of the Thames today. Picture: Stu Mayhew.

The model is an art installation from Belgian artists Captain Boomer Collective, in collaboration with Zephyr Wildlife Reconstruction.

Its beaching today was part of the launch of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (GDIF 2013), a nine day event of outdoor performing arts from tomorrow.

The 17 metre model will be moved by crane to the lawns of the nearby Royal Naval College for the weekend, where it will be part of Greenwich Fair.

Organisers say the beaching captures our ‘fascination and long relationship with the otherness’ of the sea.

As part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival a life-sized replica of a sperm whale was beached by the Cutty Sark on the banks of the Thames today. Picture: Stu Mayhew.As part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival a life-sized replica of a sperm whale was beached by the Cutty Sark on the banks of the Thames today. Picture: Stu Mayhew.

Lemn Sissay, the official poet of the 2012 Olympics, will work with local people to create a ‘back-story’ to the beaching and the installation, drawing on Greenwich’s rich literary and historic association with whaling and giving it a contemporary edge.

Alan Knight OBE, from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said: “Over the last few year we have been seeing more and more whales and dolphins around the coast of the British Isles.

“The beaching of this model sperm whale at Greenwich is something that could happen.

“If this was happening for real we would do all in our power to avoid a whale of this type and size stranding by using a flotilla of boat to gently coax the whale out of the river.”

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