A 55-foot dead sperm whale made its way to Heeia Kea Pier Saturday morning after being monitored for the last two days near Chinaman's Hat.
But along with its arrival, also came curious onlookers who took the rare opportunity to see the dead animal up-close.
"I've seen a dead humpback before I've never seen a dead sperm whale before," Kaneohe resident Kay Hishinuma said.
And, Kay wasn't alone, dozens came bringing their keiki and taking pictures of the carcass.
But many wondered, why it was brought to shore.
"It's sad, but you know things happen and part of me just wonders why did they tow it to shore I mean I guess they had their reasons but why not let nature take care of itself," Hishinuma said.
"Based upon the currents and the wind last night and what's forecasted for the next two days, we decided against the normal procedure which would be to tow it to sea and let it go again," Department of Land and Natural Resources chairperson William Aila said.
Aila decided to bring the whale carcass back to avoid dealing with it later when it could wash-up in a location more difficult to access.
He says this operation cost the state somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000.
"Its a lot cheaper then if it had got stuck on the reef near Kualoa and we couldn't get to it with this type of machinery and the public inconvenience of closing down the area for weeks instead of days," Aila said.
The boat ramp was closed Friday night to give crews room to work.
"Its exciting for us as its sad but its exciting for us because of the whale species that inhabit Hawaiian waters we know the least about the sperm whale," NOAA stranding coordinator David Schofield said.
Volunteers from HPU's Mammal Stranding program took a tooth and samples of the adult male's liver, lung, kidney and brain tissue.
The samples will help them determine what population of sperm whales he came from and how old he was.
But, while taking samples, researchers found something very unusual.
"These animals when they come in we always find little mysteries. It appears that someone had put a hook in the bone of the animal to maybe help find it at a later date since it was attached to the bottle with a light stick," Hawaii Pacific University Mammal Stranding program head Dr. Kristi West said.
Dr. West says because the whale was so badly decomposed, she doesn't believe they'll be able to figure out how the whale died.
"We're hoping that some of the muscle samples that we collected will contribute to a study looking at how deep these animals really dive and how they do it," Dr. West said.
"Sperm whales we know the least amount about because they are the deepest diving widest ranging. We know they're here in social groups we see them with their young but we don't know a lot about their life history," Schofield said.
The owner of Makani Kai Air says the plane that crashed off Molokai had catastrophic engine failure.
A top Hawaii official is dead following a plane crash off Molokai. Officials say state Health Director Loretta Fuddy died at the scene.
WATCH VIDEO: The Coast Guard transported three passengers to Emergency Medical Services after a plane crashed in the ocean off Kalaupapa, Molokai, on Wednesday.