Friday, November 11, 2005

They Called Him Ishmael...Well, probably not.

Tomorrow the 12th day of November is a historic day here in Oregon. It is the anniversary of "The Exploding Whale". Yes, ladies and gentleman, the exploding whale.

Back it early November 1970, an 8-ton, 45 foot long rotting sperm whale washed up on shore near Florence, Oregon. People came from all around to come gawk at it. Alas, as all dead things eventually do; it started to stink.

The state highway division drew the short straw for the job of disposing of the carcass. Mmmm. They thought long and hard about the best way to do this. Well, for at least an hour.

They couldn't bury it. It would eventually come back up from the sand, because of the ever changing tides and such. Stumped as they were, the highway division chose to consult with officials at the Department of the Navy. They had a wonderful idea.

The hatched the plan to blow it up using a half-ton of dynamite. The object being to pulverize this poor dead whale into teeny weenie pieces that were more manageable apparently, and would most likely be eaten by the local wildlife of seagulls.

But as all good plans often do, it went awry. Apparently they didn't use enough dynamite. It only blew up part of the carcass. And the part that did blow up, unfortunately sent pieces soaring into the air, not towards the ocean as planned, but towards the on-lookers that had crowded nearby. Although a car was crushed by a large, flying piece of blubber, no one was injured. Unless you count being traumatized by being rained on by the smaller bits and pieces of stanky, rotting whale goo. (Try explaining that one to your insurance company.) Most other onlookers left after that, and crews buried the rest of the carcass.

And a lesson was apparently learned, because when an entire pod of 41 sperm whales washed ashore in 1979, the Parks Department was in charge and they burned the carcasses and buried the remains. Apparently they decided that consulting the Navy was probably not a good idea, since by then the Navy might of came up with something along the lines of shooting missiles at them from a ship to pulverize them into more manageable chunks.

I'm not sure if they are going to have a Exploding Whale Festival or not to commemorate the day the sky rained whale goo, but I don't think I would go even if they did. You know, just in case they want to do a reenactment or something. I think I'll pass.

1 comment:

  1. " pulverize them into more manageable chunks"...LOL!

    PS: your review is finally up!