Whales: Perspective

Whales. Poor whales.

Poor dead sperm whales, to be specific.

Six of them have beached themselves on the east shores of the UK over the last few weeks.

I don’t have any theories as to why they washed up. They were still alive (well, at first) so it wasn’t something as basic as their mighty corpses being driven in by tidal action.

And they arrived in twos and singles.

Mass suicide? Disease? Environmental issues? Whale SatNav failure?

Even the experts don’t really know for sure.


Seeing that huge mountain of animal stuck heavily in our dry alien landscape – the sheer size, the fleshiness, the Whale Wall BIGNESS – made me think.

If primitive man had come across this massive gift on the beach, this natural and glorious largesse, might he not see it as a Blessing from the God(s)?

A bloody miracle, like whale manna from heaven.


I can just imagine the Chief Magic Man/Priest taking the credit for interceding with the gods.

I can speculate how the important bits like the liver went to the most important members of the clan.

And I can ponder how every speck of internal organ, meat, oil, bone, would be respected — gleaned, harvested and used by the grateful people with happy glee.

This would be something to talk about around the fire for generations, until maybe the next rare occurrence of the god’s magnificent gift from the sea.

old whale_engraving.jpg

But what do we make of the same thing today?

Tragedy. Distress. Sadness.

We blame ourselves.

We think we must be doing something wrong.

The Whales’ deaths are our fault.

mans fault.jpg

Also, they are seen as a problem.

A public nuisance.

Apparently, the cost to the British taxpayer for the disposal of just three of the whale carcasses on the east coast amounted to £26,000.


So not a blessing, then. A misfortune.

That got me thinking.

When something like this happens – something that can’t immediately be explained – there is a tendency to blame ourselves.

“Oh no! It must be something we are doing wrong.”

But back then, when we were struggling for survival through a cold northern winter, we might have thanked the mysterious powers above.

“Oh yes! It must be something we are doing right.”


Fascinates me.

whale mouth.jpg

Click on the link at the end of this sentence (not the pic) for poignant thought-provoking aerial footage of the Beached whales


There are a few theories on Why Do Whales Get Stranded? This link will take you there. Warning – this does have sad scenes of the dead and dying whales.

And here’s a time lapse of two of the whales being removed. It is a whale of a job

stranded whale.jpg