Gonna need a bigger boat

A family sailing their yacht off Australia on a whale watching trip got a much closer look than they thought they would when a humpback whale cleared the water on a leap and landed on the boat. Needless to say the aforementioned aquatic mammal caused a fair bit of damage.

Still, my sympathies are with the whale. The people were, after all, intruding on the whale’s domain uninvited. I’m not sure if the whale deliberately damaged the ship, but wouldn’t be surprised – I feel the same way about tourists here in Edinburgh sometimes.

And there is precedent – the whaling ship Essex was one of the most famous wrecks of the 19th century. Thousands of miles out in the Pacific Ocean she was rammed not once but twice by an enraged whale, understandably annoyed at its crew harpooning its fellows. The survivors were shocked as this was not typical whale behaviour, head butting a sailing vessel until it sinks. The resulting tale of the struggle for survival over months in open row boats, complete with sun-stroke, urine drinking and cannibalism was a cause celebre when the few survivors got home to Nantucket, inspiring a certain Herman Melville to write Moby Dick. It was retold in fascinating and gripping terms a couple of years ago in the book In the Heart of the Ocean, an absorbing read. In the meantime the wee fuckers in Iceland have wasted no time in slaughtering a whale. Here’s hoping their island is swallowed by a gigantic volcanic explosion in the near future.