back to article MOULDY DICK: France aims to snatch EXPLODING WHALE crown from U.S.

French explosives experts have been put on high alert as officials consider plans to carry out a controlled detonation of a beached whale. The 15-ton beast washed ashore near Montpelier earlier in the month and quickly turned into a stinking and potentially dangerous mound of rotting horribleness. Dead whales are not just a …

  1. Bronek Kozicki

    no commercial opportunity here

    Whale meat is not sold in Japan for profit, it's actually subsidized (e.g. to schools) to maintain tradition of whaling.

    Yes, I know it's silly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: no commercial opportunity here

      > Whale meat is not sold in Japan for profit

      Yup, definitely not sold. Researched is the word... as in 'researched' out of the ocean onto the dining table.

    2. Sweep

      Re: no commercial opportunity here

      Uhm, no....If it is not for profit, why can you buy imported whale meat in Japan?

      What is silly is that the Japanese pretend that their purely commercial fishery is simply a byproduct of their scientific research. It isn't. That being said I don't really have a problem with small scale commercial whaling of the like carried out by Norway, Iceland etc, it is certainly a more sustainable fishery than cod, for example, and the animal has had a happier life than my bacon sarnie's previous incarnation. It can also be delicious ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: no commercial opportunity here

        agreed. As long as the whale being hunted isn't endangered I haven't got an issue. No different to eating any other form of mammal

    3. Pet Peeve

      Re: no commercial opportunity here

      Thankfully, "research" whaling has finally stopped in Japan this April. The International Court of Justice officially stomped on them and demanded that all permits be revoked, and that Japan honor the 1986 worldwide whaling ban (which Japan is a signed member of). They have agreed to all terms, effective immediately.

      They could someday withdraw from that agreement and start whaling again, but they haven't done that, and it would destroy a lot of their trade from the penalties for doing so.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: no commercial opportunity here

        ... one suspects that this was some time after the Japs discovered that the whales have been gobbling a lot of the radioactive material from Fukushima - but not before the current stock was sold!?

  2. proto-robbie
    Paris Hilton

    Sounds like a job

    for a knight, a suit of armour, and a very long pointy lance.

    Paris, 'cos it's in France too.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like a job

      Looking at that video it is more of a job for a knight of the mechanical variety. Unofrtunately, most weapons mounted on a standard issue police bot will be too weak to pierce through the several inches of blubber. Even a large bore shotgun is helpless when facing 20cm of fat.

      If the whale has fermented enough already sticking a charge or two with a bot may be the only sensible solution as it may be too dangerous for a human to approach on the "belly side". Anything else aside, the fermentation produces not just methane so if this blows "in yer face" it may take a couple of fortnights and quite a lot of soap and rubbing to get rid of the stench.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Sounds like a job

        Its France, just put a sign on it saying "Do not eat, private property of XXX". It'll be gone in the morning.

      2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like a job

        Sounds like a job for a Barrett M82A1. If the whale's belly is full of methane, a tracer round should be interesting. Just stand back a ways.

    2. harmjschoonhoven
      Thumb Up


      Sounds like a job for Joy Reidenberg, professor of anatomy at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. She dissected large animals like stranded whales before.

  3. Steven Davison

    Why can't they tow it into deep water with a few weights on it to sink it, and then let nature do what it would normally do to a dead whale???

    1. smartermind

      Don't be silly that would be too easy and sensible a solution. Why do things the easy way, when you can blow things to Kingdom come?

      1. Danny 14

        or tow it (surely it will float) then torpedo it.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          The whale has now been moved. It was removed by JCB digger and sent of to an abbatoir.

          FYI : Removal by sea was a problem because of sand banks.

      2. Mark 85

        That sounds like a job for Mythbusters....

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      How do you tow fifteen tons of decaying whale? Chances are, if you tied a rope around the tail, you'd just end up ripping the tail off, ditto the fins or any other easy to rope part.

  4. Luiz Abdala


    I concur. Poke some holes in it and drag it to a place where nature can take care of it. The last exploded one didn't quite work well to vehicle owners in the vicinity.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I really hope they use dynamite..

    .. as long as I'm VERY far away when they do it.

    I guess someone like Lewis Page will be able to tell them that it's actually not possible to "fry and vaporise" in one big bang, and therein lies the problem (and -for us outsiders- the humour): the most likely result of blowing it up will be to distribute pieces of already decomposing meat over a VERY large area, which will all happily continue to do what they did before: rot. And smell. It's been done before, by the way, with exactly that result.

    On the plus side, at least the explosion danger will have gone. So, for the sake of the locals I hope they come up with another idea, but my sense of black humour is actually hoping they will indeed make this mistake.

    Does anyone have an idea how it *would* be possible, or have explosives improved?

    1. Richard_L

      Re: I really hope they use dynamite..

      How about using a few chains of those elongated shaped charges that building demolitions teams use to cut through the wide steel i-beams that hold high rise buildings up. I'm sure that a few lines of those laid over the top of the whale would cleave the mighty beast into family sized portions more precisely than traditional method of a giant pile of dynamite dug underneath it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I really hope they use dynamite..

        You mean like thermite... you're 3 day too late.

        1. jayc

          Re: I really hope they use dynamite..

          He means shaped charges ;)

          Thermite/mite would flambé it☺

    2. Stoneshop

      Re: I really hope they use dynamite..

      So, has El Reg's Standards Soviet already determined the explosive force of a decomposing whale, and expressed it in Pepcons and/or Mythbusters Cement Mixer Trucks?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I really hope they use dynamite..

        This being France, any such expression would of course have to be metric, mind, not imperial.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about...

    Just chuck a tarp over it?

  7. Velv

    What ever they decided to do, we want video!

  8. Elmer Phud

    Sell tickets

    Sell tickets to people who think they have a novel idea of distributing smelly whale over the local area.

    Me -- I'd love to try one of them huge Roman crossbow things.

    1. zen1

      Re: Sell tickets

      I would have call dibs on concessions and barf bags!

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Sell tickets

      >I'd love to try one of them huge Roman crossbow things.

      I was going to suggest bows, but I thought that might bring back painful memories....

  9. Daz555

    Sniper rifle?

  10. russell 6
    Thumb Up

    Use of Mouldy Dick in title. Love the play on words. Nuff said.

    1. Irony Deficient

      Nuff said.

      russell 6, I disagree. With surprisingly few changes, Melville’s original text can become positively Lovecraftish:

      A gentle balefulness — a mighty mildness of repose in swiftness, invested the gliding whale carcass. Not the white bull Jupiter swimming away with ravished Europa clinging to his graceful horns; his lovely, leering eyes sideways intent upon the maid; with smooth bewitching fleetness, rippling straight for the nuptial bower in Crete; not Jove, not that great majesty Supreme! did surpass the glorified White Whale as he so undyingly swam.

      On each soft side — coincident with the parted swell, that but once leaving him, then oozed so wide away — on each bright side, the whale shed off enticings. No wonder there had been some among the hunters who namelessly transported and allured by all this serenity, had ventured to assail it; but had fatally found that quietude but the vesture of tornadoes. Yet calm, enticing calm, oh, whale! thou glidest on, to all who for the first time eye thee, no matter how many in that same way thou may’st have bejuggled and destroyed before.

      And thus, through the serene tranquillities of the subtropical sea, among waves whose hand-clappings were suspended by exceeding rapture, Mouldy Dick moved on, still withholding from sight the full terrors of his submerged trunk, entirely hiding the wrenched hideousness of his jaw. But soon the fore part of him slowly rose from the water; for an instant his whole marbleized body formed a high arch, like Virginia’s Natural Bridge, and warningly waving his bannered flukes in the air, the grand god revealed himself, sounded, and went out of sight. Hoveringly halting, and dipping on the wing, the white sea-fowls unwillingly lingered over the agitated pool that he left.

      1. russell 6

        Re: Nuff said.

        Have been sailing off the Cape of Good Hope and Mellville's description of those "bannered flukes" is nigh spot on.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This calls for my patented Scaffold pole gun.

    Hollow sharpened tube to the guts from a distance, cheap and nasty deflation canon.

  12. Richard Scratcher
    Black Helicopters

    Just paint "Rainbow Warrior" on it...

    ...and the DGSE will sneak by and blow it up.

    1. zen1

      Re: Just paint "Rainbow Warrior" on it...

      I dunno about the Rainbow Warrior... In it's day it was a bigger environmental hazard than any dead, bloating whale.

  13. chivo243 Silver badge

    I've seen this cartoon

    It was a Simpson's episode:

    Life imitating art?

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: I've seen this cartoon

      And it was on C4 this evening! Coincidence?

  14. Colin Miller


    Why wasn't he wearing a facemask, as he clearly expected it to squirt everywhere?

    1. /\/\j17

      Re: facemask?

      "Why wasn't he wearing a facemask, as he clearly expected it to squirt everywhere?"

      That's what she said...

  15. Peter Simpson 1

    Getting the angle right...

    Dig a trench along the landward side of said whale, bury your explosives carefully, fire away, and watch the entire whale majestically lift and arc out over the ocean.

    At least, that's the way it would work in theory.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Getting the angle right...

      Eh, he would probably just float up onto shore again.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Another sad indicator of American decline....

    When the Frogs might pass us up in the whale demolition department!

    Mr. President, we cannot allow the development of an exploding whale gap!!!

    (Actually, why don't they bring in something like a Barrett 50 caliber rifle to shoot the ballooning baleen-bearing bomb in the gut, and release the gas that way? Or bring up an armored personnel carrier or a tank and shoot the whale a couple times with a solid armor piercing round? That would certainly do it, and it would be a lot less dangerous than blowing the whale up. Then you carve the whale up and bury it or dump it far out at sea.)

  17. Stevie


    Well, if these mighty beasts of the ocean are liable to explode unexpectedly it sort of explains the grumpy Japanese temperament. No-one is at their best if they are daily expecting to have their teeth blown out while tucking into a Double McMoby With Cheese.

  18. zen1

    Tesla, The Wright Brothers, Einstein & George Thomas Thornton

    I felt sorry for the poor soul who drew the short straw and had to start hacking at the weak points, in hopes of unceremoniously disarming the whale. I went through a very similar situation, except the event I was party to involved a large bull and a chain saw, most of which I've been able to repress, thanks to my therapist.

    However, I feel obligated to point out that if one goes to the video that shows Mr. Thornton's rise to minor deity status, there's one scene, at 2:15 to be exact, where an officer goes into angry mob control mode, and starts warning two senior citizens to disperse. Sad the taser wasn't invented yet... They looked shifty.

    While the one circa 1970 will go down in the anals of history, I can't help but think that france got off lucky, as I distinctly recall an incident in Korea (I think) where they were hauling the carcass of a dead whale through a sea side town, to get it to the local university for study. It didn't quite make it, as the truck got stopped at a stop light and shortly after coming to a stop, it detonated. I can't remember if there was a convertible in the right lane, attempting to turn right or if it was a car with all the windows down, but it took the brunt of the blast. As for the rest of the block, it didn't fare much better. I think we as a specie, don't have a very good relationship with large sea mammals. And I think this is their revenge, or Jihad, against humanity. May God have mercy on all of us...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I was that bloke cutting up a whale..

    ...I'd want a hook with a pole that was about twice as long as the one they gave him.

  20. Petrea Mitchell

    Whale? How about a ship?

    Yes, France may beat us on exploding whales, but Oregon has long since set its explosive sights on much larger beach debris. Put "New Carissa" in your favorite search engine for all the details.

  21. Vociferous

    Drag it out and sink it.

    The best thing to do is to tow it to deep water and sink it. There's lots of animals which are specialized on scavenging dead whales, but they've been studied only in the pacific and northern atlantic -- no one's ever studied a "whale fall" in the mediterranean. So, this is actually a golden opportunity for some real science.

  22. Martin Maloney

    Giving you the Dickens

    Some years ago, a freshly-deceased whale appeared in the Thames. Not wanting that whale meat to go to waste, London's butchers turned it into sausages.

    "It was the beast of Thames, it was the wurst of Thames."

    (So many puns, so little time...)

    1. DanceMan
      Thumb Up

      Re: Giving you the Dickens

      Thanks for that. You made my morning.

  23. Martin Maloney

    Well, it could be true

    Is "MOULDY DICK" an STD?

  24. This post has been deleted by its author


    Launch lunch to Norway?

    Stick some kind of fuse in it's mouth, aim and then light it.

    He presto, a quick delivery service of ready cooked blubberiness straight to the Norwegian dinner tables!

    (icon - probably not safe at this stage)

  26. Graham Hawkins

    I shouldn't have watched the video while eating my sandwiches....

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