exploding whale day

Nov 12 Architeuthis Chowder for exploding whale day #fantasticdrivel

Wednesday Tuesday is my night to cook dinner. But it is also a weekly opportunity for me to share some fantastic drivel—things you didn’t care you didn’t know—with you, dear reader.

November 12 is “Exploding Whale Day,” commemorating a bizarre story involving a rotting sperm whale carcass, the Oregon Highway Division, and a half-ton of dynamite.

I wanted to celebrate Exploding Whale Day, but I wasn’t about to serve up sperm whale for dinner. I decided instead to prepare something using the sperm whale’s favorite food: the giant squid (genus: Architeuthis). I adapted this recipe for Seafood Chowder, using mostly calamari instead of the other seafood the recipe calls for. The result was delicious, albeit slightly rubbery, as squid usually is. It’s a bit of a stretch to call it “Architeuthis” chowder, since I don’t think there was any giant squid in the calamari I bought at the store, but let’s not quibble over cephalopod taxonomy.

The really interesting stuff is the story of the exploding whale. (click more to find out!)

Nov 12 Architeuthis Chowder for exploding whale day #fantasticdrivel

blasting blubber

the story of the exploding whale

The story is true. On November 12, 1970, the Oregon Highway Division detonated a half-ton of dynamite in an ill-fated attempt to dispose of a rotting sperm whale carcass on the beach near Florence, Oregon. There’s an entire website devoted to the event, TheExplodingWhale.com.

The best way to hear the story is to watch the coverage from the 1970 news broadcast. The full story is contained in this video, starting at 0:43.


the fiesty calamari of the deeps

Sperm whales can dive down deep enough to feed on giant squid—as far as 3 km (9,800 ft) below the surface. They are the only known predator of the architeuthis, and some sperm whales sport battle scars from times they tangled with the tentacular fury of their deep-sea snacks.

piece of sperm whale skin with giant squid sucker scars

piece of sperm whale skin with giant squid sucker scars

An artist envisions the encounter:

sperm whale vs. giant squid

sperm whale vs. giant squid

A less-entertaining (but still pretty cool) video about the first footage of a giant squid:

I pin photos of my Wednesday culinary creations to my Pinterest board, Another Wednesday Dinner. You can see other dishes I’ve made there, but you can only get the backstory right here, on fantasticdrivel. Thanks for reading!

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