What The Heck Was This Smelly Pink Blob Floating In The Indian Ocean?


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer


It's about to blow! Mark Watkins via Facebook

The sea is dark and full of terror. Well, perhaps not always terror, but certainly mysterious lifeforms, as evidenced by a bizarre purple blob that appeared off the coast of California the other week.

Now, a new bemusing lump of biological matter has appeared near the shores of Bunbury, Western Australia, and it’s safe to say that it caused some fishermen a bit of head-scratching. Smooth, pink, fleshy, and unbearably smelly, this chunky conundrum simply couldn’t be identified – at least at first.


Mark Watkins, a fisherman of 21 years, had clearly never seen anything like it. “When we got closer we realized it had to be a dead whale because of the smell,” he told the West Australian. “Its stomach was full of gas so it was all bloated up.”

The stomachs of whales tend to be full of gas during life, but this is normally kept under control. Floating up to the surface some time after death, the Sun's rays began to hit the whale's abdomen, causing the gases to expand and ultimately forcing the stomach to swell up. On occasion, this can cause the cetacean to explode with dramatic, gore-filled fury.

After drifting away from the carcass, Watkins spotted it beginning to deflate. It looked like a few sharks had turned up and taken a few bites out of the ex-whale, which had caused its gastrointestinal gas and fluids to flood out into the Indian Ocean.

Although the exact species of the whale hasn’t been declared, it’s likely to be a humpback or southern right whale, two of the most common types found off the western Australian coastline.


“Seeing it was great,” Watkins noted on Facebook. “The smell, not so much.” Clearly, the entire experience was quite over-whale-ming (sorry).


A non-deceased humpback whale. Gudkov Andrey/Shutterstock


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