A Western Australian fisherman came across a large alien orb floating in the waters of the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Australia. But what seemed like something out of the world from a distance was later revealed to be actually a bloated carcass of a whale.
Mark Watkins, the fisherman, noticed the “alien orb” from 30 miles southwest of Bunbury, Australia on Wednesday. He went fishing with his dad, but little did he expect such an encounter.
Watkins said that when he first spotted the object, he thought it was either another boat or some kind of balloon floating in the water, but when he went closer to it for a better look, it gave off a pungent smell that helped him identify it as the carcass of a whale.
“When we got closer we realized it had to be a dead whale because of the smell,” Watkins told the West Australian. “It‘s stomach was full of gas so it was all bloated up.”
According to a report by the News AU, he saw sharks around the spot but they appeared to be not too interested in the rotting animal. The species of the whale could not be discerned immediately. But based on the texture of its belly, it appeared to be a humpback or southern right whale.
In 2014, marine biologist David Thaler told National Geographic that when the internal organs and the stomach contents of a dead whale decompose it starts releasing a gas, which gets trapped inside the body that gets bloated up as a result.
“Imagine a jar of bacon grease that you leave out in the sun for weeks. Now imagine that odor is so potent that it clings to everything you own. Decomposing whale is one of the worst smells in the world,” Thaler said.
If jostled the carcass can explode, discharging whale guts and emitting a strong pungent smell. According to Thaler, it is best to bury the carcass and allow it decompose in the event of a beaching.