Yesterday a whale launched itself at a South African couple's yacht, breaking off the mast and leaving behind a mess of blubber and skin. At the time, it was unclear what might have caused the whale to lose its mind and act out in such a hostile manner, especially at such great cost to its own skin. But now, employees of a nearby boat company are saying the whale was provoked.
“They said the yacht kept coming to the whale,” Richard Smith, manager of Waterfront Boat Company. “Speeding straight at it and annoying it.”
But that's absurd, you say to yourself. Why would you taunt the largest mammal known to man? Because it has no arms? Because it's fat? That is (A) stupid, (B) cruel, and (C) weird. Or is it weird? Actually, it seems whale harassment is a bigger phenomenon than we realized.
For instance, today in an unrelated incident in Alaska, a man named Kevin B. Carle was arrested for ramming a whale with his speedboat. For the second time. The first time was in April of 2008.
That spring day, he was carrying employees to a job site in Trocadero Bay when he saw a humpback whale. He veered the boat off its course, aimed at the whale and struck the whale with the boat, according to the plea agreement.
Then on Sept. 12, 2008, Carle was operating the boat on a run between Dall Island and Craig when he saw a whale near Breezy Bay, the documents say.
"Carle turned the boat off course and drove the boat directly toward a humpback whale at a high rate of speed," say the plea documents. "Just as the whale started to dive, Carle knowingly and intentionally hit the whale broadside with the boat."
It was like he couldn't help himself. Is it possible that Ahab Syndrome is an actual thing?