Monday, August 16, 2010


As Dunncle Sam noted in one of his insightful comments about using smaller animals as bait to attract larger animals which you can cut open and crawl inside to survive a storm in the wild, "whales are the 'white whale' of any COACISSWer." Their massive chest cavity, protective layer of blubber, and structural stability make them nature's greatest gift to the stranded survivalist. I suspect that even after the storm abates and the singing of birds can be heard in the trees, one would be tempted to wile away a few more hours inside the noble beast. However, like most truly great things, whales are elusive.

Hunting one down with merely the knife and floaties I bring on every expedition is a daunting task indeed. Whales are nearly impossible to catch in their own habitat. Though we are both mammals, their swimming ability is far more advanced than ours. Many times I've spotted a whale and leapt into the ocean only to lose it in the ensuing chase.

Thus, the primary way a whale is useful to a survivalist is if it's already beached. Whales generally perish in prolonged battles with giant squid (see below for a helpful illustration tattooed on some dude's arm) and sometimes wash up on land in the turbulent hours preceding a storm. But Poseidon is fickle. I urge you not to spend your final minutes 'neath the darkening sky waiting for him to deliver you a whale. Pursue a land beast, but keep an eye to the sea. Hope is the survivalist's most powerful tool.

Tattoo by Luca Natalini


  1. Scenes from Reno 911!: Miami come to mind. After exhaustive research on the topic, I found a similar discussion on the Discovery Channels Myth Busters Forum titled Can a Man live inside a whale? Great reading really...keep up the good work Max, looking forward to seeing some field work

  2. A whale would truely be a great find for a poor lost soul to weather a storm in. Better yet, what a Godsend for a party of people in a Donner Party like situation. So roomy. The Donner kids could gather driftwood to use for a fire as well as whittling to pass time and crafting inimitable furniture items. Where were all the whales on Donner Pass? Couldn't they have found some whale-fish in Donner Lake? Or at least some land mamals. Would have been alot of squirrels for 32 people....

  3. If you have a whale to live in, I say: "Why bother leaving the wild?"