Many Australians have a deep love for whales and this week's stranding of a young male humpback at Sydney's Newport Beach perhaps proved it does not matter if they are dead or alive.
But the huge crowds were not drawn by blood lust, rather by a fascination with the surf, the beach and the spectacular wildlife we are so lucky to have.
Over two days, almost everyone there - from the guffawing teenagers to the toddlers perched on shoulders - came away with a souvenir photo and an eye-opening spectacle they will probably never forget.
Every year, many sightseers and residents look out from the New South Wales coast to watch the whales make their way north from the cold Antarctic waters to the warm breeding grounds of the Coral Sea.
As one lady told me, she had brought her grandchildren to see the dead whale to show them the cycle of life and death and to teach them about respecting nature.
On the day the chainsaws came out to carve up the remains, a number of whales could be seen splashing their tales on the horizon.
Those whales were some of the stragglers at the end of the season and some do not survive the long journey. The whale at Newport had simply run out of puff.
A necropsy on the whale's skin and blubber should confirm how it died.
According to marine mammal expert Geoff Ross, from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the whale's thin layer of blubber could mean it was probably malnourished or sick.
As he put it, the young male should have been at the front of the pod, racing to pair up with a female.
Whales that die at sea are normally polished off by sharks, scavengers and microbes, but the recent big swells had washed the carcass into Newport's popular ocean pool.
The high tide later took it out to sea before returning it to the beach, not far from the main entrance, about half a kilometre from where it first appeared.
Mr Ross was one of the people who donned white protective overalls to deal with the whale.
An excavator brought in to move the 40-tonne carcass was no match and a chainsaw crew usually accustomed to lopping trees during bushfires found themselves with a butcher's job.
It didn't take long and in a few hours the wind was filled with a salty, vinegary gas, prompting some people to leave the beach with their hands covering their faces.
The rest of the carcass was sliced into smaller pieces, lifted by the excavator and dropped into a dump truck.
The remains are now in landfill at Lucas Heights, where the bigger pieces could take years to decompose.
For scientists, DNA taken from the carcass could open a few doors to learning more about the whale population and perhaps complete the story of these great mammals many people adore.