Marine experts believe the roughly 40,000-pound whale was struck by a ship, and then washed up on the sand just north of Paradise Cove. After several days in the elements, the carcass is definitely making a stink.
Despite the smell, the whale has attracted a steady stream of visitors, some snapping photos, others bagging souvenirs.
"It's just fascinating to see, you know, the blowhole and the strength to it and the colors and patterns, what a majestic beast," said Nita Larronde of New Mexico.
Some local surfers are worried that the decomposing whale will become a magnet for sharks.
"It's a problem for everybody and anybody who surfs within a half mile of here," said Mike Lansbury, a local surfer. "Get a dump truck down here, get some chainsaws and cut it up and truck it out."
The problem is that no government agency is willing to remove the whale. State parks officials say it is on L.A. County property, but the county says it is on private property.
And so the whale sits, withering away in the sun, pounded by the surf. The sight brought tears to the eyes of one woman who dropped off red roses and paid her respects.
"I don't think that the whale is a problem," she said. "I think the whale is a being washed up on the shore. We're all family."