A guy named Philip Hoare has a book out called The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea. In it, Hoare describes what it was like to actually MEET a whale!
And it was gross.
Hoare was in a fishing boat, when he came upon a right whale. The writer is overwhelmed by the whale’s stink, which he describes as “somewhere between a cow’s fart and a fishy wharf.” (Maybe this experience will lead Hoare to write another book: The Whale: Hold Your Nose and Paddle Away as Fast as You Can.)
Photo from here.