On June 30th of this year, as Fourth of July revelers began flocking to Los Angeles’s Dockweiler State Beach, another guest showed up, too. It was the decomposing carcass of Wally the whale, formerly famous for blasting rainbow-tinted spray from her blowhole. At this point, onsniffers told NBC Los Angeles, “the smell was pretty awful.”

No big deal. Authorities towed Wally’s body back out to sea, and left her to decompose naturally. Perhaps she would take part in a whale fall, the life-renewing process through which a dead whale becomes the foundation for new, thriving communities of undersea creatures.

Or not! She was soon spotted near the beach at San Pedro. She got another tow, and fishermen later saw sharks snacking on her out near the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

A few days later, Wally returned to shore—this time to Newport Beach, where lifeguards spent an entire day yanking her back out to sea. They did the same thing the following day, after a southerly wind brought her back.

Next she hit up Dana Point, where Harbor Patrol intercepted her before she got to shore. Then on to San Clemente State Beach. Finally, on Sunday, she touched down at Grandview Beach in Encinitas. Attempts to bulldoze her back into the water failed when her weight popped two of the vehicle’s tires.

Defeated, the National Marine Fisheries gave permission for the whale to be cut up and transported to a San Diego landfill, 10 News reports. Dead Whale Hot Potato is a game no one really wins.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.