1. As you probably know, a whirlpool is one of those whirly, swirly, circular water-thingies – I mean, “a rapidly rotating current of water,” a vortex that occurs when opposing water currents, or a water current and a barrier, meet. (Kind of like “When Titans Clash!”)
2. When you have a really powerful whirlpool, it’s called a “maelstrom.” (I don’t mean when you personally have one; no offence intended.)
3. In 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Nautilus gets sucked into a maelstrom; this doesn’t happen in real life, as real naturally-occurring maelstroms, while they could pose a danger to an individual, could not actually capture and sink a ship. (Sorry, Mr. Verne!) Of course, if it is powerful enough, it can toss the ship off course, perhaps against rocks, thereby damaging or destroying it.
4. Saltstraumen is the most powerful whirlpool in the world. It’s located off of Norway, and it is caused by the tremendously strong tide in the area.
5. Of course, not all whirlpools are powerful or permanent; little eddys that come and go in a stream are also whirlpools. (No offence intended to anyone named Little Eddie.)
6. Sometimes a whirlpool can be caused by very strong winds; these, naturally, are temporary.
7. The whirlpool at Niagara Falls is a popular tourist attraction (if not as popular as the Falls themselves). Honeymooners do need an occasional break, you know.
8. Greek myth (The Odyssey) speaks of the famous whirlpool Charybdis (of “Scylla and” fame). This is presumably a vortex near the Straits of Messina, off of Sicily, which is an interesting whirlpool but hardly the mighty monster of myth.
9. In addition to being a nickname for hot tubs (and, of course, a brand name appliance maker), a whirlpool is also the name of a spiral galaxy some 24 million light years from Earth.
10. Whirlpool is also the name given to at least 3 English-language films, from 1934, 1949 and 1959. The titles are metaphoric; none is the life story of a neglected and ignored eddy who grew up to become first a vortex for the mob and later a mafia maelstrom in his own right.