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William Comstock's Voyage to the Pacific pp. The account of the young Nantucket boys on the waterfront is from Macy p. Macy's earlier There She Slows! A part-owner of the Essex is mentioned in connection with the comet in a letter dated July 16 from a contributor in Plymouth. Walter Folger, of Nantucket, has been here this week, in attendance on the Court, as awitness, andhas here continued his observations on the comet, which had been commenced at home. He brought with him a sextant and a small telescope. I talk about the development of Indian debt servitude on Nantucket in Abram'sEyes pp.

Hector St. John de Crevecoeur described Nantucket as an oil-fertilized sandbank in Letters from an American Farmer p. Peleg Folger's poem is quoted in Obed Macy's History pp. Joseph Sansom wrote about the naming of the town's streets Crosby, p. Walter Folger's comparison of the community to a family is in Crosby p. For a more detailed description of downtown Nantucket, see my Away OffShore pp. According to an article in the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror February 14, , a grand total of sea captains have lived on Orange Street.

Charles Murphey the same man who was on the Dauphin when the Essex boat was discovered wrote the poem about gazing upon the women during a Quaker meeting; it is in his journal of a voyage on the ship Maria, , on microfilm at the NHA. Macy's Scrap-Basket p. The statistics concerning widows and fatherless children appear in Edward Byers's Nation of Nantucket p. For a discussion of he's-at-homes, see my Away Off Shore p. The smell apparently emanated from right-whale oil as opposed to sperm oil; see Clifford Ashley's The Yankee Whaler p.

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Owen Chase in his narrative of the Essex disaster claims that the upperworks of the Essex were entirely overhauled prior to her leaving in the summer of William H. Macy describes ships being coppered in Nantucket Harbor p. On the life span of a whaleship, see In Pursuit of Leviathan by Davis et al. Roger Hambidge, shipwright at Mystic Seaport, spoke to me about the phenomenon of iron sickness inwhaleships and stated that twenty years was about the average life of a ship, a statement corroborated by the statistical analysis in Davis et al. Obed Macy's concerns about the condition of whaleships is in a January entry in his journal.

Davis et al. The description of poor economic times on the mainland is in the New Bedford Mercury June 4. The comings and goings of the Nantucket whaling fleet can he traced in Alexander Starbuck's History of Nantucket pp. William F. William Comstock tells of the whittling code on Nantucket Voyage to the Pacific, p. Joseph San-som tells of how everyone on the island used sea phrases Crosby, p. The green hand Addison Pratt tells of how he was examined by the shipowner and the captain p.

Macy speaks of how the owners and captains judged the men by their eyes and build p.

Stove by a Whale: Owen Chase and the Essex

William Comstock tells of green hands whose ignorance led them to insist on the longest lay possible Voyage to the Pacific, pp. Macy explains how first-time captains were the lowest in the pecking order in finding a crew p. I have used the time frame described by Nickerson to calculate when the Essex was floated over the Nantucket Bar. Pratt provides a detailed description of the loading of a Nantucket whaleship during this period p. Macy tells of how a whaleship was always full, whether it was with provisions or oil pp. It is difficult to determine exactly how many whaleboats the Essex was originally equipped with since Nickerson and Chase seem to dis-.

She had a minimum of two spare hoats; that it wasn't uncommon for a ship of this period to have three spares is indicated by Comstock. Pratt describes taking a packet from Boston to Nantucket p. For a summary discussion of the relative equality enjoyed by blacks on shipboard, see W. Jeffrey Bolster's Blackjacks pp.

James Freeman provides the description of how blacks had replaced Indians as a workforce in the Nantucket whale fishery Crosby, p. Originally this term was applied to a school of whales, and its use by the whalemen is doubtless derived from that source. Whaleships meeting at sea often hove to, and the captains would visit back and forth during the time the ships were in company. At the onset of his voyage, the green hand narrator of William H. Information concerning the Chilicom.

For a description of the division of duties among a ship's officers while weighing anchor, see Richard Henry Dana's Seaman's Friend pp. While Chase claimed it took just two voyages to qualify to be a captain, the evidence suggests that four was the usual minimum number of voyages Stuart Frank, personal communication, Oct.

Clifford Ashley, in The Yankee Whaler, describes the use of a whaler's windlass pp. Reuben Delano, in The Wanderings and Adventures of Reuben Delano, speaks of the dramatic sea change that occurred among the officers once a Nantucket whaleship left the island p. Macy describes the competition among the officers when it came to picking whaleboat crews p. Pratt's comments about blacks being relegated to the forecastle of a Nantucket whaleship is in his Journals pp. Macy describes the seasickness cure common among Nantucketers p.

My thanks to Don Russell, a descendant of Essex captain Daniel Russell, who mentioned to me a family tradition concerning this same cure. According to Ashley, the lookouts positioned themselves inside hoops installed on the fore and main royal-masts chest-high above the crosstrees p. However, at this relatively early period in the fishery, there is no evidence of hoops having been installed on the masts of Nantucket whaleships.

One man was stationed on each, to look out for whales, and relieved every two hours. My discussion of studding sails and the knockdown is based largely on John Harland's invaluable Seamanship in the Age of Sail. According to Harland, the danger of dipping a studding-sail boom into the water even applied to a topgallant studding sail. Darcy Lever's seamanship guide provides a detailed and illustrated description of taking in studding sails pp. Studdingsails particularly topgallant and lower The naval saying concerning squalls is in Harland p.

Harland discusses what happens as a heeling ship approaches the point of no return. All hands were called to reduce sail, as the. My thanks to Chuck Gieg, who shared with me his personal experience of a knockdown on the training ship Albatross in the s the basis for the movie White Squall. Harland discusses the perils of a ship sailing backward pp. Both Ferdinand Gardner and Matthew Joy were from Nantucket families that had moved to Hudson, New York, the improbable location of a Nantucket-spawned whaling port started in the aftermath of the Revolution. My description of a whale hunt is based on many accounts, but primarily those provided by William H.

My thanks to Mary K. Bercaw for making the handbook available to me. Ansel speaks of the roles of the different oarsmen p. Ansel relates Charles Beetle's account of a novice boatsteerer fainting at the prospect of harpooning a whale p. According to Clifford Ashley, who shipped out on a whaling voyage in the early twentieth century, sperm whales were capable of dragging. Francis Olmsted describes the use of a spade to cripple a fleeing sperm whale p.

The lance had a line attached to the end of it, enabling the mate to retrieve it after every throw Ashley, p. Caldwell et al. Enoch Cloud's horrified response to the death of a whale occurred during a voyage in the s and is in Enoch's Voyage p. Ansel speaks of dead whales being towed back to the ship headfirst p.

In his History, Obed Macy provides a step-by-step description of cutting up including the removal of the head and boiling a whale pp. Although whalemen would soon be pioneering the folk art of scrimshaw by carving designs on the teeth of sperm whales, it is highly unlikely that the crew of the Essex in were saving their whales' teeth Stuart Frank, personal communication, July For a discussion of the differences in shipboard fare served to those in the cabin and the forecastle, see Sandra Oliver's Saltwater Foodways pp.

Oliver provides the information concerning the average caloric intake of a sailor in the nineteenth century p. Moses Morrell was the green hand who lamented his gradual starvation aboard a Nantucket whaleship; his journal is at the NHA. If Pollard appears to have overreacted to his. David Porter tells of rounding the Horn in his Journal p. Although the Beaver was the first Nantucket whaleship to enter the Pacific, the Emilia, a British ship captained by James Shield, was the first whaler to round the Horn in Slevin, p. Obed Macy's mention of the need for a new whaling ground was recorded on September 28, ; his journal also reveals that he followed the political situation in South America closely.

Charles Nordhoff refers to the old whalemen's delight in trying out p. The events that occurred on Nantucket in December are from Obed Macy's journal.


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For an account of the discovery of the Offshore Ground, see Stackpole pp. Francis Olmsted's description of the delights of Atacames pp. Henry Dewitt, has appeared in print. Macy records the unique pronunciation of Galapagos p. Colnett's account of his explorations in the Pacific include a diagram of how to cut up a sperm whale that Obed Macy would use in his History; Colnett describes the Galapagos as a sperm-whale nursery A Voyage to Whitehead cites a description made by A. Berzin of a male approaching a female from underneath p.

Shipwreck of the Whale-ship Essex (FULL Audiobook)

For an exhaustive description of how leaks were repaired on wooden vessels, see Harland pp. For an account of the whalers' activities in the western Pacific in the early nineteenth century, see Stackpole's Sea-Hunters pp. William Comstock's description of a mate taking over the harpoon from his hoatsteerer is in Voyage to the Pacific pp. Nickerson's narrative claims that Chase was at the steering oar-not, as Chase claims, at the bow with the harpoon in his hand-during their last two attempts to fasten to whales.

In this instance I have decided to trust Chase's account, although the possibility exists that he was, in fact, at the steering oar and that the ghostwriter introduced an error. Other whalemen, however, thought differently. An old Nantucket captain in William H. My description of how the Essex was constructed is based on several sources. I also relied on Reginald Hegarty's Birth of a Whaleship.

Owen Chase

My thanks to Professor Ted Ducas of the Physics Department at Wellesley College for speaking to me about the physics of whales in general and the wreck of the Essex in particular. My thanks also to Peter Smith, a naval architect at Hinckley Yachts, who calculated the potential forces involved in a collision between an ton whale and a ton ship, and the strength of a whaleship's construction personal communications, December 18 and 23, Concerning whaleboats in the early nineteenth century, Erik Ronnberg, Jr.

Those sources that do show whaleboats under sail indicate that the sprit rig was most favored and. As Ronnberg also points out, these early boats were of clinker or lapstrake construction, not the batten-seam construction that typified boats in later years. Instead of being white as were almost all whaleboats by the middle of the nineteenth century , the Essex boats were probably quite colorful-perhaps dark blue and red, the color of the ship's flag; see Ansel p.

Stove by a Whale: Owen Chase and the Essex | Whaling Era | Whale, Stove, American history

There was also a disturbing racial aspect to the rumors of cannibalism that sailors swapped in the forecastles of whaleships. Suggesting that this was accepted as a fact among Nantucket whalemen was the experience of Captain Benjamin Worth off the coast of New Zealand in The officers of the Essex were between voyages when the stories about the peaceful state of the natives of Nukahivah appeared in the New Bedford Mercury April 28, Ernest Dodge in Islands and Empires speaks of the gigantic royal mission chapel in Tahiti, built in , the same year the Essex left Nantucket p.

Such was not, apparently, the case when it came to the landmasses of the world. William Comstock recounts an incident that reveals just how geographically ignorant a Nantucketer could be. If a whaleman could be this vague about an island with which Nantucket had always had a close commercial connection, it is little wonder that the men of the Essex were without any information concerning the islands of the Central Pacific. For a detailed drawing of the launch Captain Bligh and his men sailed to the island of Timor, see A. Leach in Survival Psychology discusses the differences between authoritarian and social leaders p.

John Leach in Survival Psychology writes about the importance family connections take on during a disaster p. See Ronnberg's To Build a Whaleboat for an excellent analysis of the difficulties of sailing an early-nineteenth-century whaleboat pp. I have frequently noted this in a clinker-built tender. As the whale. Suggesting that this was accepted as a fact among Nan tucket whalemen was the experience of Captain Benjamin Worth off the coast of New Zealand in If awhaleman could be this vague about an island with which Nantucket had always had a close commercial connection, it is little wonder that the men of the Essex were without any information concerning the islands of the Central Pacific.

Thomas Heffernanhas identified at least seven whaleships that were in the neighborhood of the Essex at the sinking: three from Nantucket the Governor Strong, the Thomas, and the Globe ; three from New Bedford the Balaena, the Persia, the Golconda ; and one from England the Coquette p. For information on hardtack, see Sandra Oliver's Saltwater Food-ways p. The nutritional content of the hardtack rations and Galapagos tortoises, as well as the estimate of how much weight the men would lose over the course of sixty days, were determined with the help of Beth Tornovish and Dr. Timothy Lepore on Nantucket.


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  4. Statistics relating to the body's water needs come from Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, by Eleanor Whitney et al. As a point of comparison, Captain Bligh set his men's initial daily rations at one ounce of bread as opposed to six ounces for the men of the Essex and a quarter pint compared to ahalfpint ofwater Bounty's Launch, p. My discussion of navigation is based in large part on J. Hewson's A History of the Practice of Navigation, especially his chapter on navigation by latitude and dead reckoning pp.

    Francis Olmsted. Marine chronometers in were still handmade, costly and not always reliable. On Captain Bligh's remarkable feat of navigation in an open boat, see Bounty's Launch pp. In his History Obed Macy tells how the crew of the Union tied their two whaleboats together p. In Survive the Savage Sea, Dougal Robertson recounts how his wooden sailing yacht was rammed repeatedly and sunk by several killer whales. The description of Chase's dissection of a tortoise is based, in parr. In the 19th century, it was more precisely denned as blowing at a speed of between 28 and 55 nautical miles per hour.

    Richard Hub-bard's Boater's Bowditch: The Small Craft American Practical Navigator includes a table that puts the theoretical maximum of waves with unlimited fetch in Force 9 knots at40feet p. William Van Dorn's Oceanography and Seamanship also includes a useful table thai indicates the rate of sea state growth as a function of wind speed and duration p. The best accounts of the sufferings of the people aboard the Medusa raft are from two of the survivors, J.

    My description of gooseneck barnacles is based on information provided by James Carlton, Director of the Williams-Mystic Program at Mystic Seaport personal communication, October My thanks to James McKenna on the faculty of the Williams-Mystic Program for providing me with detailed information on why some portions of the Pacific support less life than others personal communication, March 23, Willits Ansel, in The Whaleboat, tells how to clench a nail pp.

    For an excellent summary of the effects of starvation on disaster victims, see John Leach's Survival Psychology pp. Throughout their narratives, Chase and Nickerson occasionally contradict themselves concerning the amount of water and, especially, bread rations. In this and other chapters I have assumed that the downward progression of their daily rations of bread was from six ounces to three ounces and, finally after leaving Henderson Island , to one and a half ounces, while the daily water ration remained at half a pint.

    Bligh's Bad Language pp. To this day, Pitcairners rely on miro and tau. From to , a team of scientists under the aegis of the Sir Peter Scott Commemorative Expedition to the Pitcairn Islands se: up abase camp on the north heach of Henderson Island-almost exacdv where the Essex survivors landed more than years earlier. The scientists flew to Tahiti, then sailed the two thousand miles to Henderscc on a chartered yacht. Supplies of food and water were shipped in every three months from Auckland, New Zealand. Fosberg pp. The behavior between the man-of-war hawks and tropic birds can still be observe!

    See ]. Vickery and M. Althoagr a great frigatebird is another name for a man-of-war hawk, a masked boobie is a different species from a tropic bird, the kind of bird Nickerson claimed to have seen on Henderson. Benton and T. My account of human habitation on Henderson is indebte: Spencer and T. Polynesian settlement required long ocean voyages into prevailing trade winds and unknown waters.

    The sailors on these. Surviving sailors of these discovery voyages and, thus, the first settlers may have been those able to use and store food energy efficiently, perhaps via thrifty-genotype mechanisms, p. He examines how this narrative influenced Herman Melville and explores the many points of contact between the remaining crew of the Essex and Melville while Melville was crew on the Acushnet.

    itoqocorekoc.tk Heffernan also inlcudes the notations that Melville made in his copy of Chase's narrative, and he includes the account of the saga by the captain of the Essex, George Pollard. This volume is part textual criticism and part historical examination. In addition to detailing the influence and effects on Herman Melville and his works, such as Moby Dick, Typee, and Billy Budd, Heffernan explores the extant source material on the Essex, which include many letters written by the ships involved in the rescue.

    In the course of the book, Heffernan also describes Nantucket and its whaling industry in the first few decades of the 19th century. There is a description of how the wars of liberation in Chile and Peru affected U. There are also detailed descriptions of the state of Pacific navigation and the importance of various islands as stopping points to the Nantucket and New Bedford whalers.

    This was a very enjoyable and informative book which kept me interested and engaged throughout. For me the only question left unanswered is what could possibly have made a whale attack a ship. May 17, Jenny rated it really liked it Shelves: whaling , non-fiction. Great book! Many captains took their wives with them on expeditions. There were even women captains! Mar 15, Karen rated it really liked it Shelves: nautical.

    After reading Nataniel Philbrick's excellent account of the sinking of the whale ship Essex I was hungry for more info on the event. This was one of the accounts he references.

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    It's not an easy read but still provides not only a look at the events but also the mindset of a seaman at that time and alos the "English " spoken at that time. Sep 08, Andrew rated it liked it. The narrative itself was interesting as it was told from an actual survivor only months after the incident. The rest of the story as told by the author was less imaginative. I didn't expect so much detail about how the story made its way through the 19th century world and it was interesting to see how some parts of the story or other changed depending on the source.

    Feb 15, Mtravis rated it it was ok.

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    The republished narration of the story of the sinking of the Essex by Owen Chase is pretty neat. As for the rest of the book, Nathaniel Philbrick wrote a similar and much better book, In the Heart of the Sea, ten years after Heffernan, using more resources and writing in a more engaging style. Jul 07, Benji Cossa rated it really liked it. And also it was cool. Tim Evanson rated it it was amazing Aug 29, Sean Couch rated it liked it Oct 31, Glenn rated it really liked it Dec 25, J rated it really liked it Sep 03, Francesca rated it it was amazing Jun 01, Bill Lanza rated it really liked it Aug 11, Kate rated it it was amazing Dec 30, Roger McKeon rated it it was amazing Feb 28, Chris Lytle rated it really liked it Oct 18, Chris rated it liked it Mar 04, Mark rated it it was amazing Oct 10, George Conk rated it it was amazing May 19, Heidi Brown Lynn rated it it was amazing May 21, Jill Sparrow rated it really liked it May 26, LJB rated it really liked it Dec 03, Elizabeth rated it liked it Jan 25, Bill rated it really liked it Mar 24, Kyle DeCicco-carey rated it it was amazing Sep 25, Deedie Gustavson rated it really liked it Feb 11, Nmcnulty rated it really liked it Jan 03,