Sunday, November 20, 2011

Payback, Whale Style...!

We just keep on messing and messing with Mother Nature, until She finally gets a little payback!

This was the case here. I'd be willing to bet that none of these survivors ever went whaling again!

Nov 20, 1820:
American vessel sunk by sperm whale

The American whaler Essex, which hailed from Nantucket, Massachusetts, is attacked by an 80-ton sperm whale 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America.

The 238-ton Essex was in pursuit of sperm whales, specifically the precious oil and bone that could be derived from them, when an enraged bull whale rammed the ship twice and capsized the vessel. The 20 crew members escaped in three open boats, but only five of the men survived the harrowing 83-day journey to the coastal waters of South America, where they were picked up by other ships. Most of the crew resorted to cannibalism during the long journey, and at one point men on one of the long boats drew straws to determine which of the men would be shot in order to provide sustenance for the others. Three other men who had been left on a desolate Pacific island were saved later.

The first capture of a sperm whale by an American vessel was in 1711, marking the birth of an important American industry that commanded a fleet of more than 700 ships by the mid 18th century. Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick (1851) was inspired in part by the story of the Essex.

Whaling has never been a pretty business, and the old ways of taking and dressing whales bloody and brutal at best. I'm sure there was more than just one case of a big whale attacking and sinking a ship.

One thing about it...these sailors paid a very dear price for their part in this misadventure!

Coffee on the patio this morning. I hope it's going to be a little rainy this morning!


The Unusual Farmchick said...

I'll be the first to admit I am woos when it comes to the open waters. I agree 100% man has lost respect for the power of Mother Nature and this is an example of her reminder. Sorry I have not been by to visit in awhile. Hope the coffee pot has at least one more hot cup for this tardy guest. ;) Always do enjoy the topics.

HermitJim said...

Hey Farmchick...
No matter how long you've been gone, I'm always glad to see you and there will always be a spot for ya at the patio table!

Sooner or later, man will get the message that Nature will push back!

My friend, I sure appreciate the visit this morning!

Ben in Texas said...

Payback is hell Huh? :-) I'm surprised we don't read about more ships having been sunk by whales.
Other that the blubber melted down for oil. What happens to the meat of a Whale? Is it eatable?

Sixbears said...

The tale of the Essex is pretty horrific. Ironically, it's the fear of landing on cannibal islands that caused them to take the long way home -thus causing their own cannibalism.

My wife's family were Nantucket whalers back in the day.

Momlady said...

Whaling is still going the Japanese. Too bad a whale can't sink one of their ships.

Jacked Up Glock Mom said...

I think it goes to show everyone just how "little" we really are. That there are bigger things out there besides us. I watch the show Whale Wars, and like Momlady, I would love to see one sink a Japanese ship...

JoJo said...

That was a horrible way to die. PBS did a special on the story a few years ago.

It looks as though it is going to be a beautiful day here. But I know you still need lots of rain in TX. hope you get it.

HermitJim said...

Hey Ben...
I'm pretty sure that whale meat is good to eat. At least, I would think so!

Of course, the oil was the biggest industry of the day!

I'll do a little research on the whale meat and let you know!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

Hey Sixbears...
Looks like the Fates were certainly working against them that time!

Interesting that your wife's family was in the business, but I would imagine that was one of the leading employers of the era, at least on the eastern coast!

Scary way to make a living!

Thanks for dropping in this morning!

Hey Momlady...
So many people are trying to convince the Japanese to give up whaling, to no avail!

There must still be a lot of money in it. That seems to be the driving force behind so many industries now always!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey Glock Mom...
Man just insist on trying to profit off of the killing of other species.

Killing for food is one thing, but to kill a creature for profit is so uncalled for!

Almost caused the demise of the American Bison!

Thanks for coming by this morning, my friend!

Hey JoJo...
I'm sure that most of the men accepted the risk before they ventured out! Still, like you say, to die in that fashion was not pleasant!

The weather? At 10:30 this's almost 80 degrees!

So much for our Winter! Maybe some rain later, though!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!