Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World

Given all the attention I’m giving to the Morgan, it’s a great time to plug this fantastic PBS documentary – which gives a very detailed look at the history of American whaling, what conditions were like on vessels, and also the story of the wreck of the Essex (the tragedy on which the climax of Moby Dick was based).  Occasionally, this is available to stream online (though not at this writing).

The Charles W. Morgan

My tour included visits to the main deck, Captain’s quarters, blubber room (pictured, where barrels of whale oil would have been stored), and the iron tryworks (where oil was rendered from blubber).  It’s hard to imagine being at sea on a ship like this for years at a time.  Short people definitely had an advantage.  The final photo is a shot from the top of the Bunker Hill Monument, where you can see the Morgan and USS Constitution moored at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Charles W. Morgan – Dockside Exhibit

The Charles W. Morgan is the last remaining vessel in the once prolific Yankee whaling fleet.  During her 38th voyage, she is stopping at historic ports in New England, including Boston (via the Charlestown Navy Yard).  The dockside exhibits, all fantastic, include an [to scale] inflatable sperm whale, demonstrations of barrel-making and coppersmith, coloring, sailor tattoos, and lots of history.  The Morgan usually resides in Mystic, CT.

Map and b&w photo by Mystic Seaport

Day 2 @ Shoals

Mary (who helping me as a stellar TA) took me on a hike around the island, and the [14] students arrived at 2:00.  After the usual introductions and walking tour, we took them on an Isles cruise with historical commentary by Dr. Jim Coyle.  A beautiful sunset was beginning when we arrived back at Appledore.