The revenge of an angry whale. The real story of Moby dick

Happy “Essex”

Novel by the American writer Herman Melville “Moby dick or the White whale”, written over a half century ago, remains popular. The story of the crew of the whaling ship “Pachod”, the captain is obsessed with revenge huge white whales, killer whalers, fascinates the readers and viewers of numerous kinoekrany.

Events that formed the basis of the novel unfolds over three decades prior to his writing. But captain George Pollard, who became the prototype of captain Ahab, managed to survive.

12 Aug 1819 from the harbour of the island of Nantucket, came on the whaling ship Essex. The crew had planned for the next two and a half years to fish off the West coast of South America.

The Essex was an old ship, but his campaigns were profitable, for that the ship the nickname “lucky”. Hunt whales in August, 1819, went a young crew: captain George Pollard was 29 years old, first mate Owen chase 23 years old, and the youngest member of the crew was the young Thomas Nickerson, who was only 14 years old. The entire crew consisted of 21 people.

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Hike to the “Sea land”

The problems started two days after leaving the port, when the Essex was hit in the barrage. The ship was battered, but the captain decided to go further, without spending time on repairs.

By December of 1819 the Essex reached Cape horn, where stuck for five weeks due to stormy weather. Among the crew there was talk of trouble in the beginning of the campaign are a bad sign. However, captain Pollard was able to repay the discontent among the crew.

In the end, the “Essex” came safely to the fishing area and continues to talk about the possible disasters left behind. The fishing went well, but the resources available in the district clearly came to an end. At this point, “Essex” met another whaling ship, whose crew spoke about the new open area for a catch, known as “Sea land”. Captain Pollard thought the area was located in the South Pacific ocean, at a distance of over 4500 km from where they were. In addition, according to rumors, the local Islands were inhabited by savage cannibals.

In the end, the captain of the Essex decides that the game is worth the candle, and goes to the “Sea land.” But before Pollard comes into the Ecuadorian port of Atacames, to restock water and provisions. Here the vessel ran sailor Henry DeWitt.

A bad joke of a sailor Chapple

Pollard, however, was more concerned about not missing sailor, and the danger to remain without food. So he decided to go to the Galapagos Islands to catch some of the giant turtles. It was common practice at the time — the turtles could live on the ship without food and water for a year, making them an ideal source of meat supplies.

The sailors got more than 300 turtles, while on the island, Charles did not happen unpleasant incident. While the crew hunted, sailor Thomas Chapple decided to light a fire in the woods with the purpose to make fun of the rest of the sailors. However, just at this time had the peak of the drought, and soon the fire got out of control and quickly surrounded the hunters. The crew barely broke through to the “Essex” and was forced to urgently leave, and the island burned to the ground.

In November 1820, the Essex had reached the fishing area. The early days were unsuccessful, and on 16 November, the bottom of one of the whaling ships with the whalers shot a whale. The sailors were not injured, but the boat was damaged beyond repair.

The ship began to rise again tension, and dissatisfaction now began to show not only the sailors, but the first mate chase. Despite this, the fishing continued.

Illustration for an early edition of the book “Moby dick or the White whale” Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org

The giant goes to RAM

On the morning of 20 November 1820 the team saw in the sea a fountain and on the three remaining whaling ships set off in pursuit.

The boat commanded by the first mate chase, managed to harpoon the whale, but the damaged whaleboat, and the whalers had to cut the rope of the harpoon to return to the “Essex” for urgent repairs.

While chase was busy repairing, Pollard along with the other part of the crew managed to harpoon another whale, which dragged the whaling ships from the Essex.

Those who remained on the ship, suddenly noticed a very large whale that appeared near the “Essex”. First, he lay motionless on the water surface head to the ship, and then began to move towards the ship, picking up speed podnyavshimi small movements. The whale rammed the Essex and went under it, macrinae ship. Then the whale surfaced on the starboard side and located along the ship, head to the nose and tail aft.

After the first attack, the whale rushed the second, pointing his huge head right in the bow of the vessel. He broke his nose, dropping the ship back. Aggressive then the whale disappeared.

This attack is regarded as the first reliably confirmed case of attack of a whale on a whaling ship.

Illustration for an early edition of the book “Moby dick or the White whale” Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org

Three boats in the middle of the ocean

The Essex was doomed. Team rush began to overwhelm the property and provisions on a refurbished whale-boat. To distress the ship was approached by two boats, previously pursuing the whale. Captain Pollard, saw what had happened, was in an extremely depressed state. After all, going to this remote district was his idea, and now because of this they ended up in a catastrophic situation — without a ship, on three whaling ships not intended for Maritime navigation, thousands of miles from the nearest settlements.

The Essex was gone to the bottom. Three boats were 20 sailors managed to overload the ship with about 270 kilograms of biscuits, a few turtles and 750 gallons of water and a musket, some gunpowder, about two pounds of boat nails and other tools.

This would be sufficient if land was nearby, but the nearest of the Islands was about 2000 kilometers. In addition, among the sailors began again, odds are against the intention of the captain to go to nearby Islands, acted as first mate chase and sailors. They believed that on the Islands there is a risk to fall into the hands of cannibals.

This time Pollard did not dare to argue and gave in. It was decided to reach the coast of South America, which, because of the peculiarities of the winds in the area, it was necessary in total to walk about 5,000 kilometers.

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The island is little hope

Erecting on their boats semblance of masts and sails, and with planks raising the height of the sides to protect from the waves, the whalers went on the road.

The provisions that were on the boats were damaged by the sea water that got inside during strong storms. Saturated salt water products still ate, but it only increased the thirst that in the conditions of a limited supply of fresh water was becoming an insurmountable problem.

Suffering from thirst, the sailors were forced to constantly repair the whaling ships.

After a month of travelling, tormented with hunger, thirst and the scorching sun, with whaling the Essex had reached the uninhabited island of Henderson, included in the archipelago Pitcairn.

Here they were able to find a source of fresh water. As for the food, then on the island were birds, eggs and crabs. However, just a week of their stay, two dozen exhausted by hunger men seriously reduced the supply of what can be eaten on this piece of land.

And again the question arose: what to do next? The majority decided that we cannot stay and must go. However, three crew members — Thomas Chapple, Seth weeks and William Wright — decided to stay on the island, believing that so they will have more chances for salvation. The future showed that this trio did not the worst choice.

“In the heart of the sea” from the film

Jung almost got eaten a few hours before rescue

26 Dec 1820, three boats sailed in the direction of Easter island. Stocks produced at Henderson, very quickly came to an end, and the incessant wind drove them past the target. In the end, it was decided to try to reach the island of Mas-a-Tierra, included in the archipelago of Juan Fernandez. It was on this island were planted, the prototype of Robinson Crusoe, a Scottish sailor, Alexander Selkirk, who lived on it 4 years and 4 months in solitude.

But to reach this island for the crew of the Essex was an unrealistic goal. Began the most terrible part of their misadventures. 10 Jan 1821 from hunger and thirst died the second mate, Matthew joy. His body was sewn up in a bag made out of his clothes, tied the cargo and sent to the bottom of the ocean.

In the night of 12 January, during a heavy squall of boats scattered on the big distance, and whale-boat, where he was a senior first mate Owen chase, became separated from the others.

In this boat, in addition to chase, only four remain: the steering Benjamin Lawrence, the sailors Isaac Cole and Richard Peterson , and young Thomas Nickerson. January 18, unable to endure the hardships, died, Richard Peterson. He, like Matthew Gioia, buried in the sea.

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In early February, the boat chase is not to have any food. The sailors died. 8 February was Isaac Cole. But this time the body was thrown overboard — chase invited his companions to eat the deceased. Moral anguish did not last long, and soon all three of them devoured human flesh. Such power lasted another week, but then the hunger began to torment the still-living.

On the morning of 18 Feb Jung Nickerson said he was ready to die. Chase and Lawrence, however, decided not to rush the natural process. As it turned out, they didn’t take another a sin is absolutely correct — a few hours they were picked up by the British whaler Indian. After a week they were taken to the Chilean port of Valparaiso, where three of the survivors have given all necessary assistance.

The worst of the lot

In the remaining two boats to the stock of provisions ran out, respectively, 14 and 21 Jan. In late January, one by one dead three black engine — Lawson Thomas, Charles shorter and Iseya Shepard. All three bodies were eaten alive. 28 Jan dead another black sailor Samuel Reid, sailed in a whaleboat captain Pollard. The following night the remaining two boats lost each other in the darkness of night. The whaleboat, in which were the Lunch Hendricks, Joseph West and William bond, was gone forever. It is believed that they still have not managed to reach land.

“In the heart of the sea”. Still from the film

In the captain’s boat ate the body of Samuel reed, but by the beginning of February the problem of food again demanded permission. Alive was four, captain George Pollard and sailors Charles Ramsdell, Barzillai ray and Owen coffin.

On 1 February it was decided to draw lots to decide who will sacrifice himself, becoming food for others. The lot fell on 17-year-old Owen Coffin, cousin of captain. The second draw indicated that to kill the Coffin will be Charles Ramsdell. Coffin was shot with a gun, whereupon three of the sailors began to eat.

To choose a new victim did not have — 11 Feb died Barzillai ray. Eating the body and this poor, survivors of the captain and the sailor began to glance at each other, wondering which of them would be alone. However, on 23 February 1821 they came across a whaler “Dauphin”. 17 March, Pollard and Ramsdell was taken to Valparaiso.

“In the heart of the sea”. Still from the film

The captain of the Essex ended the life of a night watchman

After the survivors told about his three companions remaining on the island of Henderson, went the American frigate “Constellation”. 5 APR 1821, hungry, weary, but living people took on Board an American ship.

Eight surviving sailors returned to Nantucket. A terrible story that happened to them, did not change their way of life — a few months later they went out again into the sea.

But captain Pollard in his profession was a monstrous failure. Coming to Providence in early 1822 on the whaling ship “Two brothers”, it crashed again. The crew was saved, but Pollard was on a merchant ship, which also crashed.

Back home, Pollard was going to take command of a new ship “Jonah”, but his owner after the next crash, captain loser refused his services.

Pollard retired and began working as a night watchman. Until the end of his 20 days of November, he had locked himself in his room and alone commemorated their fallen comrades with “Essex”.

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