Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 19, 1820

January 19, 1820 - Just obtained the first sounding since we left Boston, in 65 fathoms of water, off cape Helena.  Three vessels are now in sight.  Two of them appear like men-of-war and the third is a Brig.  Whether friends or foes we know not: but we are always gratified to see a sail, and when one appear we never fail to think of home. - P.M.  A huge spermaceti whale has just appeared and approached very near our Brig.  His head seemed to be covered in part with sea-shells.  After elevating the upper part of his head and monstrous back above the surface of the water repeatedly, and through the large orifices on the back part of the head, blowing up the briny spray, he descended and passed our stern, and after rising again to the surface, tossed his broad tail high into the air, and went down again to the chambers of the deep, thus he obeys the voice of God. - The maneuvering of the three vessels indicate that they are whalemen, probably English.

1 comment:

  1. I think the term "men-of-war" generally refers to ships of the British navy. If so, this means that after only a few years after the War of 1812, the company wasn't sure if the ships were friendly. Also, the description of the whale sitings was so detailed that I felt like I was right there with them.