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happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)

Abby Sale 20 Aug 05 - 08:39 AM
Susanne (skw) 21 Aug 05 - 04:53 PM
curmudgeon 21 Aug 05 - 05:19 PM
Le Scaramouche 21 Aug 05 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Ron Davies 21 Aug 05 - 10:34 PM
GUEST,paddymac - cookieless 21 Aug 05 - 10:37 PM
Amos 22 Aug 05 - 12:32 AM
Peace 22 Aug 05 - 12:55 AM
Susanne (skw) 22 Aug 05 - 06:02 PM
Paul Burke 23 Aug 05 - 05:31 AM
Le Scaramouche 23 Aug 05 - 09:21 AM
Amos 20 Nov 08 - 10:17 PM
Cluin 20 Nov 08 - 10:55 PM
Cluin 20 Nov 08 - 11:02 PM
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Subject: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 20 Aug 05 - 08:39 AM

The Anne Alexander (1 of only 4 known such ships) is sunk by a whale on 8/20/1857. I don't actually have a song about a whale sinking a ship, but we all know one about a whale sinking a boat:

        We stuck the whale the line paid out,
        But she gave a flourish with her tail,
        The boat capsized and and we lost four gallant men,
        And we never caught that whale, brave boys,
        And we never caught that whale.

                "Greenland Whale Fisheries"

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
What are Happy's all about? See Clicky


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 04:53 PM

Next verse:

The losing of this firm whalefish
It grieved our captain sore
But the losing of those five sailormen
Oh it grieved him ten times more, brave boys,
It grieved him ten times more

Although in some versions the order is reversed. I'd suspect the following was closer to reality:

The losing of those five sailormen
It grieved our captain sore
But the losing of this firm whalefish
Oh it grieved him ten times more, brave boys,
It grieved him ten times more


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: curmudgeon
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 05:19 PM

I think the term is "sperm whale fish" and ot "firm whale fish." In some versions, when the loss of the whale is lamented it is "that hundred barrel whale." Still other versions lament the "death of his little cabin boy."


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 05:22 PM

Only ever heard it the losing of the whalefish (or whatever) grieved him X times more.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 10:34 PM

Don't know of a specific song--though there very likely were ballads about it--especially considering it seems to be the main inspiration for "Moby Dick"----the sinking of the Essex, 20 November 1820, just south of the equator, 119 degrees W, by a large sperm whale, which rammed the ship twice. The second time the collision was at a combined speed of 7 knots- Ahab's Trade, by Granville Allen Mawer.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: GUEST,paddymac - cookieless
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 10:37 PM

There is a song that at least talks about a whale sinking a ship, but it's not an attempt to preserve a historical event. "Call Me The Whale" if memory serves. I think it's in the DT. Great song.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: Amos
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 12:32 AM

THe sinking of the Essex has been written up in several threads and it is one of the truly great tales of the whaling tradition.

It was the inspiriation ofr the tale of Moby Dick, in part, but not name. He was named after another pissed-off whale named Mocha Dick n the China Sea who had a reputation for sinking whaleboats.

AS far as I know the Essex was the first whaling ship ever attacked by a whale. There was an intriguing discussion on an earlier thread about this individual whale, and how he saw things.


A


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: Peace
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 12:55 AM

What a wonderful reminder of that great old song. Thank you, Abby.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 06:02 PM

'Call Me the Whale' (by Paul Kaplan) is The Greenland Whale Fisheries from the whale's point of view. It contains the lines

I never meant to do you any harm, brave boys
When I took you to the bottom with my tail

but I don't think this refers to the sinking of the whaler but to the smashing of whaleboats, which happened quite often, it seems.

A well-written account of the Essex disaster and its aftermath is Nathaniel Philbrick's 'In the Heart of the Sea'.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: Paul Burke
Date: 23 Aug 05 - 05:31 AM

There's a whale, there's a whale,
There's a whale fish he cried,
And you should have heard us laugh
Brave boys...

For a whale is not a fish at all
It is indeed a mammal,
It's not related to a cod,
In fact it's closer to a camel
Brave boys...

From "The Greenland Whale Pedantry"


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 23 Aug 05 - 09:21 AM

That's lovely. Any more verses to the Pedantry song?


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 10:17 PM

1820: The whaling ship Essex is rammed and sunk by a sperm whale 2,000 miles off the west coast of South America. The ordeal of the crew inspires Herman Melville's classic, Moby Dick.
The Essex was an aging vessel from Nantucket, which at the time possessed the largest whaling fleet in the world. The three-masted ship was 87 feet long and weighed 238 tons. She was captained by George Pollard Jr., at 28 already an experienced whaler.
By November 1820 the Essex had been at sea for over a year (three years out was not uncommon), surviving an early knockdown in an Atlantic squall and a rough passage around Cape Horn. Once the ship reached the fertile Pacific whaling grounds, however, things began looking up.
If the risks of whaling were many, the rewards could be great. Whale oil was prized as a lighting fuel. A successful voyage could make a captain wealthy, and meant a good payday for the crew as well. The Essex had taken its share of whales and on Nov. 20 appeared ready to take a few more when a pod was sighted off the starboard beam.
The ship's three remaining whaleboats — one had been destroyed by a whale's flukes during an earlier hunt — were dispatched for the kill. As the harpooning began, First Mate Owen Chase, commanding one of the whaleboats, looked back and saw a large sperm whale, which he estimated at 85 feet, approaching the Essex.
As he watched helplessly, the whale propelled itself into the ship with great force. Some crewmen on board were knocked off their feet by the collision, and Chase watched in disbelief as the whale drew back and rammed the ship again. This time the Essex was holed below the waterline, and doomed.
The crew organized what provisions they could and two days later abandoned ship aboard the three whaleboats. Twenty men left the Essex. Eight would ultimately survive the harrowing ordeal that played out over the next three months.
Fearing the "cannibalistic savages" of the South Seas islands (the irony of that reasoning will become apparent momentarily), Pollard decided to head for the more distant coastlines of Chile or Peru, first heading south to catch the expected favorable winds.
The winds, it turned out, weren't favorable at all, but Pollard was determined to reach South America. Eventually the three boats became separated from one another. One vanished and was never heard from again. The other two, one commanded by Pollard and the other by Chase, thrashed against the elements, and as the provisions dwindled and ran out, men began to die.
The first to go were given proper burials at sea, but as food ran out and the survivors on both boats became delirious from hunger, they turned to cannibalism. In Pollard's boat, straws were drawn to see who of the remaining four would be sacrificed so that the other three might survive. Pollard's young cousin, Owen Coffin, drew short straw. He was shot and eaten.
Only two men on that boat, Pollard and Charles Ramsdell, were alive when they were rescued by the whaling ship Dauphin after 95 days in an open boat. Chase and the survivors of his boat were picked up after 90 days. Three other men, who had chosen to remain on a small island shortly after the ordeal began, were also rescued.
What is known of the details of the ship's ill-fated voyage rests largely on Chase's memoir. He could offer no reason why the whale should attack the ship. But another young Nantucket whaleman, Herman Melville, drew his own conclusions. Moby Dick was a very, very smart whale.
Source: BBC


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: Cluin
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 10:55 PM

It fell to Pollard to shoot young Owen Coffin. Pollard had persuaded Coffin to go to sea on the Essex and had sworn to Owen Coffin's family that he would protect the boy. Pollard felt the obligation to the extent that he could not allow anyone else to shoot him.

The Essex was not the only whaling ship to be sunk by an enraged sperm whale.

A ship called the Ann Alexander was also sunk this way. The whale that did the ramming was later harpooned and killed with pieces of the hull of the ruined ship emebedded in its flesh along with several harpoons. It was not is good shape.

Melville was reportedly quite unnerved by the tale, as it occurred after his publishing of Moby Dick.

There was a very good program on the History Channel this past year about the sinking of the Essex.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Aug 20 (sunk by a whale)
From: Cluin
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 11:02 PM

(f__kin' typos!)


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