Whaling Industry In The 1800s

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Whaling Through the discovery of the “offshore ground” in the Pacific Ocean, during the 1800s, the whaling industry increased in size and revenue. Many coastal cities such as New Bedford and Nantucket in Massachusetts were well on their way to becoming some of the richest towns in America. However these profits were at the expense of their own men, who left their families for years of arduous labor, resulting in meager pay. Life aboard a whale ship was extremely dangerous due to diseases, starvation, and the act of catching and processing a whale. Prolonged time in the ocean caused many whalers to become sick with scurvy, making their lives at sea difficult. Scurvy is a disease one contracts due to severe vitamin c deficiency. Many whalers …show more content…

The process of catching a whale is lengthy and difficult. Men remain on lookouts a hundred feet above deck. When the whale is spotted, whale boats row out towards the creature. The crew has to advance quietly so as to not scare the whale away. After, harpoons are be plunged into the whales back. The harpoon causes the whale to trash wildly in pain. In many instances this is a danger to the crew because the whale had the potential to capsize the tiny boat and drown the men. Once the whale is dead, it's massive body is dragged to the ship. An article on whaling by Photovoices states, “Many paledang (whaling boats) have been sunk by injured whales trying to escape the harpoon. In some cases, the whale has even crashed its head into the hull of the boat, smashing it to splinters and causing it to sink with the terrified whalers struggling for their lives on the open sea”. This quote shows the dangers of whaling because it is common for men to be injured at sea. Whales are enormous creatures whos instinct is to fight for their lives if they are in danger, leading them to cause destruction on ships and kill the men who hunt them. Once the whale is dead, the task of bringing the whale towards the ship is even harder. The crew works six hour shifts until the body is processed, taking days to finish depending on weather or size of whale. “Trying out a whale could take as long as three days. Special try watches were set, lasting between five and six hours, and affording the men scant sleep”(Philbrick 57). This quote shows the long hours men on whale ships would work causing them to receive inadequate sleep. Whaling was the essence of the men's lives and dangerous because many risked their lives catching the whale as well as damage their health due to lack of sleep. The crew would cut lengthy strips of blubber using cutting spades weighing around a ton each. After

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