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Cape Cod The Pilgrims and the Whales

The Pilgrim’s first recorded attempt at whaling was while the good ship Mayflower lay at anchor in what was later to be called Provincetown Harbor. It happened in this manner:

As the Mayflower lay quietly swinging with the rise and fall of the water, there was an excited cry from her lookouts. A number of whales “of greate size” were seen feeding and disporting themselves in the vicinity of the ship. Then the most exciting part of the drama that was in the making came to pass with astounding swiftness.

One of the whales ventured close to the ship, and suddenly surfaced. Quickly, one of the Mayflower‘s fowling pieces was loaded with a heavy charge of shot. The marksman took aim, then fired. But, for those aboard the Mayflower, the discharge came nearer to being a catastrophe than it was for the whale.

The extra charge was altogether too much for the fowling piece. The weapon exploded with a bang. Down went the whale to the bottom of the sea and to entire safety. The whole school “took to its heels,” saved by a “fluke”. Luckily, an on the spot survey of crew and passengers showed that the only casualty aboard was the ancient firearm itself.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 05/15/06
Categories: History
Keywords: pilgrims, whaling


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