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Cape Cod Whale Sinks Whaler

This interesting piece of information comes from the Vineyard Gazette for July 21, 1854, and, incidentally, shows how slowly news traveled in those days.

In 1851 the whaleship Ann Alexander, Captain Deblois, of New Bedford, was attacked and stove by a sperm whale. The whale was coming at the rate of fifteen miles an hour, and the ship going about five, at the time of the collision. The whale came with full force against the ship’s bows and stove in several feet square, almost instantly sinking the vessel.

Of course this is also the premise for the famous story of the great white whale in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, which was based on the real life tragedy of the whaling ship Essex. In 1819, the 238 ton Whaler Essex set sail from Nantucket Island on a voyage. A year and three months later in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, the Essex was rammed and sunk by an enraged Sperm whale. What followed was considered one of the most well known maritime disasters of the 19th century.

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Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 03/14/06
Categories: History
Keywords: whaling, history


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