The Adventures Of A Haunted Whaling Man


—…Hurrah we have a smacking breeze—and it is still on the increase—as it has been all night—Made a new spanker-out haul-block for the heel of the spanker boom, the last job I hope to do this voyage—.…

May 2nd Sunday

Wind from SW. Excellent weather. Head WNW fresh breeze—but not fair enough.… Our passage through the waters is like a comet—there is such a brilliant train of phosphorescent light behind us—it contrasts brilliantly with the surrounding darkness, this illumination does not appear like the general lights of the waters—it has a ghostly look—a bluish white—while elsewhere there is a warm pink or yellow tinge—

Between 10 P.M. & 1 A.M. the water around the ship was splendid to look at—it flashed & sparkled far beneath the surface, looking like so many twinkling stars in the heavens—

About 2 hours before the Moon rose—we had a sight which brought many home recollections to our minds—it was the Aurora Boreallis—Everything now indicates our close proximity to our native land—to our glorious home—We see the North Star almost as high in the heavens as they do at home—And there is not more than 6 or 8 minutes variations in the time compared with home—hurrah—we are blessed indeed.…

3rd Monday

… This morning took all the whaling craft from the boats and stowed it below—stripped all the chafing gear from the rigging &c—2 schooners in sight but where is the land. We suffer with the cold—that thermometer stands 50°— they’ll laugh at us at home—but if we can actually get there, let them laugh & we will join in with a hearty good will.…

May 4th Tuesday

Steering NE. Moderate breeze—fine weather, clear and cold—set the main royal at 1 P.M. 2 P.M. set the fore royal—3 P.M. set the fore top mast & lower studding sails—4 P.M. set the main top gallant studding s’ls. Breeze dying away—what shall we do? The land ought to be in sight by our reconing—curious navigation this—The Old Man seems to be perfectly indifferent as regards getting home—he must be case hardened or else he is putting these contrary actions upon himself to tantalize us.

5 1/2 P.M. Joyful news the reviving cry of Land ho! has been uttered—and three hearty cheers made the welkin ring again—My pulse beats warmer, and though I have 8 hours to watch on deck this night—it will be done cheerfully, for I feel it to be the last weary watch for me to hold—The wind is quite light but fair, and increasing somewhat

7 1/2 p.m. dark, raised Montauk light—

8 P.M. Took soundings—Made 35 fathoms—tacked ship&kept lookouts at the mast head all night—in order to keep the light in sight—I had one dreary cold hour to spend there myself with the second mate continually disturbing me while thinking of home—he talked about his wife & child—but I couldn’t listen to him—for I had my own thoughts for better company—.… At Midnight the ship Huntsville was close to— they sent a boat alongside for a short gam and comparison of reckoning—

The weather is villanously cold—enough so to keep up all in an uncomfortable state— 4 A.M. daybreak—Made all sail—6 A.M. 6 sails in sight. Mostly schooners. 61/2 Pilot boat Relief bearing down to us—hove too with main yard aback—and received the Pilot—braced forward and steered N! Wind light from W. several islands in sight—Martha’s Vinyard, Gayhead— right ahead—Rhode I off Larboard beam—

7 P.M. We touched the wharf and I touched the shore—pure bona fide American land hurrah—

We are now safely moored at one of the N. Bedford wharves—it is glorious to think of. But I am thankful— We had a favorable breeze to come in with, and the pilot took us chock into the wharf—

9 P.M. I have just returned from a stroll on solid Yankee land.

How shall I face my dear father. I shall g o directly to him—and tell him all—I trust God will yet give me strength of resolution to reform.—