Dick Watching: Enter Ahab; To Him, Stubb

Posted by Juliet Linderman

Dearest Dicksters, Dick Lovers, Dick Watchers and appreciators of all colors, creeds and walks of life: It’s Wednesday, and thank goodness for that. C’mon. Let’s go Dick Watching.

This was just about the biggest piece of Moby Dick-related news since…well, possibly ever: Late last week, US marine archeologists discovered the remains of a sunken whale ship belonging to the captain who (we think) inspired Captain Ahab! Captain Ahab is my boy, so this discovery is a major revelation. The whaling ship—called the Two Brothers—was discovered by “researchers from America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), about 600 miles (965 km) north-west of Honolulu in the remote chain of islands and atolls.” Because of the shallow waters, it is believed that the ship hit a coral reef and sank. Over the years, the wooden frame of the vessel has long since disintegrated, but researchers discovered “harpoons, a hook for stripping whales of their blubber and cauldrons used to turn whale blubber into oil.” The skipper on the ship, George Pollard, was also the poor, doomed captain of the Essex, which was struck by a sperm whale (for real!) and the crew was lost at sea for three months, where they resorted…that’s right…to cannibalism (for real!). Honestly, I’d probably hate a sperm whale, too.

In other news: a wild goose (whale?) chase inspired Japan to suspend all whale hunting efforts for the time being, after the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society quite literally chased Nisshin Maru, the Japanese fleet’s mother ship. From BBC’s article: “‘At the moment we are merely blocking the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, thus preventing any whales from being offloaded from the harpoon vessels,’ Mr Cornelissen said. Mr Cornelissen told the BBC that the activists were still following the ship because it was unclear if the hunt had been suspended or stopped, although the fleet was moving away from the hunting area.’It’s looking as if they are going to leave the Pacific Ocean and enter the Atlantic Ocean within the next 36 hours.’” Heavy!

The famous gray whale, nicknamed Flex, is on the move again, and he’s headed for the Bay Area! This dude has been on one crazy migratory adventure beginning in Russia, swimming over to Alaska, then Oregon, and is now heading to the city by the bay. Personally, I love this story, because scientists are so wholly and totally stumped by this big guy’s migration patterns. Also, he lost his tag, poor guy!

For your pleasure, Dicksters, let’s learn about sperm whales, shall we? Here’s a little slideshow about the ins and outs of sperm whales courtesy of the Telegraph (I am loving the British media this week). Enjoy!

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  1. Oddly enough, Portland had a marathon reading of Moby Dick in its entirety while these remains were discovered. The first five hours was at Powell’s and the rest at someone’s house, with only a break between 3am and 6am Saturday morning. See more about it at http://www.taketotheship.com