Whale Hunt: The Narrative of a Voyage by Nelson Cole Haley, Harpooner in the Ship Charles W. Morgan 1849-1853

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Pickle Partners Publishing, Jun 28, 2017 - History - 229 pages
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The true story of a voyage to the South Pacific in search of sperm whales.

The Charles W. Morgan was the last surviving whaler from the fleet sailing out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. She was retired in 1921, after 80 years of active service.

In this book, first published in 1948, Nelson Cole Haley recaptures the high drama of the whale hunt, the character of his shipmates, and their adventures ashore on the exotic islands of the South Pacific.

“This classic true story of a voyage on the CHARLES W. MORGAN is both a wonderful read and an excellent source of information about American whaling in the 19th century.”—Nathaniel Philbrick, author of IN THE HEART OF THE SEA

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Note of Introduction
To the Indian Ocean 12
Windward Chase 31
Under the Lee of the Devil 51
Cruising down the Line 72
Strongs Island 93
Out of the Frying Pan 115
Covered with Glory 133
Close Chances 155
Stove In 173
Home around the Horn 187

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About the author (2017)

Nelson Cole Haley (March 7, 1832 - 1900) was an American whaler and trader in the mid-nineteenth century.

Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, “Nelt” shipped on his first whaling voyage at the age of 12, and except for a winter at school in Maine, spent the next nine years at sea before returning to his mother and step-father’s home in Maine.

In his own words, “a capstan-head consultation being held by these different boat-headers, including the Colonel and mother, it was determined that yours truly should abandon the sea and go West to grow up with the country.” He set out for St. Paul by way of Lake Erie and worked variously in a general store, lumbering camp, and sawmill, but couldn’t escape the call of the sea.

Perhaps his best known voyage was on the Charles W. Morgan, 1849-1853, which is chronicled in Whale Hunt. The manuscript was donated to the museum at Mystic Seaport and published in 1948, and took its place as a whaling classic.

A few more whaling voyages, and Haley settled in Hawaii, married, and started a family. From there he engaged in the local whaling fleet and traded sandalwood and Hawaiian cloth in China and San Francisco.

He tried planting sugar, but failed and left for Seattle. Ultimately he endeavored to supply Alaskan miners in the gold rush of 1897.

He died of pneumonia at Sheep Camp Hospital in Alaska late in the winter of 1900.

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