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Five Whales and a Cask of Ale: June 2nd, 1811

June 2, 2011

On Sunday, Scoresby rewarded his men with a pint of Fishburn’s fine ale, a cask having been donated to the voyage as a reward for catching whales. Beer was a common drink on board whale ships, but this was better beer than the usual:

Having now five Whales, broached a cask given us by Mr Fishburn filled with fine ale[.] I delivered to each of the sailors a glass containing about a pint being at Mrs F’s request (to be repeated should we be fortunate enough to get five more whales.)

Later in his career Scoresby eschewed fishing on Sundays, but on this day a whale was stuck “by a heave”, which is to say, by a harpoon thrown from the ship itself. The water here was a “deep green colour favourable to fishing” and having flinched the whale, they struck two more, one of which was killed “and flinched the Ship under sails”.

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