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A Gentleman Whale: June 5th, 1811

June 5, 2011

The slaughter of whales continued apace. On Wednesday they “without much trouble struck and killed two fine whales” and took them both alongside. The ship by now was “much by the head in draught of water”–bow lower than the stern–and was, as Scoresby says “unhandy”. He takes time to remark on one of the whales:

One of the whales we last got is a handsome animal his party coloured coat of black and white being somewhat uncommon in the mixture and his fine bright black back shews him to be a gentleman whale, perhaps one of their brightest beaus. Having flinched the whale notwithstanding we had yet room to take in 20* more cleared the Fore hold started [emptied] water and began to make off.

This adjustment in the ballast made the ship temporarily unstable, and the “waist” boats–those amidships–were lowered to prevent the ship “falling over”. Once again, large numbers of ships were nearby:

Captn. Johnstone** came on board and took Breakfast with us they got 3 fish within 24 hours last have now about 70 tons of oil.

*Jackson speculates that this probably means 20 tons.

**Presumably Captain Johnson, of the Aimwell.

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