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Life Aboard Ship
Main Title You Wouldn't Want to be a Roman Gladiator!
The Essex leaves Nantucket on August 12, 1819, beginning the long voyage to the whaling grounds of the Pacific Ocean. You will have several months to get used to life aboard the ship, which is just 29 yards (26.5 m) long and is packed to the gunwales with provisions for the voyage – and 1,200 barrels that you hope to fill with whale oil before you return.
You Wouldn't Want to be an Egyptian Mummy!
You Wouldn't Want to be a Polar Explorer
Whaling
Whale Logo Whale Logo
Introduction
The Whaling Ship Essex There She Blows!
Nantucket: Whaling Capital of the World
The Whaling Ship Essex
About this Title
BELOW DECKS Living quarters are divided into three areas. The captain and the two mates have cabins at the rear. You and the white members of the crew live in the steerage section. The African-American sailors occupy the forecastle at the front of the ship. The hold and the blubber room are where barrels, provisions, spare sails and ropes are stored.

YOUR DUTIES As the youngest crew member you do all the odd jobs and learn what it takes to sail and maintain the Essex.
Life Aboard Ship
Whaling Links on the Web
There She Blows!
Salariya Book Company
Nantucket Sleigh Ride
Flensing the Whale
Trying Out the Whale
Stove by a Whale
Alone in the Pacific
Starvation, Madness, and Cannibalism
SWABBING DECKS
Scrub them clean – whale’s blood can be very slippery.
TIDYING ROPES
Coil them neatly – you don’t want the captain to trip on one!
SERVING MEALS
Be quick, the captain likes his food hot and served on time.
The Homecoming
SCRIMSHAW In your spare time an old sailor teaches you the art of scrimshaw – carving intricate designs onto the teeth of sperm whales. You will soon have plenty of teeth to practise on because the Essex, like other Nantucket whalers, specialises in catching sperm whales.
Scrimshaw Example
Scrimshaw Example
Scrimshaw2
Scrimshaw3
Scrimshaw Example
TOOTHY
DESIGNS
Above and left, designs are carved into the surface of a whale’s tooth with a knife or a sail needle, and then filled in with lampblack (made from soot) or ink. Most of the designs are of whaling scenes, but sailors also draw their family or sweethearts.
Based on the book, You Wouldn't Want to Sail on a 19th-Century Whaling Ship!
Copyright 2004 - the Salariya Book Company
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