Classic Story Moby Dick Ship "The Two Brothers" Found!!!

Classic Story Moby Dick Ship "The Two Brothers" Found!!!

'Moby Dick' captain's ship found

US marine archaeologists have found the sunken whaling ship belonging to the captain who inspired Herman Melville's classic 19th Century novel, Moby Dick.

The remains of the vessel, the Two Brothers, was found in shallow waters off Hawaii.

Captain George Pollard was the skipper when the ship hit a coral reef and sank in 1823.

His previous ship, the Essex, had been rammed by a whale and also sank, providing the narrative for the book.
'Pretty amazing'

The remains of the Two Brothers were found 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.

The wooden vessel has disintegrated in the warm waters, but the researchers found harpoons, a hook for stripping whales of their blubber and cauldrons used to turn whale blubber into oil.

"To find the physical remains of something that seems to have been lost to time is pretty amazing," said Nathaniel Philbrick, an author and historian, who has been researching the Two Brothers, the Essex and their captain.

"It just makes you realise these stories are more than stories. They're about real lives."

The sinking of the Two Brothers was relatively uneventful compared with the Essex's run-in with the sperm whale in 1821.

After the Essex sank, Capt Pollard and his crew drifted at sea without food and water for three months and even resorted to cannibalism before they were rescued.

Pollard - who gave up whaling and became a night watchman in Nantucket, Massachusetts - is not thought to have been the basis for the novel's obsessive Capt Ahab.

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7 years 5 weeks ago, 10:26 AM


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George Pollard, Jr.

George Pollard, Jr. (1791–1870) was the captain of the whaleship Essex and Two Brothers, both of which sank.


He was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the son of a ship’s captain, at a time when the principal industry there was hunting sperm whales to harvest the oil contained in their blubber and spermaceti. By the time he was 28 he had served on the Essex for four years in the capacities of second mate and first mate.

In 1819, Pollard was appointed captain of the Essex by the owners, Gideon Folger and Sons, and preparations were made to set sail for the Pacific Ocean in August of that year. Other members of the 21-man crew included Owen Chase as first mate, Matthew Joy as second mate and six other Nantucket men. Those included Pollard’s seventeen-year old cousin Owen Coffin with whose care and protection Pollard had been entrusted by his aunt, Nancy Bunker Coffin. To fill out the crew, others had to be recruited from Cape Cod and Boston; these were inexperienced seamen and were known as “green hands” by the Nantucketers. An account of their epic journey was written by Nathaniel Philbrick in In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.

Four days after leaving Nantucket the ship was struck by a sudden storm and suffered a knockdown, having been rolled almost ninety degrees onto her side. Two of the ship’s whaleboats were lost and another was damaged. This mishap was caused in part by miscalculations on the part of Pollard and his officers, and in part by the inexperience of the crew. Pollard declared the damage was so extensive that they should return to Nantucket for repairs, but Chase and Joy persuaded him to go forward to the Azores and hope to replace the whaleboats there.

After a difficult passage around Cape Horn, the Essex arrived in the Pacific Ocean in January 1820. On November 20, 1820, in a remote area of the ocean, some 1,500 nautical miles (2,800 km) west of the Galapagos Islands, the Essex was struck twice by a huge sperm whale, estimated to be 85 feet (26 m) in length. With only three shipkeepers and the crew of Chase's whaleboat on board to repair their damaged vessel, the Essex began taking on water following the second collision with the whale. The crew abandoned the sinking vessel, taking the navigational equipment and Pollard's and Chase's sea chests with them. Meanwhile, Pollard and Joy were hunting smaller whales near the ship, and on their return found the Essex had capsized. The crew chopped off the masts (a necessary move that would enable the ship to stay upright for a longer time) and outfitted the whaleboats with sails and masts using the Essex's spars and sails. They also hastened to retrieve what provisions they could and divided them equally so that each whaleboat had 200 pounds of hardtack, 65 gallons of freshwater, and two Galapagos tortoises. The crew was divided into three whaleboats commanded by Pollard, Chase, and Joy and set sail with provisions estimated to last them 60 days. Pollard, Chase, and Joy set up a council to decide which direction to sail in. The closest islands were the Marquesas Islands, about 1,200 miles (1,900 km) west of their position but in those days the inhabitants there were believed to practice cannibalism. Pollard suggested sailing to the Society Islands, which were further away but presumed to be safer. However, on the grounds that very little was actually known about these islands, Chase and Joy disagreed, proposing instead to sail south far enough to pick up a band of variable breezes that would take them to South America. Once again, Captain Pollard reluctantly yielded to their arguments.

On December 20, near starvation, the crews of the three whaleboats reached Henderson Island but after seven days decided that the island did not have the resources to sustain them and they reluctantly set sail again. Three of the men opted to remain on the island and were eventually rescued by the trading vessel Surry.

Sailing east towards South America, Pollard and Chase had seen Matthew Joy's health decline. He was transferred to Pollard’s boat and shortly thereafter died. Obed Hendricks was given command of Joy’s boat, and the three boats sailed on until during a gale one night Chase’s boat became separated from the other two. By January 20, 1821 a crew member, Lawson Thomas died just as the boats of Pollard and Hendricks had come to the end of their provisions. It was at this point that in order to survive their ordeal the men resorted to cannibalism. As other crew members died their bodies were eaten in turn until only four men were left alive on Pollard’s boat. One of them, Charles Ramsdell proposed that lots should be drawn to determine who should be killed so that the rest might survive. Pollard at first resisted this suggestion but then gave in to the majority. The lot fell to his cousin Owen Coffin and he was shot and his remains were eaten. After the death of Barzillai Ray, Pollard and Ramsdell sailed on and were rescued on February 23 by the whaleship Dauphin and taken to Valparaiso. There they were reunited with the survivors of Chase’s boat, Chase himself, Benjamin Lawrence and Thomas Nickerson, cabin boy of the Essex, who had been rescued by the British merchant ship Indian.

Upon his return to Nantucket on August 5, Pollard had to face Nancy Bunker Coffin who was distraught at the idea that Pollard was alive as a consequence of her son’s death. Pollard was given command of the whaleship Two Brothers and this voyage also ended in disaster when the ship ran into rocks off French Frigate Shoals and sank. This ended Pollard’s whaling career. He made a single voyage in a merchant vessel and then spent the rest of his life as a night watchman on Nantucket.

Chase and a ghost writer wrote an account of the ordeal entitled Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex. This was published soon after the return of the survivors, and was an inspiration for the Herman Melville classic, Moby-Dick. Much later, Nickerson wrote his own account of the voyage The Loss of the Ship Essex Sunk by a Whale and the Ordeal of the Crew in Open Boats. His manuscript was lost for nearly a century, but was discovered, authenticated and published in 1984.

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