Part 6 – Reminiscences of Capt. Thomas Chatfield

“For God’s sake, Captain, do shorten that sail, you’ll tear the masts out.”

This is salty stuff. The Captain is crusing the “Artic”, dodging bergs, floes, and growlers, learns why Captain Cook got snuffed, returns to San Francisco, and has a close call with a lee shore.

I’m having a blast with this. Almost half-way and realizing I never truly read these memoirs before. Cousin Pete lent me his copy of the Captain’s war letters, which will be the night-time lonely guy project in Raleigh after this transcription. Then to the annotation with maps (I’m think of footnoting directly to Google Earth) but that may require a trip to the Kendall Whaling Museum in Sharon, Mass. which has Chatfield’s original ship’s logs with the latitude and longitude.

(I majored in American Maritime History at Yale, so this stuff is a dream come true. In another dimension I’d have become a college professor of maritime history.)

[update: added another five pages to part 6 — amazing description of nursing a wounded mate back to health after he gets whacked by a whale off of California: “…then with four men to help, and another with his elbow bare for a model, I got the elbow joint in place.”]

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

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