Whaleships and Sealers
° Passenger Ship Arrivals
As one of over 2,700 whaling ships in the American fleet, the Charles W. Morgan spent 80 years, or 37 separate voyages, hunting whales. She was known as a lucky ship because she always returned a profit regardless of rough seas, storms, or cannibals. Whaling expeditions often lasted three years or longer before returning home. She was in San Francisco on multiple occasions and was in the news throughout her career.
Though whales were never hunted in San Francisco Bay itself, the whaling industry had a long presence along the Pacific Coast. Beginning in the 1830s, whaling ships of British and New England based fleets wintered in San Francisco Bay.
A hundred ships or more might be anchored along the San Francisco waterfront, where they stocked up on provisions for their long Pacific and Arctic voyages. In addition to this well-financed pelagic whaling, a small-scale commerce in coastal whales (gray, humpback, orca), hunted from rowboats that went out for the day, developed in several coastal communities, including Carmel, Monterey, Moss Landing, Davenport, Half Moon Bay, and Bolinas.
February 4, 1882, Pacific Rural Press
A Valuable California Publication.
Marine Mammals of the North Pacific Coast
WITH AN ACOUNT OF THE AMERICAN WHALE FISHERY.
BY CHARLES M. SCAMMON.
List of Illustrations.
Frontispiece Whaling Scene in the California Lagoons
The California Gray Whale, and the Finback Whale
Embryos of a California Gray Whale.
Indian Whaling Implements
California Grays among the Ice
Esquimaux Whaling Canoe and Whaling Implements
Outlines of Northern Finback
Humpback and Sharpheaded Flnner Whales
Humpbacks Lobtailing, Bolting, Breaching and Finning
Outlines of a Humpback Whale
Aleutian Islander's Whale Harpoon
Outlines of a Humpback, from above
Appearance of a Female Humpback Suckling Her Young.
Eye and Parasites of Baleen Whales
Outline of Roys' "Bunchback."
The Bowhead or Great Polar Whale
Right Whale of the Northwestern Coast
Sperm Whale in Search of Food
Orcas or Killers
White Whale, or Whitefish of the Whalers
Baird's Dolphin, Common Porpoise, and Right Whale Porpoise
Approximate Outlines of Cowfish, White-headed or Mottled Grampus, Bottle-nosed Grampus, and Panama Grampus
Sea Elephant and Sea Lion
Club and Lance used in the Capture of the Sea Elephant
Male Sea Lion Sleeping and Male Sea Lion Waking
Appearance of a Male Sea Lion when Roaring, and Female Sea Lions, of St. Paul's Island
Banded Seal, and Fur Seal
Full-aged Male Fur Seal, St. Paul's Island
Head of Female Fur Seal, from below, two-thirds natural size
Head of Female Fur Seal, view of Female Fur Seal from below and attitudes of Fur Seals
Seal Spear of the Makah Indians, Nee-ah Bay, W. T., 1866, and Spear Head, full size, with line attached
Moving Attitude of a Leopard Seal on shore
Leopard Seal and Sea Otter
Aleutian Islanders' Seal Otter Canoe, or Bairdarka, with Hunters engaged in the chase; Aleutian Islanders' Sea Otter; Spear, and Spear Head, full size
A Whale Scene of 1763
Implements belonging to a Whale boat
Pierces Harpoon Bomb-lance Gun; Bomb-lance; and Diagram showing inside of Bomb-lance
Diagram showing the manner of cutting in the Bowhead and Right Whale
Blubber-hook and Fin-Chain
Implements used in Cutting-in a Whale
Head-strap: Toggle; and Throat-chain Toggle
Cutting-tackle toggled to the blanket-piece
Outline of a Sperm Whale, showing the manner of Cutting-in
Blubber-fork; Stirring-pole; Skimmer; Bailer, and Fire-pile
A Northern Whaling Scene
Whale-boat with Greener's Gun Mounted.
Whaling Station at Carmel Bay
Skeleton of a Balana mysticetus
Table of Contents.
North American Whales and Dolphins
The California Gray Whale.
The Finback Whale.
The Humpback Whale.
The Sharp-headed Finner Whale.
The Bowhead, or Great Polar Whale.
The Right Whale of the Northwestern Coast.
The Sulphurbottom Whale
The Sperm Whale
The Orca, or Killer
The Whitefish, or White Whale.
The Bay Porpoise.
The Striped or Common Porpoise.
The Right Whale Porpoise.
The Whiteheaded or Mottled Grampus
The Bottled-nosed Grampus
The Panama Grampus
The Puget Sound Grampus
The San Diego Bay Grampus.
The Squareheaded Grampus
The Brownded Dolphin of Santa Barbara Channel
The Sea Elephant
The Sea Lion
The Banded Seals
The Leopard Seal
The Sea Otter
Origin and Ancient Mode of Whale-fishing
The American Whale-fishery
Ships, Outfits, and Manner of Taking the Whale.
American Whaling Commerce
Life and Characteristics of American Whalemen.
Again to the North, and Home
Catalogue of Cetacea of the North Pacific Ocean.
Description of a Skeleton of the Right Whale.
Glossary of Words and Phrases used by Whalemen.
List of Stores and Outfits.
LARGE QUARTO, 319) PAGES. PRICE $10.
(FIRST EDITION ISSUED 1874).
Naturalists, Scientists, Teachers, Students, and Navigators will find the work not only exceedingly desirable, but in a degree indispensable. It is the only publication of the kind, and should be in all School, Public, Club, and Private Libraries.
DEWEY & CO.
Publishers of the Mining and Scientific Press,
No. 252 Market St., San Francisco, Cal.
June 17, 1885, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Profits of Whale Ships.
|Longboat crew attacking a Right Whale. 1856|
The profits of some whaling vessels are still very large, despite the fact that many more are engaged in it now than formerly. Some Scotch vessels have paid from 45 to 65 per cent, for the past twenty years. The black whale fishery shows signs of exhaustion as now prosecuted, but the waters between Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land are declared to be the great black whale fishing grounds of the future, because inexhaustible. The bottle-nose whale fishery is still very successful. Many vessels are fishing for them in Davis Straits and on the coasts of Greenland and Labrador. Only Scotchmen and Norwegians are following this bottle-nose fishery, because Americans have not yet found it out.
With the advent of mechanized whaling in the early 1900s, whalers were able to exploit faster species (blue, fin, sei), and the industry revived for a few decades.
The oil was used most often in oil lamps and to make soap. Baleen or whalebone had many uses including corset stays, men s collars, buggy whips, and cutlery handles. Scrimshaw, the carvings done by sailors in the off watches, were done on whale teeth and the larger bones. The engravings were usually of ships, but could be of any subject.
January 16, 1891, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
AFLOAT AND ASHORE.
Renewed Activity Among the Private Sealers.
A Larger Fleet Than Ever To Go To Behring Sea.
If the Government Interferes the American Sealers Will Sail Under the British Flag.
The private sealers are beginning to show some signs of life after the torpor of the early winter. The diplomatic negotiations now going on between Great Britain and the United States, and other phases of the Behring Sea dispute seem to have no effect on the preparations being made, both here and at Victoria, for an active season in Bearing Sea. At Victoria almost all the sealing fleet are now preparing lor tne early work along the coast, which will keep them busy from now until April or May, when they discharge their coast catches and sail for Behring Sea. Captain Urquhart's little schooner Ventura completed her equipment on Wednesday, signed her crew and cleared for the West Coast. She is commanded by Captain Smith, and will go first to Clayoquot, where she expects to procure Indian hunters. Her equipment comprises eight first class canoes, and she will commence her hunting off the California coast. The Juanita was expected to leave on the 13th and the Maggie Mac on the 14th. The Mary Ellen is receiving new sails, and the Triumph and Sapphire will be brought in to the wharf to refit in a day or two.
The Seattle schooner Henry Dennis, Captain Miner, is nearly ready for sea and will proceed to this port from Seattle on January 20th, to receive her steam launches and boats. Her owner, Mr. Nixon, voices the general sentiment of the private sealers in declaring that he does not credit the statements concerning the massing of so many American cruisers in Behring sea. Should the Government really send the American cruisers to watch the sealing grounds, it is Mr. Nixon's intention to sail his vessel under the British flag, as there would be no show for American sealers. In this city, Ross & Hewlett are fitting out the schooner Mattie T. Dyer for a sealing cruise to the north; A. P. Lorentzen is also fitting out the schooner Helen Blum for a similar purpose. In several of the ship-chandlers' establishments at Victoria are to be seen diminutive cannon, of both brass and iron, none of them larger than a 4 pounder. One of these will be carried by almost every one of the sealing fleet this year, but not for any aggressive purpose, it is said. They are to ue used in firing bombs, in the event of the boats becoming separated irom the schooners by fog or darkness, and are said to make a terrific report. As a weapon they would be of no use whatever against the guns of the cruisers.
The San Francisco whaling fleet is beginning to take wings, and soon all of them will be out on the chase after their wary old enemy. James McKenna is fitting out two of his vessels, the barks Northern Light and W. H. Meyer, which are now at the foot of Fremont street, after undergoing a thorough overhauling at the Union Iron Works. They will probably be ready for sea at the end of the month. The whalers will not go direct to the Arctic sea, but will cruise south until the breaking up of the ice north, about the middle of May. Whalebone may not be in great demand this season, on account of the heavy catch last year.
October 30, 1900, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California
FIRST OF THE WHALERS IN.
Old Bark Charles W. Morgan Arrives From the Okhotsk Sea.
The whaling bark Charles W. Morgan, arrived from the Okhotsk Sea (image right: c. 1811) yesterday with 1400 barrels of sperm oil, 270 barrels whale oil and 3000 pounds of whalebone. She had a very uneventful trip and only spoke one other vessel of the fleet. The latter vessel was the California and on September 9 she had 200 barrels of sperm and 270 barrels of whale oil and 3000 pounds of whalebone. The work of getting the Morgan ready for another cruise will begin at once.
Shipping Intelligence: Captain Scullum, 30 days from Ahkotsk Sea.
November 1, 1891, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California
Another Whaler in Port
The whaling bark Charles W. Morgan came in last night from the Okhotsk Sea with 500 barrels of oil and 5000 pounds of bone for J. and W. R. Wing.
June 16, 1901, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California
WHALER ON FIRE
Take of the Charles W. Morgan Is Lost
VICTORIA. B. C., June 15. The steamer Tacoma, which arrived today from the Orient, reports that on June 2 she sighted a ship on fire which proved to be the San Francisco whaler,Charles W. Morgan. Tacoma bore down, but the fire was under control and the whaler not wanting further assistance, the Tacoma came on. The take of the whaler was reported lost.
January 17, 1892, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
A DYING INDUSTRY.
|Yoda Emon, a fisherman, is saved from the sea. In thanks, he obtains an order from the Emperor that no whales shall be hunted during his (Yoda's) lifetime.|
|R. Gordon Smith|
The Call is indebted to Mr. M. McDonald, United States Commissioner of Fisheries, for advance sheets of the census return on the whale fishery of the United States. They indicate a gradual decay in an industry which was once very important indeed.
At the time of the War of Independence, 360 whalers sailed out of American ports, chiefly from ports in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Long island; in 1846 the number had increased to 735 vessels; in 880 it had declined to about 175 vessels; and now the census report shows only 101 craft engaged in the chase of the whale. Of this number 57 sailed out of New Bedford and 27 out of San Francisco. About half the Yankee whalers fitted out in this port and sold their retell here.
In the last century, and the first half of this, the chief whaling grounds were the seas which wash the coast of Greenland on the north, where the right whale abounded, and the South Pacific and Indian oceans, where the sperm whale was found. Now, there are few whales left in Hudson Bay or on the coast of Spitzbergen, and the era of whale fishing among Polynesian islands, which was the dream of young sailors half a century ago, has come to an end. Of the whole whaling fleet in 1889, only 36 vessels pursued the whale in Atlantic waters from Baffin Bay to the Falkland Islands, and only eight followed their calling in the South Pacific; while 42 fished the icy waters of the Arctic and Behring Sea, and nine the sea of Okhotsk and the waters of Siberia. By indiscriminate slaughter, the whale of our ancestors has nearly been exterminated, leaving behind him a small number of his family, such as is seen off the coast of this State, which possess little commercial value.
In former days the most valuable whale was the sperm whale, which yielded whale oil and sperm for illuminating purposes, and occasionally a lump of ambergris. But the discovery of coal oil has destroyed the value of fish oils and their residuum for illuminating uses, and ambergris is rarely found. Thus the right whale and the bowhead of the Arctic and Behring Sea have come to be more valuable by reason of the whale-bone they yield than the sperm whale. The number of sperm whales taken in 1889 by American whalers was 67 per cent of the total catch, as against 29 per cent of right whales and bowheads; but the latter realized 70 per cent of the total yield of the fishery, as against 30 per cent realized by the sperm whales.
The whaling industry was the first in which cooperation was established. Every man who ships on a whaler except the cook is a partner in the enterprise from the captain to the ship's boy. When the cargo is sold each is entitled to his "lay," as it is called. The lay of a captain sailing out of this port is usually l5 per cent, that of a mate 20 per cent, that of an able seaman a share equal to 1-175 per cent, that of a ship's boy, 1-185 per cent. Most ships pay wages as well as a lay, so that on the whalers who confront icebergs and ice floes, as well as the ordinary dangers of the sea, the wages of the crew are generally pretty good. It is not as easy to spend money off Cape Barrow as it used to be among those lovely isles, where the skies forever smile and the blacks forever weep.
It was a whale which first demonstrated the northwest passage. A whale wounded off Behring Straits was found in Hudson Bay with the iron of the harpoon in him; whereby the existence of a continuous body of water along the north coast of North America was proved. It is on the cards that other whales, emulous of their long lost brother's fame, will presently assist in the exploration of the Antarctic continent by demonstrating that the range of the Southern whale, like that of the right whale of the Arctic, is circumpolar. Our present maps depict a continent to which they give the name of Antarctica surrounding the South Pole, but our knowledge of that continent is derived from distant observations of ice-clad plateaus, mountains and volcanoes, seen from the decks of passing ships. The points observed may be islands scattered round the meridian of 70 , and inside of them there may be an open sea such as surrounds the North Pole. If the exploring expedition which is now being fitted out to coast the border of the supposed continent should find a spot where it could break through that border and get into a navigable sea nearer the pole the Southern whale might prove an efficient ally in the work.
August 24, 1901, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Catch of Whale Ships
SAN FRANCISCO, August 23. Up to July 4 the catch of the whaling vessels out of this port is reported to have been as follows: Charles W. Morgan, 1200 barrels of sperm oil and 3400 pounds of bone; California, 900 barrels of sperm oil; Gayhead, 500 barrels of sperm oil; Alice Knowles, 300 barrels of sperm oil and two small right whales; John and VVinthrop, 180 barrels of sperm oil.
November 20, 1902, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California
Whalers Start Again
The whaling barks Charles W. Morgan and California have cleared for another whaling cruise, and within a few days all the blubber hunters that are not going to lay up for the winter will be heading for the whaling grounds. A number of the fishermen employed during the summer at the Alaska canneries have shipped on the California and Morgan.
October 27, 1903, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California
First of the Whalers.
The whaling bark Charles W. Morgan passed Point Reyes at 2:30 yesterday afternoon and will be in port probably some time to-day. She has been In the Okhotsk Sea and is the first of the fleet to put in an appearance. The Morgan is owned by J. and W. R Wing of New Bedford, whose representative arrived here a few days ago.
October 29, 1903, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
First Whaler Docks
The whaling bark Charles W. Morgan, which arrived on Tuesday, docked yesterday at the Howard street bulkhead and commenced discharging her cargo of sperm oil.
November 1, 1904, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
BRINGS GOOD CATCH
Whaling Bark Charles W. Morgan Arrives at San Francisco
By Associated Press. SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 31
The whaling bark Charles W. Morgan has arrived here with a good catch, amounting to 1450 barrels of sperm oil, 150 barrels of whale oil, the product of forty-six sperm and two right whales, and whalebone weighing 2100 pounds. After leaving Hakodate in July, where the Morgan received the first information of the Russo-Japanese war through a warning in regard to navigating the mined entrance of the harbor, she spoke the whaling bark Andrew Hicks on August 17. The Hicks reported then a catch of 800 barrels of sperm oil. The bark was refused a landing at the Caroline islands.
November 19, 1903, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California
First Whaler Gets Away.
The whaling bark Charles W. Morgan started yesterday on her regular cruise. She will hunt whales during the winter months in the South Seas, will later follow the leviathans to Japanese waters and will finish up, late next summer, in the Okhotsk Sea. She is the first of the fleet to get away.
Smarter than man? Intelligence in Whales, Dolphins, and Humans
Karl Erik Fichtelius
Listening to Whales: What the Orcas Have Taught Us
In Listening to Whales, Alexandra Morton shares spellbinding stories about her career in whale and dolphin research and what she has learned from and about these magnificent mammals. In the late 1970s, while working at Marineland in California, Alexandra pioneered the recording of orca sounds by dropping a hydrophone into the tank of two killer whales. She recorded the varied language of mating, childbirth, and even grief after the birth of a stillborn calf. At the same time she made the startling observation that the whales were inventing wonderful synchronized movements, a behavior that was soon recognized as a defining characteristic of orca society.
A Whaler's Dictionary
After immersing himself in Moby Dick for many years, poet and teacher Beachy-Quick found himself embarked on a “mad task.” Following Ishmael’s lead, he has created a whaler’s dictionary. But unlike Melville’s narrator, Beachy-Quick is hunting concealed aspects of language and attempting to fathom, articulate, and order the oceanic depths and currents of meaning in Melville’s masterpiece. Poetic and metaphysical definitions take the form of brief essays full of yearning, mystery, and discovery that sail beneath such headings as Brain, Fate, Hunger, Idolatry, Omen, Paradox, Starry Archipelagoes, Tattoo, and Void.
The Yankee Whaler
A fine, colorful and definitive study of whaling. Describes whaling trade, rigging, gear and handicrafts; construction and outfitting of ships, with fascinating details and anecdotes about whales and whaling waters, whaling men, methods of attack, crafts and routines, much more. Richly illustrated with 133 halftones, 17 line illustrations.
Sailors, Whalers, Fantastic Sea Voyages
Activity Guide to North American Sailing Life
A history of ships and whaling with more than 50 activities for ages 9-12 years. The book begins with the China Tea trade in the late 18th century and ends with the last whaler leaving New Bedford in 1924. Kids will create scrimshaw using black ink and a bar of white soap;
This guide showcases this unique art form. Pages are filled with tips, techniques, and insights that both educate and demonstrate the steps to creating authentic and beautiful scrimshaw. An examination of ivory includes a wide range of alternative natural and man-made ivory substitutes, including bone, horn, and nuts. With over 200 color photos, this step-by-step guide addresses scrimshaw tools, patterns, inking, and inlays. Originally written as a training manual for studio apprentices.
Scrimshaw is a technique of stippling and scratching on fossil ivory, horn, and bone. Its roots lie in the traditional art of whaling men of the 18th and 19th centuries, but it has developed as a recognized art form. Today, fine scrimshaw miniatures adorn handcrafted knives, jewelry, billiard cues, cigarette lighters, and many other objects. With over 700 photos, this book presents a history of scrimshaw, provides instruction on carving and decorating beautiful scrimshaw, and displays a gallery of 45 international artists. Their fascinating work gives carvers inspiration. This unique book gives artists, collectors, and everyone interested in scrimshaw a great reference.
Sausalito, Marin County, California
The Scrimshaw Gallery, home of a vast selection of nautical art, scrimshaw, paintings and prints, knives, sculptures and other collectibles. We invite you to browse through our treasure trove of nautical artwork by established and emerging artists. We are dedicated to bringing fine art to the experienced collector as well as introducing the fine art of collecting to the novice collector.
Hudson's Merchants and Whalers: The Rise and Fall of a River Port, 1783-1850
Margaret B. Schram
The City of Hudson, NY, 120 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, founded in 1783 by seafaring Quakers from Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and New Bedford who transformed a sleepy boat landing at the head of navigation on the Hudson River into a booming city and a bustling port that rivaled New York City. 200 Illustrations.
Petticoat Whalers: Whaling Wives at Sea, 1820-1920
The author offers an informed account of little known stories of wives of whaling captains who accompanied their husbands on long, arduous journeys to bring whale oil and blubber to New England. By 1850 roughly a sixth of all whaling vessels carried the captains' wives. Invariably the only woman aboard a very cramped ship, they endured harsh conditions to provide companionship for their husbands, and sometimes even exerted a strong unofficial moral influence on a rowdy crew. Joan Druett provides captivating portraits of many of these wives and the difficult circumstances they endured. Petticoat Whalers, first published in New Zealand in 1991, has been out of print since 1995.
The Captain's Best Mate:
The Journal of Mary Chipman Lawrence on the Whaler Addison, 1856-1860
Mary Chipman Lawrence
This story is the actual journal kept by Whaling Captain Samuel Lawrence's wife Mary who accompanied him for more than three years on the whaler Addison. The Lawrence's daughter, five-year-old daughter Minnie also accompanied them. Mary talks about life and death on the whaler and all of their adventures. Sailors traveled from New England to the Pacific, Arctic and in between looking for whales.
Victorinox Swiss Army Officers Chronograph with Knife
Victorinox History: Karl Elsener opened a knife cutler's workshop in Ibach-Schwyz and established the Association of Swiss Master Cutlers. He delivered the first major supply of soldier's knives to the Swiss Army. In 1921. The invention of stainless steel was a significant development for the cutlery industry. “Inox” is the international term for stainless steel. The combination of the two words “Victoria” and “Inox” gives the name of the company and brand today – Victorinox. By 1945, U.S. soldiers stationed in Europe bought the Swiss Army Knife in large quantities in part as a souvenir to take home.