Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anniversary: Moby Dick Strikes

On this day in 1820, the whaleship Essex was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale. The crew endured a horrible ordeal over the days and weeks to come - most perished and survivors resorted to cannibalism. Nathaniel Philbrick tells the fascinating story in his book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. Herman Melville based Moby-Dick in part on the account of the Essex's First Mate.

(image credit: Sail Plan of the Whaleship Essex, sketch by Len Tantillo, nathanielphilbrick.com)