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The Natural History of the Sperm Whale: To Which Is Added a Sketch of a South-Sea Whaling Voyage

Biography / MemoirNew Edition

Series: Cambridge Library Collection - Polar Exploration

By: Thomas Beale (Author)

476 pages, 7 b/w illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Oct 2016 | Edition: 2 | #221111 | ISBN-13: 9781108081498
Available for pre-order: Due Oct 2016 Details
NHBS Price: £28.99 $35/€32 approx

About this book

A reprint of a classical work in the Cambridge Library Collection.

The ship's surgeon Thomas Beale (1807–49) wrote a short account in 1835 of his experiences in the 'whale fishery' and in particular of the natural history and ecology of the sperm whale. In 1839, he followed this up with a longer account of the anatomy and physiology of the whale, its habits and its food, and the valuable spermaceti and ambergris which made it one of the most prized catches in the industry. He added a detailed account of one whaling voyage in which he participated, roaming across the Pacific from Kamchatka to Hawaii. He encountered missionaries who he believed exercised tyranny over the native peoples, survived a typhoon, and came close to being shipwrecked on more than one occasion. The Natural History of the Sperm Whale contains both works, providing a fascinating account of whaling in its heyday, including the gruesome task of flensing, or cutting up of the whale carcass.


Note on the second edition

Part I: Introductory remarks
1. External form and peculiarities of the sperm whale
2. Habits of the sperm whale
3. Swimming
4. Breathing
5. Other actions of the sperm whale
6. Herding, and other particulars of the sperm whale
7. Nature of the sperm whale's food
8. Anatomy and physiology of the sperm whale
9. Of spermaceti, etc
10. Of ambergris
11. Rise and progress of the sperm whale fishery
12. Description of the boats, with the various instruments employed in the capture of the sperm whale
13. Chase and capture of the sperm whale
14. Of the 'cutting in' and 'trying out'
15. Of the favourite places of resort of the sperm whale

Part II. Sketch of a South-Sea Whaling Voyage: Introductory remarks
1. Departure from England
2. Along the shore of Peru
3. Arrive at Paita
4. Leave Monte Christa
5. Arrive at Owhyhee
6. Departure for the whale fishery
7. Departure for New Guinea
8. Make sail for the Ladrone islands
9. Arrive at the Ladrone islands
10. We are overtaken by a hurricane
11. Happiness of the crew
12. Leave the Sandwich islands

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