Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Killer Whales Have Replaced Sperm Whales To Attack Ships in a an Essex Deja Vu


In a déjà vu for the Nantucket based whaling ship the Essex  in August 1819 set sail on her 7th trip
The first six voyages had generated for the owner and the crew many dollars in profits
On the 20th of November in the Pacific Ocean the middle of nowhere
A sperm whale decided the Essex had no right to be there
Rammed the ship’s bow twice times so it would sink
The crew of 20 escaped into the 3 whale boats with little provisions to eat or drink
Landed on uninhabited Henderson Island with little food sources and water and after a month 17 of them elected to leave and 3 elected to stay
Fearing cannibals the 17 were fearful of islands that would have assisted them but instead stayed away
Running low on provisions and no land in sight crew members started to die
Buried at sea to Davey Jones Locker with new bodies to supply
Soon the dwindling band of survivors decided that burying a corpse at sea was a waste
Resorted to the cannibalism to a man they feared
When a man died there were shed no tears
If anything enough calories to keep a man alive for a few more days hoping another whaler would appear
In the end the dwindling band resorted to killing one of the living as starvation neared
Of the 21 seamen who sailed from Nantucket, one jumped ship before the sinking and disappeared
Of the 20 seamen who left the sinking Essex, only 8 survived—3 who on Henderson Island elected to stay
Along with 5 rescued who left Henderson after the sinking on 88th and 93rd day
Today pleasure craft off the Gibraltar coast since 2020 have reported 700 encounters with killer whales
The most recent attack occurred this Sunday on the 50 foot long Alboran Cognac sunk but the 2 crewmen were rescued in the busy shipping lane to boast of their tale

© May 14, 2024 Michael P. Ridley aka The Alaskanpoet


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