Mark Well the Whale! Long Island Ships to Distant Seas.

A rather light bit of local history re Cold Spring Harbor and whaling out of Long Island, incl. Sag Harbor, and descriptions of voyages and disasters.

p. 25: The seamen and greenhands who signed on were often a wretched lot in search of either a quick dollar or a bit of adventure. Almost half the crew of the Monmouth, sailing in 1851, was illiterate, which was often the rule. Some of the crewmen were juvenile delinquents, drunkards or deranged, while others were wharf rats of the worst variety, recruited by agents in the bars and brothels which lined the New York waterfront….

p. 53: When fortunate enough to ‘knock off’ on a Sunday or holiday, the crew prayed from Bibles or psalm books or reread old newspapers, magazines, books and letters from home. And perhaps they would ‘line their insides’ with a good dinner, then read some more, lounge on deck if the weather was pleasant, or just lie in their bunks.

p. 55: Every captain had to keep an official ship’s log, which was generally filled with dull, terse entries relating to the weather, ship’s course or working of the sails. But many of the literate mates, and even a few of the seamen, kept private journals in which they entered their own personal feelings and thoughts of the many interesting happenings which occurred during a particular voyage….