Life on the Ocean, Or Thirty-Five Years at Sea, Being the Personal Adventures of the Author.

Biography of a Nantucket/New Bedford whaleman and merchant seaman who shipped for the Pacific aboard the Planter in 1847. Although a short book it has several references to the monotony of sea life. The following are typical and repetitive. (p.143): Most of the time during the past thirty-five days we have had moderate winds, and nothing has occurred to interrupt the usual routine of duty and the monotony of a sea life. (p. 146): As usual in a long course of fair winds and pleasant weather, nothing occurred to interrupt the monotony except for the excitement produced by the anticipation of our seeing dear friends once more, which served as a general topic of conversation in the forecastle and amongst the officers. (p. 219): During the ten following days, nothing of moment transpired to disturb the monotony which is usual on board a passenger steamship. [Paddack lapses towards the end when he says “There is always something to be seen, and life is never monotonous” (p. 236).

p. 4: Between this time and the day appointed for sailing, my mother provided me with a sea-chest, well stocked with clothing, small stores, books, and such other matters as she thought necessary for my comfort.

p. 20-22, Sunday, August 1, 1847: …some captains are so conscientious that they will not lower for whales on Sunday. The men occupy their time in reading, smoking, and mending their clothes. If the weather is pleasant, they bring their work and their books on deck, and sit down upon the forecastle and windlass. This is the only day on which these privileges are allowed them.

p. 47, Abingdon Island, enroute to the Galapagos Islands: December 14 [1847]. This day was spent like all pleasant Sundays at sea. The decks were washed down, the rigging all coiled up, and everything put in order. The men were all dressed up in their clean clothes, and occupied themselves in reading, mending their clothes, smoking, etc.

p. 86-87, burial at sea after a whale killed one of the sailors by smashing the whaleboat: After the crew assembled, Captain Hussey commenced the reading of the service of the Episcopal Church. There was a moment’s pause as he came to the sentence, “We now commit his body to the deep.” It was read, a deep splash was heard, and the body of our poor shipmate sank beneath the blue wave, there to rest until the sea shall give up its dead….

p. 97, another burial service.

p. 109, Sunday, October 3: A sailor is literally a jack-of-all-trades. On Sundays the men in the forecastle are at work, some making or mending shoes, some cutting out clothing, hats, and caps; some occupy their time in reading, while others are learning navigation, etc. [We never learn what it was they were reading.]