crushes it as if it was an egg-shell. A sperm-whale will do all this, and
more too ; he takes a boat in his mouth, and chews it, which the others
never do. And when he chews it, he makes fine work of it, I can tell you,
and short work, too.
LOSS OF THE "ESSEX."
" Sometimes lie takes a sliy at a ship, and rushes at it, head on. Two
ships are known to have been sunk in this way ; one of them was the
Essex, which the whale ran into three times, and broke her timbers so
that she filled. The crew took to the boats, and made for the coast of
South America. One boat was never heard from, one readied the coast,
"THEBE SHE BLUM'S !"
THE BOY TRAVELLERS,
and the third was picked up near Valparaiso with everybody dead but
two, and those barely alive. Provisions and water had given out, and
another day would have finished the poor fellows. Another ship was the
I 'ni<in, which was stove right under the bows by a single blow from a
sperm-whale, and went down in half an hour.
" I was fifteen years old when I pulled my first oar in a whale-boat :
I was boat-steerer at eighteen, and second mate at twenty, and before
I was twenty-one I had known what it was to be in the mouth of :i
sperm-whale. It is hardly necessary to say that I got out of it as fast
as I could, and didn't stop to see if my hair was combed and my shirt-
collar buttoned. A man has no time to put on frills under such circum-
" The way of it was this. The lookout in the cross-trees we always
keep a man up aloft to look out for whales when we're on cruising
ground the man had called out, ' There she blows !' and everybody was
on his feet in an instant.
A f \ ; T\ "'Where away?' shouted the first
r N Mr V mate -
)" 'Two points on the weather bow.'
" And before the words had done
echoing he called out ' There she blows '
again, and a moment after again. That
meant that he had seen two more whales.
" We put two boats into the water,
the first mate's and mine, and away we
went. We pulled our best, and the boats
fairly bounced through the- waves. It was
a race to see who could strike the first
whale ; we had a good half mile to go,
and we went like race-horses.
F.ach boat has six men in her a
boat-steerer, as he is called, and live at
(the oars. The boat-steerer handles the
\ harpoon and lance and directs the whole
movement ; in fact, for the time he is
(.qitain of the boat.
' The first mate's boat headed me a
little, and made for a big fellow on the
starboard. I went for another, and we
struck almost at the same instant. With-
IMPLEMENTS USED IN
STRIKING A WHALE.
in three boat-lengths, I stood up, braced ray feet firmly, poised my har-
poon, and made ready to strike. The whale didn't know we were about,
and was taking it very easy. The bow of the boat w r as about ten feet
from his black skin when I sent the iron spinning and whizzing away,
and buried it deep in his flesh. Didn't he give a jump ! You can bet
" ' Starn all ! starn all ! for your lives !' I yelled.
" There wasn't a moment lost, and the boat went back by the force
of the strong arms of the men."
" The whale lashed about and then ' breached ;' that is, he threw his
great body out of the water, giving me a chance to get in a second har-
poon. Then he sounded that is, he went down and the lines ran out
so fast that the side of the boat fairly smoked when they went over. He
ran off two hundred fathoms of line before he stopped, and then we felt
the line slack and knew he would soon be up again.
" Up he came not a hundred yards from where he went down, and as
he came up he caught sight of the boat. He went for it as a cat goes for
" The sperm-whale can't see straight ahead, as his eyes are set far back,
and seem to be almost on his sides. He turns partly round to get a glimpse
of a boat, then ports his helm, drops his jaw, calculates his distance, and
THK BOY TUAVKU.KKS.
goes ahead at full speed. His jaw is set very low, and sometimes lie turns
over, or partly over, to strike his blow.
" This time he whirled and took the bow of the boat in his mouth,
crushing it as though it had been made of paper. We jumped out, the
oars flew all around us, the sea was a mass of foam, and the whale chewed
the boat as though it was a piece of sugar-candy and he hadn't seen any
for a month.
" We were all in the water, and nobody hurt. The first mate's boat
had killed its whale inside of ten minutes, and before he tried to sound.
They left the whale and came to pick us up; then they hurried ;m<l made
fast to him, as another ship was coming up alongside of ours, and we might
lose our game. It is a rule of the sea that you lose your claim to a whale
when- you let go, even though you may have killed him. Hang on to him
and he's yours, though you may hang with only a trout-line and a minnow-
hook. It's been so decided in the courts.
" The captain sent another boat from the ship, and we soon had the
satisfaction of seeing my whale dead on the water. He got the lance
right in his vitals, and went into his 'flurry,' as we call it. The flurry is
IN THK WHM.U S JAW.
SIZE OF WHALES. 65
the whale's convulsive movements just before death, and sometimes he
does great damage as he thrashes about."
Frank wished to know how large the whale was, and how large whales
u We don't reckon whales by their length," Captain SpofFord answered,
" but by the number of barrels of oil they make. Ask any old captain
how long the largest whale was that he ever took, and the chances are he'll
begin to estimate by the length of his ship, and frankly tell you he never
measured one. I measured the largest sperm-whale I ever took, and found
him seventy-nine feet long; he made a hundred and seven barrels of oil.
Here's the figures of him : nose to neck, twenty-six feet ; neck to hump,
twenty-nine feet ; hump to tail, seventeen feet ; tail, seven feet. His tail
was sixteen feet across, and he was forty-one feet six inches around the body.
He had fifty-one teeth, and the heaviest weighed twenty -five ounces. We
took nineteen barrels of oil from his case, the inside of the head, where we
dipped it out with a bucket. I know one captain that captured a sperm-
whale ninety feet long, that made a hundred and thirty-seven barrels, and
there was another sperm taken by the ship Monka, of Kew Bedford, that
made a hundred and forty-five barrels. I don't know how long he was.
" There's a wonderful deal of excitement in fastening to a whale, and
having a fight with him. You have the largest game that a hunter could
ask for; you have the cool pure air of the ocean, and the blue waters all
about you. A thrill goes through every nerve as you rise to throw the
sharp iron into the monster's side, and the thrill continues when he plunges
wildly about, and sends the line whistling over. He sinks, and he rises
again ; he dashes away to- windward, and struggles to escape ; you hold
him fast, and, large as he is in proportion to yourself, you feel that he must
yield to you, though, perhaps; not till after a hard battle. At length he
lies exhausted, and you approach for the final blow with the lance. An-
other thrilling moment, another, and another; and if fortune is in your
favor, your prize is soon motionless before yon. And the man who cannot
feel an extra beat of his pulse at such a time must be made of cooler stuff
than the most of us.
" But you don't get all the whales you see, by a long shot. Many a
whale gets away before you can fasten to him, and many another whale,
after you have laid on and fastened, will escape you. He sinks, and tears
the iron loose; he runs aw r ay to windward ten or twenty miles an hour,
and you must cut the line to save your lives; he smashes the boat, and
perhaps kills some of his assailants ; he dies below the surface, and when
he dies there he stays below, and you lose him; and sometimes he shows
(JO THE BUY TRAVELLERS.
such an amount of toughness that he seems to bear a charmed life. ANY
fight him with harpoon and lance, and in these later days they have an in-
vention called the bomb-lance or whaling-gun. A bomb-shell is thrown
into him with a gun like a large musket, and it explodes down among his
vitals. There's another gun that is fastened to the shaft of a harpoon, and
goes off when the whale tightens the line ; and there's another that throws
a lance half-way through him. "Well, there are whales that can stand all
tlu->e things and live.
" Captain Hunting, of New Bedford, had the worst fight that I know
of, while he was on a cruise in the South Atlantic. "When he struck the
fellow it was a tough old bull that had been through fights before, I
reckon the whale didn't try to escape, but turned on the boat, bit her in
two, and kept on thrashing the wreck till he broke it up completely. An-
other boat picked up the men and took them to the ship, and then two
other boats went in on him. Each of them got in two irons, and that made
him mad ; he turned around and chewed those boats, and he stuck closely
to business until there wasn't a mouthful left. The twelve swimmers
(JA1TA1N HUNTINGS F1UI1T.
STOUY OF CAPTAIN HUNTING.
A GAJ1K FELLOW.
were picked np by the boat which had taken the first lot to the ship ; two
of the men had climbed on his back, and he didn't seem to mind them.
He kept on chewing away at the oars, sails, masts, planks, and other frag-
ments of the boats; and whenever anything touched his body, he turned
and munched a. way at it. There he was with six harpoons in him, and
each harpoon had three hundred fathoms of line attached to it. Captain
Hunting got out two spare boats, and started with them and the saved
boat to renew the fight. He got alongside and sent a bomb-lance
charged with six inches of powder right into the whale's vitals, just back
of his fin. When the lance was fired, he turned and tore through the
boat like a hurricane, scattering everything. The sun was setting, four
boats were gone with all their gear and twelve hundred fathoms of line,
the spare boats were poorly provided, the men were wearied and dis-
couraged, and Captain Hunting hauled off and admitted himself beaten
by a whale."
The nondescript individual whom we saw among the passengers early
in the voyage had joined the party, and heard the story of Captain Hunt-
68 THE BOY TRAVELLERS.
ing's whale. When it was ended, he ventured to say something on the
subject of whaling.
"That wasn't a circumstance,'' he remarked. " to the great whale that
used to hang around the Philippine Islands. He was reckoned to be a
king, as all the other whales took off their hats to him, and used to get
down on their front knees when he came around. His skin was like
leather, and he was stuck so full of harpoons that he looked like* a porcu-
pine under a magnify ing-glass. Every ship that saw him used to put an
iron into him, and I reckon you could get up a good history of the whale-
fishery if you could read the ships' names on all of them irons. Lots of
whalers fought with him, but he always came out first best. Captain
Suimiiis of the Ananias had the closest acquaintance with him, and the
way he tells it is this :
" ' We'd laid into him, and his old jaw came up and bit off the bow of
the boat. As he bit he gave a fling, like, and sent me up in the air; and
when I came down, there was the whale, end up and mouth open waiting
for me. His throat looked like a whitewashed cellar-door; but I saw his
teeth were wore smooth down to the gums, and that gave me some con-
solation. When I struck his throat he snapped for me, but I had good
headway, and disappeared like a piece of cake in a family of children.
When I was splashing against the soft sides of his stomach, I heard his
jaws snapping like the flapping of a mainsail.
" ' I was rather used up and tired out, and a little bewildered, and so I
sat down on the southwest corner of his liver, and crossed my legs while I
got my wits together. It wasn't dark down there, as there was ten thou-
CAPTAIN SAMMIS'S ADVENTURE. 69
sand of them little sea jellies shin in' there, like second-hand stars, in the
wrinkles of his stomach, and then there was lots of room too. By-an'-by,
while I was lookin' round, I saw a black patch on the starboard side of his
stomach, and went over to examine it. There I found printed in injey ink,
in big letters, " Jonah, B.C. 1607." Then I knew where I was, and I be-
gan to feel real bad.
" ' I opened my tobacco-box to take a mouthful of fine-cut to steady
my nerves. I suppose my hand was a little unsteady ; anyhow, I dropped
some of the tobacco on the floor of the whale's stomach. It gave a con-
vulsive jump, and I saw at once the whale wasn't used to it. I picked up
a jack-knife I saw layin' on the floor, and cut a plug of tobacco into fine
snuff, and scattered it around in the little wrinkles in the stomach. You
should have seen how the medicine worked. The stomach began to heave
as though a young earthquake had opened up under it, and then it squirmed
and twisted, and finally turned wrong side out, and flopped me into the
sea. The mate's boat was there picking up the men from the smashed
boat, and just as they had given me up for lost they saw me and took me
in. They laughed when I told them of the inside of the whale, and the
printin' I saw there ; but when I showed them the old jack-knife with the
American eagle on one side and Jonah's name on the other, they stopped
laughin' and looked serious. It is always well to have something on hand
when you are tellin' a true story, and that knife w r as enough,'
" That same captain," he continued, " was once out for a whale, but
when they killed him, they were ten miles from the ship. The captain
got on the dead whale, and sent the boat back to let the ship know where
they were. After they had gone, a storm came on and drove the ship
away, and there the captain stayed three w r eeks. He stuck an oar into
the whale to hang on to, and the third week a ship hove in sight. As he
didn't know what she was, he hoisted the American flag, which he hap-
pened to have a picture of on his pocket-handkerchief; and pretty soon
the ship hung out her colors, and her captain came on board. Captain
Sam mis was tired of the monotony of life on a whale, and so he sold out
his interest to the visitor. He got half the oil and a passage to Honolulu,
where he found his own craft all right."
"You say he remained three weeks on the back of that whale," said
one of the listeners.
"Yes, I said three weeks."
" Well, how did he live all that time?"
" How can I tell ?" was the reply ; " that's none of my business.
Probably he took his meals at the nearest restaurant and slept at home.
THE BOY TKAVKLLKKS.
CAI'TAIX SAMMIS SELLING OUT.
And if you don't believe my story, I can't help it I've done the best I
With this remark he rose and walked away. It was agreed that there
was a certain air of improbability about his narrations, and Frank vent-
ured the suggestion that the stranger would never get into trouble on
account of telling too much truth.
They had a curiosity to know something about the man. Doctor
Bronson questioned the purser and ascertained that he was entered on
the passenger-list as Mr. A. of America ; but whence he came, or what was
his business, no one could tell. He had spoken to but few persons since
they left port, and the bulk of his conversation had been devoted to
stories like those about the whaling business.
In short, he was a riddle no one could make out ; and very soon he
received from the other passengers the nickname of " The Mystery."
Fred suggested that Mystery and Mr. A. were so nearly alike that the one
name was as good as the other.
While they were discussing him, he returned suddenly and said :
"The Captain says there are indications of a water-spout to-morrow;
and perhaps we may be destroyed by it."
SHOOTING AT A WATER-SPOUT.
With these words he withdrew, and was not seen any more that even-
ing. Fred wished to know what a w T ater-spout was like, and was promptly
set at rest by the Doctor.
" A water-spout," the latter remarked, " is often seen in the tropics, but
rarely in this latitude. The clouds lie quite close to the water, and there
appears to be a whirling motion to the latter; then the cloud and the sea
beneath it become united by a column of water, and this column is what
we call a water-spout. It is generally believed that the water rises, through
this spout, from the sea to the clouds, and sailors are fearful of coming
near them lest their ships may be deluged and sunk. They usually en-
deavor to destroy them by firing guns at them, and this was done on
board a ship where I was once a passenger. When the ball struck the
spout, there was a fall of water sufficient to have sunk us if we had been
beneath it, and we all felt thankful that we had escaped the danger."
THE BUY TKAVELLKKS.
ARRIVAL IN JAPAN.
great ship steamed onward, day after day and night after night.
There was no storm to break the monotony ; no sail showed itself
on the horizon ; no one left the steamer, and no new-comers appeared ;
nobody saw fit to quarrel with any one else ; and there was not a pas-
senger who showed a disposition to quarrel with his surroundings. Sto-
ries were told and songs were sung, to while away the time; and, finally,
<>n the twentieth day, the captain announced that they were approaching
land, and the voyage would soon be over.
Our young travellers had found a daily interest in the instruments by
which a mariner ascertains his ship's position. Frank had gone so far as
to borrow the captain's extra copy of "Bowditch's Navigator " and study
it at odd intervals, and after a little while he comprehended the uses of
the various instruments employed in finding a way over the trackless
ocean. He gave Fred a short lecture on the subject, which was some-
thing like the following:
"Of course, you know, Fred, all about the mariner's compass, which
points towards the north, and always tells where north is. Now, if we
know where north is, we can find south, east, and west without much
Fred admitted the claim, and repeated the formula he had learned at
school : Face towards the north, and back towards the south ; the right
hand east, and the left hand west.
" Xow," continued Frank, "there are thirty-two points of the compass;
do you know them ?"
Fred shook his head ; and then Frank explained that the four he had
named were the cardinal points, while the other twenty-eight were the
divisions between the cardinal points. One of the first duties of a sailor
was to " box the compass," that is, to be able to name all these divisions.
"Let me hear you box the compass, Frank," said Doctor Bronson, who
was standing near.
BOXING THE COMPASS.
FUAXK STUDYING NAVIGATION.
"Certainly, I can," Frank answered, and then began: "North, north
by east, north-northeast, northeast by north, northeast, northeast by east,
east-northeast, east by north, east
" That will do," said the Doctor ; " you have given one quadrant, or a
quarter of the circle ; I'm sure you can do the rest easilj 7 , for it goes on in
the same way."
" You see," Frank continued, " that you know by the compass exactly
in what direction you are going; then, if you know how many miles you
go in a day or an hour, you can calculate your place at sea.
"That mode of calculation is called 'dead -reckoning,' and is quite
simple, but it isn't very safe."
"Why so?" Fred asked.
74 THE BOY TRAVELLERS.
"Because it is impossible to steer a ship with absolute accuracy when
she is rolling and pitching about, and, besides, the winds make her drift a
little to one side. Then there are currents that take her off her course,
and sometimes they are very strong."
" Yes, I know," Fred replied ; " there's the Gulf Stream, in the Atlantic
Ocean, everybody has heard of; it is a great river in the sea, and fim\>
north at the rate of three or four miles an hour."
"There's another river like it in the Pacific Ocean," Frank explained ;
" it is called the Japan Current, because it flows close to the coast of Japan.
It goes through Behring Strait into the Arctic Ocean, and then it comes
south by the coast of Greenland, and down by Newfoundland. That's
what brings the icebergs south in the Atlantic, and puts them in the way
of the steamers between New York and Liverpool.
" On account of the uncertainty of dead-reckoning, the captain doesn't
rely on it except when the fog is so thick that he can't get an observa-
" What is that ?"
" Observing the positions of the sun and moon, and of certain stars
with relation to each other. That is done with the quadrant and sextant ;
and then they use a chronometer, or clock, that tells exactly what the time
is at Greenwich. Then, you see, this book is full of figures that look like
multiplication-tables; and with these figures they 'work out their posi-
tion ;' that is, they find out where they are. Greenwich is near London,
and all the tables are calculated from there."
" But suppose a sailor was dropped down here suddenly, without
knowing what ocean he was in ; could he find out where he was without
anybody telling him?"
"Certainly ; with the instruments I have named, the tables of figure.-.
and a clear sky, so as to give good observations, he could determine his
position with absolute accuracy. He gets his latitude by observing the
sun at noon, and he gets his longitude by the chronometer and by obser-
vations of the moon. When he knows his latitude and longitude, he
knows where he is, and can mark the place on the map."
Fred opened his eyes with an expression of astonishment, and said he
thought the science of navigation was something wonderful.
The others agreed with him ; and while they were discussing the
advantages which it had given to the world, there was a call that sent
them on deck at once.
" Land, ho !" from the lookout forward.
" Land, ho !" from the officer near the wheel-house.
V.OKK1NG Ul> A RECKONING.
" Land, ho !" from the captain, as he emerged from his room, just aft
of the wheel. " Where away ?"
" Dead ahead, sir," replied the officer. " 'Tis Fusiyama, sir."
The boys looked in the direction indicated, but could see nothing.
This is not surprising, when we remember that sailors' eyes are accus-
tomed to great distances, and can frequently see objects distinctly long
before landsmen can make them out.
But by-and-by they could distinguish the outline of a cone, white as
a cloud and nearly as shadowy. It was the Holy Mountain of Japan, and
they recognized the picture they had seen so many times upon Japanese
fans and other objects. As they watched it, the form grew more and
THE BOY TRAVELLERS.
more distinct, and after a time they no longer doubted that they looked
"Just to think," Fred exclaimed, "when we left San Francisco, we
steered for this mountain, five thousand miles away, and here it is, right
before us. Navigation is a wonderful science, and no mistake."
As the ship went on, the mountain grew more and more distinct, and
l>y-and-by other features of Japanese scenery were brought into view.
The western horizon became a serrated line, that formed an agreeable con-
trast to the unbroken curve they had looked upon so many days; and as
the sun went down, it no longer dipped into the sea and sank beneath the
waves. All on board the ship were fully aware they were approaching
During the night they passed Cape King and entered Yeddo bay.
The great light-house that watches the entrance shot its rays far out over
the waters and beamed a kindly welcome to the strangers. Slowly they
steamed onward, keeping a careful lookout for the numerous boats and
junks that abound there, and watching the hundreds of lights that gleamed
along the shore and dotted the sloping hill -sides. Sixty miles from
VIEW IN THK BAY OF YEDDO.
SIGHTS IN YEDDO BAY.
Cape King, they were in front of Yokohama ; the engines stopped, the
anchor fell, the chain, rattled through the hawse-hole, and the ship was at
rest, after her long journey from San Francisco. Our young adventurers
were in Japan.
With the first streak of dawn the boys were on deck, where they were
joined by Doctor Bronson. The sun was just rising when the steamer
dropped her anchor, and, consequently, their first day in the new country
.was begun very early. There was an abundance of sights for the young