20 February, 2020

    Real Moby Dick: A killer whale who has attacked whalers for nearly 30 years

    Near the coast of Chile there is the island of Mocha (Mocha), which the Mapuche Indians still consider sacred. They believe that it is here that the souls of all the dead meet and from here begins their journey into the afterlife. And they are collected by whales, in which four women living on the island turn at night.

    Drawing of the island of Mocha

    Myths, in which the main characters were whales, arose not just like that: sperm whales were regularly seen on the island. Moreover, thanks to these marine giants, the most famous literary whale appeared - Moby Dick. It was off the coast of Mocha that they first saw a white whale that attacked whalers.

    In general, the island of Mocha was known among sailors and pirates. Here they exchanged steel for food, and often stopped for several days. For the first time in this area they saw a white whale in 1810, it was nicknamed Mocha Dik by the name of the island.

    1841 illustration of the dangers that await whalers

    At first, the marine giant was very friendly: he sailed peacefully near the ships. It was a huge albino sperm whale, which was much larger than its relatives. However, at one point, whalers tried to attack him, and the white whale fought back. He was so aggressive that he broke entire ships. Moreover, Mocha-Dick was also very agile: he had an incredible ability to elude even the most experienced whalers.

    Of course, his habits with his unusual appearance turned the whale into a real legend. The whalers who sailed into these areas of the Pacific always wondered if there was any news of the white sperm whale. It caused both fear and respect among sailors.

    The attack on the "Essex", a drawing of the youth of Thomas Nickerson

    In total, there were more than a hundred attacks on the account of Mocha-Dick, the meeting with him was the last for at least thirty people. But the most famous collision occurred in 1820 with the Essex: only a few movements, and the whale crashed the ship like an egg shell. The attack was intentional: seeing the Essex, the sperm whale accelerated and crashed into one side, and then, diving under it, stepped out on the other side and dealt another blow. Next came an attack on the bow of the ship, and the sailors had no choice but to flee in three boats. For three months they wandered around the Pacific Ocean, and more than half of them died. The boats were divided, and only two of them were found, in total eight people out of twenty sailors were saved. This story is about hard survival and incredible difficulties.

    In the end, Mocha Dick was killed 28 years after he made the first attack, in 1838. The sailors said that he came to the aid of a female sperm whale, who went crazy after the whalers killed her cub. Nineteen harpoons with whom he swam in the ocean were counted in the body of the whale, and its size exceeded the previously killed sperm whales: it was 26 meters long, and usually these whales reach a maximum of 20 meters.

    When Herman Melville heard this story, he met one of the sons of a sailor who was lucky enough to survive the attack on the Essex. The young man gave the writer notes of his father. Melville himself served on a whalership, and while he went to sea, read these notes and was inspired. Later, the writer met with the captain of Essex, and his story formed the basis of the novel Moby Dick, or the White Whale, which became the pinnacle of American romanticism. This story was filmed several times, the last of the films was released in 2015: the main role in the film "In the Heart of the Sea" is played by Chris Hemsworth.

    Watch the video: In the Heart of the Sea - "The Myth of Moby-Dick" Featurette (February 2020).

    Leave Your Comment