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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2289505
There are many risks in whaling.

Can only mean one thing when you're crossing the ocean on a whaling ship. Without thinking I dove off the cabin top to land flat on the deck. The ship tacked quickly to starboard with the aft boom only missing the cabin top by a couple of feet as it swung across like a scythe taking down a row of corn. I'd have been the corn if not for the warning.

Getting to my feet, I looked for my savior. It was Mr. Chase, the first mate.

"Many thanks to thee sir," I shouted.

"Your jump was the right thing to do Tom", Mr Chase replied. "Good thinking for a young cabin boy."

So began our friendship.

We'd rounded the horn and were now working our way up to the whaling grounds. Wasn't a lot to do until we reached them, so I was able to spend time with Mr. Chase.

Mr. Chase often took up his pen to make entries in a journal. One day my curiosity spoke up.

"What are you writing about all the time," I asked.

"I'm hoping this might be my last time at sea," Mr. Chase said. "When we return, I want to write a book about whaling, so I'm keeping track of what I see, and what we all do."

In the end, the ship didn't return, and neither did most of the crew. There was a whale that was also a hunter.


References: Today's story is a fictionalized account of the meeting of Owen Chase, the first mate, and Tom Nickerson, a cabin boy, on the whaling ship Essex. Both wrote accounts of the sinking of the Essex by a whale. Their accounts provided material for Nathaniel Philbrick's award winning "In the Heart of the Sea".
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