|Ships:||Sailing ( 1)|
Herman Melville (born Melvill; August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period. Among his best-known works are Typee (1846), a romantic account of his experiences of Polynesian life, and his masterpiece Moby-Dick (1851).
Melville was born in New York City, the third child of a merchant. Typee, his first book, was followed by a sequel, Omoo (1847). Both were successful and gave him the financial basis to marry Elizabeth Shaw, a daughter of a prominent Boston family. His first novel not based on his own experiences, Mardi (1849), was not well received. His next fictional work, Redburn (1849), and his non-fiction White-Jacket (1850) were given better reviews but did not provide financial security. (Source: Wikipedia)
To read more about Herman Melville's journey in Seaport, check his storylines.
Ahoy, captain! Welcome to New York. I'm glad to meet you as I've been looking for direction in life since graduating from university. Maybe I will try to become a sailor…
Let's go for lunch! I want to hear more of your stories and discuss my ideas with you. Do you think being a sailor might be the path for me?
My older brother, Gansevoort, agrees with my plan to go on a voyage to widen my horizons. Would you and your men like to join me on this quest? I will need to get some more sturdy clothing.
I am trying to find a ship for us, but it is tough to do so while still having to work. Could I get a short-term loan so I can fully focus on the task?
|5||Ship St. Lawrence|
I found a merchant ship called St. Lawrence and signed up as a green hand! It will go from New York to Liverpool. I'm really happy you will join me on my first-ever voyage. Let's celebrate!
We have finally arrived in Liverpool. This voyage was way more difficult than I initially thought. I don't feel the sailors have accepted me. We should get some repairs done while we are docked.
We were about to set out on our voyage back to New York, but St. Lawrence's anchor got damaged. We need to get a new one quickly so we won't be behind the schedule.
|8||Back in New York|
I am very glad that we have arrived back in New York. Interacting with the sailors was a bit of a struggle. I'm going to look for a job, maybe my uncle can help. I will see you soon, captain.
Welcome back captain, let's catch up! I got a job teaching at a local school after you left but after a full semester, I didn't receive a single cent. I'm struggling, could I borrow some money?
Let's go for dinner! After the teaching fiasco, my friend James Murdock and I traveled to Illinois to see if my uncle Thomas could help us find a job. We were unsuccessful, but I'm still glad I went.
We sailed up the Mississippi to get there, observing the simpler frontier life, communities on the edge of civilization. We stopped at one of them and helped a man build a cabin for his family.
We had an issue with our ship, so we had to camp out on the frontier for a few nights. Being out there made us realize our calling; returning to the sea. We fixed the ship and headed back to New York.
Now that we are back, Murdock and I will look for a whaler to work on. I have grown a lot since my first voyage. Would you and your crew like to come with me again?
|14||Finding a ship|
The Acushnet is going on a whaling voyage, so I signed us all up. We will need both lighter and warmer clothes as the voyage lasts a year and goes all around the world.
We are almost ready to set out on the Acushnet voyage! Murdock and I fell out and he will not be coming with us. There are just some final reinforcements to be done, could you supply the materials?
|16||Long road ahead|
We are going to sail from New York around Cape Horn, the southernmost point of South America, to get into the South Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, we should make some extra tools.
After seeing the whales and not being able to capture them, we finally caught our first one off the coast of Chile! Let's open some wine and celebrate before we have to process the whale.
After the celebrations, we now have to process the whale. We use large knives to cut it up before boiling it, but we need more of them as they keep breaking. Could you get some made?
Now that we've finally cut the whale up after two days, we will now boil it to get the oil and store it in barrels. We get more money for each barrel that we fill at the end of the voyage.
|20||Docking in Chile|
After four months we have finally docked to re-supply. Being out on the sea for so long is tough for me, mentally. Anyway, let's go get some fresh dinner, I don't even want to see salted beef anymore.
Before we get going again, we ought to pay some of the locals to clean the whaling deck. All the whale oil spillage makes it dangerously slippery.
Even though the whaling has been successful, I've been feeling depressed out on the sea. I'm glad we got to stop in Ecuador to get supplies, maybe chocolate could lift our spirits.
We have finally anchored again, this time at the Pacific island of Nuku Hiva. This voyage is too mentally demanding for me, I have to abandon it. Will you and your men come with me?
We need to escape unseen or they will capture and lock us up. Let's go at night and once we are off the ship, cover ourselves with a tarp so we blend in with the beach and are less noticeable.
Now that we have avoided capture and escaped into the mountains, we need to build a shelter. They will no doubt go looking to bring us to justice, so we should stay here for a while.
|26||Nuku Hiva locals|
The Acushnet ought to have left by now, we should come down from the mountains and go meet the locals of Nuku Hiva. I can't wait to taste some fresh fish after hiding up here for two weeks.
The locals here live such a simple and idyllic life! I tried to pay for our food, but they only work for exchange. I will now help them build a new hut. I wish I could stay here, but home is home.
|28||A way to get out|
I have found a way for us to get out. I talked to some sailors on the whaler Lucy Ann. They are planning a mutiny in Tahiti. If we join them, we can slip away easily. We should get some weapons.
Now that we are nearing Tahiti, it is time to declare mutiny so we can get out and find a voyage to the United States. However, there are still sailors holding out. Maybe we could bribe them.
The plan failed! Don't despair, though we have been jailed by the French, not all is lost. Some of your men were let go, so if they can put up bail for us, we can still catch a ship to America.
|31||Earning our spot|
Your sailors got us out and I found a ship headed for America. All of the places are taken, but they have some technical difficulties. They can make space for us if we can get them the right parts.
It was an incredible journey, but I am glad to be back in New York. I want to settle down and build a house, but I feel like I have one more voyage in me in the future. We shall see each other again.
Welcome back to New York, captain! It has been too long. Let's catch up over dinner. After you left, I worked some odd jobs, tried my hand at being a bank clerk, but then I joined the Navy.
|34||My time in the Navy|
I served on the frigate USS United States as an ordinary seaman. The voyage took us all over the world. After I was discharged, I decided to spend more time with my family and write about my journey.
I based my first book, Typee, on our time on Nuku Hiva. I wrote about their simple and beautiful way of life compared to our consumer society. Building a hut with them was a great moment in my life.
My second book, Omoo, was a sequel to Typee. Based on our experiences, I described the character's escape to Tahiti, the mutiny, and imprisonment. Life is tough behind bars.
Mardi was my first book that was pure fiction and the most beloved. That was my peak. After Mardi, I lost my motivation and got depressed. I had to get away, so I went fishing to reflect on my work.
|38||Writing for money|
Once I returned, I wrote Redburn and White-Jacket about my first-ever voyage and my time in the Navy. There was no passion in them, I wrote them purely for the money to support my family.
However, now I got back to writing for the love of it with my new book, Moby-Dick. It is inspired by all our experiences and struggles on whaling ships. I feel like I am back to my best.
Thank you for enjoying so many mad adventures with me. Almost all my books are inspired by our travels, and I can never repay you for that. Let's celebrate the success of Moby-Dick with some wine!