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A ten mile steady pull to windward - Whales and whaling pictures - 10

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The lot of a whaler was a hard one and rowing the boats to reach the whales one of the hardest parts. More frequently than not the boat would reach where the whales were too late and have to row again to where they surfaced. This was an example of  a situation where row boats were at an advantage however as they could approach the whale quietly by careful dipping of the paddles in the water.  

Also whales have their relatively very small eyes on the sides of a very wide head and it is possible to approach them either head-on or tail-on (depending on the species of whale) and take them by surprise. The work wasn't over once the whale was dispatched however as the next job was to row back to the ship with the whale in tow, a journey that in itself could take many hours.

An engraving from "The cruise of the Cachalot"

 

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