Whales and Whaling
On whalers as other sailing ships, ropework was an ever present and important part of shipboard life particularly during quieter periods. Here a sailor is splicing a rope onto an iron whaling harpoon. The pointed implement in his hand is a tool that opens up the twisted rope allowing the interweaving of the unwound end of another piece of rope.
A splice so formed is stronger than a knot, but much more time consuming a join to make in rope.