Azores whalers harpooning a sperm whale
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Despite the advent of industrial whaling and the invention of the explosive harpoon at the end of the 1800's, traditional whaling methods persisted long after, particularly amongst the inhabitants of relatively isolated populations who had historically caught whales. 

Here a traditional whaling boat from the Azores Islands in mid-Atlantic on the same latitude as southern Spain and North Africa is catching a sperm whale in the traditional manner with hand harpoon in the 1950's.

The men of the Azores Islands were often found on the crews of whaling ships in the sailing days. They would often occupy high rankings amongst the ship's crew as they tended to be very experienced and skilled in their craft as well as well suited to the life on board a whaling ship.

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Picture used courtesy NOAA