Laying the Plan
Whales and Whaling pictures
The area of the deck that was used for flensing whales brought aboard the factory or mother ship was overlaid before processing began with a further softwood (pine) deck that was sometimes known as the "Plan". This deck was laid as the ship was on it's way to Antarctic waters as one of the jobs to occupy the crew during the voyage. It's purpose was to provide a temporary throw-away surface upon which whales were processed. The temporary surface would take the damage and also absorb most of the blood, oil and smell that is a consequence of the butchering of such huge animals.
On the way back home after the whaling voyage was over with the whale oil products stowed away safely, the plan would be symbolically ripped up by the ships crew and cast overboard as a part of a cleansing ritual that has taken place on whaling ships since the earliest recorded times of Phoenician whalers.