Wreck of Whaling Ship Has Ties to Moby-Dick

Its captain's ordeal on another ship inspired Herman Melville's novel
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2011 12:08 PM CST
Wreck of Whaling Ship Has Ties to Moby-Dick
Gregory Peck, as Captain Ahab, walks with a prothesis during a scene of the movie 'Moby Dick' in 1954.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A fascinating bit of history is up from the depths of the Pacific off Hawaii: Marine archeologists have found the remains of an 1880s whaling ship that sailed from Nantucket, reports the Boston Globe. Researchers are happy enough to get a rare look at the tools and gadgets of the era, but the Two Brothers ship has an added twist: Its captain was George Pollard Jr., whose harrowing ordeal with another ship inspired the novel Moby-Dick.

A few years before captaining Two Brothers, Pollard commanded the Essex. It sank after being rammed by an apparently ticked-off sperm whale, a tale that caught the attention of Herman Melville. "Pollard is the heart and soul of the whole story," says author Nathaniel Philbrick. "He has been through hell once again, slamming into destiny and almost going down with the ship. Something about there actually being physical remains [means] it is not just a story, but it really happened." (Read more Moby Dick stories.)

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