Whaling in the 1800s

Today, some of us find the slaughter of whales shocking and unecessary – but 200 odd years ago it was a huge industry with a multitude of products made from all parts of the whale. It goes without saying that it was extremely dangerous for the whalermen and they lived in miserable conditions for long periods.

The opening lines of the shanty « Old Maui » sum up the whalermen’s predicament:

« It’s a damn tough life, full of toil and strife, we whalermen undergo.                             

And we don’t give a damn when the day is done how hard the winds do blow… »

Three links for you:

First, « Old Maui » sung acapello by « The Dreadnoughts »

Second, for those interested in history, an article on whaling in the 1800s sent to me by Ian.


 Third, from Geoff, a link to an article on Christmas at Sea in the mid 1800s, which also includes tales from aboard a Whaleship: