Voyage of the Neptune 1840-1842

Mystic Seaport Museum for Educators

This map represents the journey of the whaler Neptune (Mystic Seaport Museum O-LOG 23) of New London, Connecticut. Chronicling the ship’s voyage from October, 1840 – April, 1842, the map depicts the ship’s day-to-day events as it traveled to the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans as they were described in the ship’s logbook. View the active map →

Original content by: Allyse Zajac

The collaboration

This voyage of Neptune is American Offshore Whaling Voyage AV10372. Our database includes summary information about the voyage, the vessel and the master, Samuel Greene, Jr., as well as a crew list.  In building her interactive voyage map, Allyse Zajac started with AOWL logbook data then added detail, encoded special events, and transcribed all of the complete logbook entries from the original logbook in the collections of Mystic Seaport Museum.

In the next phase of our project, we hope to take the data set from her project and  use it to enhance the information on whalinghistory.org.

 

Oil & Bone: American Ports in the Golden Age of Yankee Whaling

By Kerry Gathers

At its peak in the mid-19th century, whaling was a gigantic, global business that provided oil to light the streets and homes of Europe and America, and bone to make profitable consumer goods for sale around the world. The young United States dominated this industry, and for a time, whaling was the fifth largest sector of the American economy.

While stories of whaling drama, adventure, and violence are typically set at sea, this map aims to communicate the economic impact of whaling back in American ports, where sperm oil, whale oil, and whalebone landed and entered the market. For over 60 port cities and towns, this map reports the market values of whale products as they were returned to port from 1804 to 1876, illustrating the drastic ebbs and flows of the industry.

Oil and Bone Map
Click on image to enlarge. Interact with the map at www.kgmaps.com/oil-and-bone

 

 

Spatial and Seasonal Distribution of American Whaling and Whales in the Age of Sail

This map showing the spatial distribution of American Whaling and Whales in the 17th to 19th century was created using AOWL data. This and other maps are presented in:

Smith TD, Reeves RR, Josephson EA, Lund JN (2012) Spatial and Seasonal Distribution of American Whaling and Whales in the Age of Sail. PLoS ONE 7(4): e34905.
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0034905

Abstract

American whalemen sailed out of ports on the east coast of the United States and in California from the 18th to early 20th centuries, searching for whales throughout the world’s oceans. From an initial focus on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) and right whales (Eubalaena spp.), the array of targeted whales expanded to include bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus). Extensive records of American whaling in the form of daily entries in whaling voyage logbooks contain a great deal of information about where and when the whalemen found whales. We plotted daily locations where the several species of whales were observed, both those caught and those sighted but not caught, on world maps to illustrate the spatial and temporal distribution of both American whaling activity and the whales. The patterns shown on the maps provide the basis for various inferences concerning the historical distribution of the target whales prior to and during this episode of global whaling.

Townsend’s Whaling Charts

Chart A: Distribution of the sperm whale based on logbook records dating from 1761 to 1920. April – September, inclusive. (Click on any chart to enlarge.)
Chart B: Distribution of the sperm whale based on logbook records dating from 1761 – 1920 October—March, inclusive
Chart C: Distribution of northern and southern right whales based on logbook records dating from 1785 to 1913.
Chart D: Distribution of bowhead and humpback whales based on logbook records – mostly Nineteenth Century.

From Townsend CH (1935) The distribution of certain whales as shown by logbook records of American whaleships. 19. Zoologica (NY): : 1–50+6 Charts.

For a dataset that corresponds in part to these charts, visit Townsend’s Logbook Data →

For more information and chart scans, visit WCS Canada →