This morning we visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum. During the 17th and 18th centuries, whaling ships from New Bedford traveled to all of the oceans of the world. The ships would not return to port until their holds were filled to capacity with whale oil. The average duration of a whaling trip was four years. This makes the voyage of Cutter Loose seem like a daysail.
The museum includes a ½ scale whaling ship model, the skeletal remains of several whales and an assortment of whaling stories, harpoons, ship models, scrimshaw and a special section on how the Portuguese from the Azores became connected to the New Bedford whaling industry.
Across the street from the museum is Seaman’s Bethel, the mariner’s chapel where whalers attended services before setting sail. On the walls are mounted cenotaphs, monuments to those lost at sea. Every member of the community that perishes at sea is memorialized in this chapel.
We return to Cutter Loose for a short 15 mile afternoon sail across Buzzards Bay to Cuttyhunk Island, where we are anchored in the harbor. Cuttyhunk is the westermost island in the Elizabeth Island chain. On this, the longest day of the year, there is still a hint of sunset in the sky at 9:15 PM.