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Heavy Weather and Hard Luck: Portsmouth Goes Whaling


: $30.00
Publisher / Author: Portsmouth Marine Society
ISBN: 0915819236

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When the Portsmouth Athenaeum acquired a rare log kept on Portsmouth whaling vessel Ann Parry, the Marine Society found Ken Martin, the former director of the Kendall Whaling Museum and author of several other whaling related books, to author the 24th publication in the series devoted to the maritime history of the Piscataqua river basin.

In addition to the log in the Portsmouth Athenaeum, Martin was able to use logs and other material from other Portsmouth voyages now in the archives of museums in New Bedford and Nantucket, as well as from Kendall Whaling Museum. More than 50 rare illustrations bring to life the adventures, the hardships, and the rare successes of Portsmouth whalers.

The resulting book is devoted to the several voyages of Portsmouth ships, including the Ann Parry, Pocahontas, Sarah Sheafe, Sarah Parker, Triton, Portsmouth, and Neptune. Here are stories of shipwrecks and captures by South Pacific natives, chance meetings at sea with other Portsmouth vessels, visits to exotic ports, and the financial ruin of the Portsmouth Whaling Company, not to mention the woes of crewmen, some of whom completed a 43-month voyage owing the company for small advances against hoped for profits.

The depredations of Portsmouth whalers and those from other ports in North America and Europe devastated the stocks of several species of great whales in the nineteenth century. Late in the twentieth century however, worldwide conservation efforts have afforded protection to these beleaguered mammals.

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