I am trying to do some touristy things on the island before the end of the summer. I would say besides the numerous beaches, the main tourist attraction is the whaling museum. And, my one friend on the island, just so happens to have free passes. Normally, it's $17 to get in. Probably wouldn't pay that on my own, but for free... I'm happy to go in and spend some time!
The museum was very interesting. I had no idea how or even why Nantucketers tried to catch whales after arriving on the island in the 1700s. They wanted the oil for lamps, etc. They sought after "right whales" and "sperm whales".
I wish I could give an accurate description of how these men caught whales, but keep in mind... this is the 1700s and not much technology or engine-powered things were invented yet! So, once a whale was spotted, the men on this row boat would row out to the whale as fast as it could. Maybe up to a mile or more. Then, it would harpoon the whale and go for a RIDE! Yes, that's right. The whale obviously was HUGE and strong. It would take the row boat on a wild ride until it either got tired, or swam beneath the ocean. If it decided to go below the water, the row boat men had to make a split second decision on whether to cut the rope (therefore preventing sinking) or ride it out in hopes the whale didn't go too far below the water!
So, assuming the whale just tuckered out and stopped, the crew would kill the whale and then row it back to the big boat. Now, this is a HUGE whale. After they rowed fast to get the whale, then embraced the challenge of capturing the whale, they now have to tow the darn thing back to the main boat... many, many miles away! I can't even imagine how exhausting that would be!
Anyway - it was very, very cool to learn about! With my pass, I was also able to go on a 90 minute walking tour of the town and learn about its history. Very interesting. Then, I climbed up to the tippy-top of the whaling museum to take picture of the harbor and the town.
I learned there are some 2500 moorings for boats in the harbor. And, some of these boats are bigger than two or three normal homes put together!
I guess I really like these pictures because I walk these streets so often. Looking down and seeing it in a "big picture" is really neat!