Whaling Home | Summer in the Arctic | Next

Tools of the Trade

Sketch of whaling ship from diary of a whaling voyage to the Davis Straights in 1831

Arctic whaling was open boat that is to say it was carried out from a small rowing boat. Technology had not yet advanced to provide whalers with large canons that could fire massive harpoons with exploding warheads. This style of whaling was that made famous by Hollywood in films like Moby Dick. Guns were available from the 18th century but were only capable of propelling a very lightweight harpoon a short distance. The sole purpose of the harpoon in the Arctic industry was to fasten the boat to the whale. It had certainly no possibility of killing the whale.

Modern depiction of 19C whaler 'Eclipse' in ice

The Ships

The Whale Boats

The Tools

Previous | Next

Skip to Navigation