05 November 2015

Moby Dick

Before there was Herman Melville's white whale, Moby Dick, in his novel of the same name, there was Mocha Dick.

Mocha Dick male albino sperm whale that lived in the Pacific Ocean in the early 19th century who had quite a reputation. The whale was frequently encountered in the waters near the island of Mocha, off southern Chile.

The American explorer Jeremiah N. Reynolds published his account, "Mocha Dick: Or The White Whale of the Pacific: A Leaf from a Manuscript Journal" in 1839 in The Knickerbocker and it was part of the inspiration for Melville's 1851 novel Moby-Dick.

Believed to have been active from 1810 to 1859, Mocha Dick was infamous for the ferocity of his retaliations against those who attempted to capture him. From the first recorded encounter near the South American island of Mocha till the fatal harpoon blow, Mocha Dick was a legend in his own time. Mocha Dick survived nearly 100 whaler attacks before he was finally killed while coming to the aid of a female whale and her calf.

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