[MARMAM] Historical study - sperm whaling to the north of Australia and Indonesian and New Guinea Waters

Dale Chatwin harpooner1830 at gmail.com
Sun Apr 25 20:54:16 PDT 2021

Hello everyone - a link to a Paper presenting findings from a now thirty
plus year study of log books, journals and other sources documenting
traditional British and American sperm whaling in the 1800s to the north of
Australia, Indonesia and in New Guinea waters. The dataset comprises 850
British sightings extracted from the logs of 13 British whaling voyages
covering the period 1820 to 1850 (collected by the author) and 481 American
sightings (1833 to 1873) drawn from 50 logs abstracted in the American
Offshore Whaling Logbook database hosted on Whaling History.  Sightings
include strikes and captures and in the great majority are sightings of
more than one sperm whale. The study finds that from 1804, British
whaleships utilised the port of Kupang on South-West Timor as a major
service port to support extensive sperm whaling activities across
Indonesian waters. During the next 50 years at least one in five British
whaling voyages (over 300) undertook whaling in the defined area. The study
also finds that vessels from the American Whaling Fleet were present but
did not practice deployment strategies similar to the British.  By
documenting ‘where the whalers went and when’ three new whaling grounds in
Indonesian waters have been identified. In addition two previously
identified whaling grounds are now better defined.



Dale Chatwin
Brisbane, Australia
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