Due to the winds in Kawaihae and the nature of our other charters, I don’t have any whale stats to report from yesterday’s charters, so here’s an interesting story instead:
In the 1890′s, a whaler with very pale and mottled skin named James Bartley claimed that he had been swallowed by a Sperm Whale. He had been pursuing the whale off the coast of the Falkland Islands, when he was thrown from his boat and presumed lost at sea. Two days later, shipmates on The Star of the East, killed a Sperm whale, and lo and behold —found Bartley in the whale’s stomach! Supposedly, Bartley was a “raving lunatic” for several weeks, but then recovered enough to remember the experience — enough that he was able to make a modest living travelling with an exhibit of a stuffed Sperm Whale – he claimed his skin was permanently damaged from the whales gastric juices. The story of the modern day Jonah was very popular in religious tracts and broadcasts, but has since been debunked. Not only was the Star of the East not a whaling boat, but there was no record of a James Bartley even working on the ship. Even James’ wife claimed the story was“a good yarn”.