24. Heavy Weather and Hard Luck: Portsmouth Goes Whaling

by Kenneth R. Martin

Heavy Weather Whaling, Portsmouth Marine Society

Although Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has a long maritime heritage dating back to the days when mast ships supplied the British Navy, clippers raced around the Horn, and submarines contributed to victory in World War II, few people are aware of the days when Portsmouth went whaling. When the Portsmouth Athenaeum acquired a rare log kept on Portsmouth whaling vessel Ann Parry, the Portsmouth Marine Society decided to determine whether or not enough material existed for volume 24 in the series of books published about the maritime history of the Piscataqua River region of New Hampshire and Maine.

Fortunately the Society found Ken Martin, a skilled writer, but also the former director of the Kendall Whaling Museum and author of several other whaling related books. In addition to the log in the Portsmouth Athenaeum, Martin was able to use logs and other material from other Portsmouth voyages now in the archives of museums in New Bedford and Nantucket, as well as from Kendall Whaling Museum. More than 50 rare illustrations bring to life the adventures, the hardships, and the rare successes of Portsmouth whalers.
The resulting book is a fascinating, heavily illustrated, clothbound volume devoted to the several voyages of Portsmouth ships, including the Ann Parry, Pocahontas, Sarah Sheafe, Sarah Parker, Triton, Portsmouth, and Neptune.

Here also are stories of shipwrecks and captures by South Pacific natives, chance meetings at sea with other Portsmouth vessels, visits to exotic ports, and the financial ruin of the Portsmouth Whaling Company, not to mention the woes of crewmen, some of whom completed a 43-month voyage owing the company for small advances against hoped for profits.

7×10 Hardcover, ISBN 0-915819-23-6 $30

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