Friday, 8 April 2011
REAL Whaling, in Moby Dick (1956)
Researching into Whaling with great detail as I do, I came across this exciting clip on Youtube of a enactment of a 19th Century Sperm Whale hunt from the film Moby Dick 1956 to study the background detail and Whaling customs. In the film the use of Whale bone is well detailed in the scenery with even the ships tiller made from the jaws of a Whale and the cleats made with Whale teeth. As you can see 19th century whaling is full of ritual and superstition and I often think how many people from Thanet that were involved in 19th century Whaling . When the Bleak House Maritime Museum was open in the 1980's I could recall a collection of Scrimshaw in a cabinet which according to the information on display credited the pieces of Scrimshaw to local smugglers who escaped the law and joined the Whaling fleets until the hue and cry died down. As to whether this is true or just folklore it does make a good story. On a more local front I expect most localy produced Scrimshaws or bone craft originated from strandings of Whale, dolphins porpoises and through trading. Often on the shore I have come across many pieces of bone and to be honest I have passed it by unless I suspect it to be human. However, I have been collecting animal teeth for years and with the interest surrounding the recent Sperm Whale stranding I am starting to pick all bone up. Last night I finally gave up on traditional methods of "boiling out" the Whale bone I have, by putting the large piece I have in the dish washer taking out the dishes of course. It did the job alright resulting in a nice and clean lily white piece of Whalebone which is now drying out on my shed roof in this exceptionaly warm weather. The inside of the dish washer was a different story as it was dripping in smelly whale oil and fat. I soon remedied this by using a all purpose cleaner and degreaser which removed the evidence. Today I received a email from my MP's caseworker telling me that my MP is going to take up my case with the Receiver of Wrecks as the recently beached Sperm Whale is a Royal Fish and is Crown property, so I need to know the legalities of ownership.