Inside A Whaler's Trunk
As first mate on many of his voyages, Elliott maintained the daily logbooks and apparently kept them after returning home to Stonington. Entries on some pages include tiny hand-drawn whales, indicating the ship had killed one. Each is followed by the number of barrels of oil the creature produced.
The Courant quotes a maritime historian as saying the contents of Elliott’s trunk are interesting but not extraordinary. Whaling was so commonplace in the region – not just from New Bedford and Nantucket but also from New London, Mystic, East Haddam, New Haven, Bridgeport and even Hudson, New York, way up on the Hudson River – that logbooks and other old items turn up every few years.
One of the passages from Elliott’s logbooks that the Courant quoted caught my eye:
I should have observed that there is always such a current getting down this river that it is impossible for a vessel to sail up against it except it be with a fair wind.
It reminded me of this observation about the Connecticut, from the account of Adriaen Block’s first journey up the river:
The reaches extend from northeast to southwest by south, and it is impossible to sail through them all with a head wind.
Sailing is sailing, I guess, whether it was in 1613 or 1833.