Lost Whaling Shipwreck with Link to Melville’s Moby-Dick Discovered in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

NOAA Press Release Feb 11, 2011

Excerpts: (Honolulu, HI) Maritime heritage archaeologists working with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have found the nationally-significant wreckage of a famous 1800’s Nantucket whale ship, Two Brothers, on a reef off French Frigate Shoals, nearly six hundred miles northwest of Honolulu, in the remote Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

…“Discoveries like the Two Brothers serve an important role in connecting geographically separated regions and communities (New England and the Pacific), the past to the present, and provide context and better understanding human decisions that have altered the planet,” said James Delgado, director, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Maritime Heritage Program.

Star Adviser, Feb 11, 2011

1800s whaling ship found in isle waters

Excerpts: This morning, the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are announcing the discovery of the Two Brothers shipwreck, just a dozen feet down at French Frigate Shoals in the long string of atolls between Hawaii and Midway.

As Two Brothers sank on that fateful night in 1823, it must have been a moment of shocking deja vu for Pollard. Just two years before he had commanded the whaler Essex when she was rammed by a whale and quickly sank.

The notorious, haunting tale of the Essex was later immortalized as the novel “Moby-Dick.”

“I’m sure that as the crew scrambled for their lives, as Two Brothers shattered and went down, Pollard’s previous bad luck weighed on their minds,” said historian-archaeologist James Delgado of NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Program. “He was a Jonah, and spent the rest of his life as a night watchman. No one would give him a ship again.”


In Pacific discovery, traces of Nantucket and ‘Moby-Dick’

Boston Globe, Feb 11, 2011

Excerpts: Remains of an 1800s Nantucket whaling ship with a poignant tie to the book “Moby-Dick’’ have been discovered on a remote reef almost 600 miles northwest of Honolulu.

The Two Brothers is the first wrecked Nantucket whaler to be discovered, and the chance find illuminates an era when close to 150 whaling ships from this tiny island set out across the world’s oceans in search of the lucrative oil extracted from blubber and left behind the near-extinction of many whale species.

…“These were little gold rushes each time they found new whaling grounds,’’ said James Delgado, National Marine Sanctuaries’ Maritime Heritage Program director and former president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. “Nowhere was the leviathan safe.’’