"'Tis advertised in Boston, New York and Buffalo a hundred hearty sailors, a whalin' for to go ..."
As the Charles W. Morgan was towed past the New London Light last weekend to begin its 38th voyage, it took only the barest pulse of imagination to evoke the great sailing days of the 19th century along the Connecticut coast, when New London was the country's second largest whaling port, and bold whaling and sealing captains such as Ebenezer "Rattler" Morgan and Stonington's Nat Palmer, the "Boy Skipper," sailed the globe in search of adventure and profit.
The Morgan was launched in New Bedford in 1841 and sailed for 80 years. It was called the "Lucky Ship" because it survived hurricanes, typhoons and Arctic ice. It is the last wooden whaling ship in the world, a unique window into the rousing era of "Moby Dick," "Thar' She Blows!" and Nantucket sleigh rides. Thankfully the ship doesn't hunt whales now: Instead it teaches history and promotes understanding of the great leviathans.
The Morgan has been the pride of Mystic Seaport for many years, and has been made seaworthy again thanks to a five-year, $5 million restoration. It's visiting historic ports in New England before returning to Connecticut in August. It's a jewel of Connecticut historic preservation; we are lucky to have her. Sail, ho!