After a delirious week of re-exploring the past, the world's last surviving wooden whaleship, Charles W. Morgan, has left her moorings at Vineyard Haven Harbor.
The Vineyard Gazette has a commemoration page, replete with photographs. Here is just the beginning:
After a seven-day stay on Martha’s Vineyard, the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan departed from Vineyard Haven harbor Wednesday morning for the next leg of her historic voyage.
The Morgan left the dock at 9:30 a.m., and just as when she arrived, the last wooden whaling ship was heralded with boat horns and cannons. People were lined up from Eastville Beach to Tisbury Wharf to get a glimpse of the ship as she departed. There was a crowd and a small traffic jam at West Chop as people tried to get a last look.
Behind the Morgan, the ferry Island Home was leaving Vineyard Haven, bound for Woods Hole. The whaling ship was accompanied by a flotilla of more than a dozen vessels.
The ship left under tow, going around West Chop and through Quick’s Hole to Buzzards Bay. She sailed into Buzzards Bay and arrived in New Bedford at about 4 p.m. Capt. Richard (Kip) Files was at the helm.
The Morgan was built in 1841 in New Bedford and sailed on 37 whaling voyages over 80 years. She was often called a lucky ship, and she lived up to the moniker by being the only American wooden whaling ship to survive. The ship has been at Mystic Seaport since 1941. In 2008, Mystic Seaport began a complete restoration, eventually deciding to sail the ship for the first time in nearly a century.
The trip to New Bedford was a homecoming for the Charles W. Morgan. Once the world’s largest whaling port, New Bedford was the Morgan’s home port for most of her 37 whaling trips. She was built at the J&Z Hillman Brothers Shipyard in New Bedford. The ship was last in New Bedford in November 1941.
With thanks to Kay Mayhew and Bill Bunting