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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

by Jules Verne

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Part 1 Chapter 5 Summary

In Search of Adventure

  • The voyage continues without incident. The ship communicates with some whalers, who have no news of the narwhal.
  • Ned does the whalers a solid by killing a couple of whales for them, and then they're back on their way.
  • Everybody continues to watch for the narwhal 24/7, but there's little success—just a bunch of false alarms.
  • Ned remains skeptical and, though he has incredible eyesight, he spends most of his time reading. Aronnax scolds him, but this does little good.
  • The boat continues moving through the Pacific, past Hawaii and into the China Seas.
  • When they reach the site of the monster's last known whereabouts, everyone's extra-attentive. Still, there are only false alarms. Tensions run high.
  • Crossing back and forth, exploring every little bit of the sea, they find nothing. And then… some more nothing.
  • The sailors start to get bummed out. More and more of them become skeptics. The majority decide that, after three months, it's just about time to give up and head home.
  • After listening to the sailors, Farragut asks for three more days. Just three, guys, really, he says. The sailors agree.
  • Two days pass without a sighting. Bacon is trailed from the back of the ship to attract the beast. Boats swarm around the ship, combing the waters.
  • Then, the night of November 4 arrives. The three-day grace period is set to expire the next day at noon. Dark clouds cover the moon.
  • Aronnax and Conseil get to talking about the trip, saying that they could have been back home the whole time, enjoying themselves like the bosses they are. They're ready to be laughed at when they return—and, Conseil adds, they'll deserve all the mocking. Because they've been chasing a beast who seemingly doesn't exist.
  • Just then, a voice rings out: "Ahoy! The thing itself, to leeward on the weather beam!" (1.5.33). It's Ned Land. He's spotted the mysterious beast after all.
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