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The next day, the Pequod meets a ship called the Rachel, which has seen Moby Dick recently and is looking for a lost boat.
The captain of the Rachel, who is a Nantucketer, comes on board the Pequod.
The Rachel’s captain explains that, yesterday afternoon, three of his boats were hunting a group of whales when Moby Dick was sighted. They lowered their spare boat, which set off in pursuit of Moby Dick.
When the other boats went to look for the spare boat, it was nowhere to be seen.
The men of the Rachel found white water, suggesting that the whaling boat crew had harpooned Moby Dick, but he dragged them rapidly away.
The ship has been on the lookout for its missing boat ever since.
The captain of the Rachel asks Captain Ahab if the Pequod will help search for the missing men.
Stubb is surprised by the request and whispers a guess to Flask: there was something or someone especially valuable on board that missing boat.
The Rachel’s captain admits that his own son is on the missing boat and begs Ahab to help, even just for a day. He offers to charter the ship and pay for their help.
Ahab refuses to help the captain of the Rachel, whose name is Captain Gardiner, because he doesn’t want to lose any time in hunting Moby Dick.
He goes back into his cabin.
Captain Gardiner returns silently to his ship.
The men on the Pequod can see the Rachel moving slowly back and forth along the water in the distance, searching for the missing boat.