After his walk, Ishmael goes back to the inn to get a heavy coat, because a storm has set in. Then, he goes to a local "Whaleman’s Chapel," which most sailors visit before they embark on a voyage.
When Ishmael enters the chapel, he finds a group of "sailors, and sailors’ wives and widows" (7.2) sitting silently, each of them lost in their own thoughts.
They all seem to be reading the different plaques on the walls – memorials to men who died at sea.
Ishmael is surprised to find that Queequeg is also in the chapel.
Queequeg is the only person who reacts to Ishmael’s entrance, because he’s the only one not reading the plaques. (He can’t.)
Ishmael uses on how difficult it is to lose a loved one to the sea: without finding the person’s body, his friends and relatives never really get closure, and will always wonder if he’s really dead.
Even if he is dead, Ishmael finds it strange that nobody is comforted by the fact that he should be having a good time in the afterlife. This is a chapel after all – you’d think heaven would be more of a topic than it seems to be.
Ishmael, however, doesn’t get depressed: he thinks to himself that people keep obsessing over mortality, but that the body is much less important than the soul.