What's the alternative to a passive, inactive life? Well, one option is to explore the open seas. Not only is there a lot to do physically, but it definitely stimulates you emotionally when you're on the hunt, and your prey is huge enough to smash your boat to bits. The speaker of "Reading Moby-Dick at 30,000 Feet" fantasizes about this idea of being able to explore the world without a fixed destination, without all the order and passivity that seems to make up his current, modern life.
Our speaker admires the lives of whalers. He seems to think that basic human impulses and desires are stifled by our culture, and that we would be better off living in a way that allows for true exploration and adventure.
Our speaker is plenty satisfied merely exploring the corridors of his imagination.