Study Guide

In the Heart of the Sea Chapter 7

By Nathaniel Philbrick

Chapter 7

At Sea

  • A day passes. The crew has decided to keep all three whaleboats together, partly for comfort and partly so that they can share the navigational equipment.
  • After a tiny meal, the crew goes to sleep. Everyone except for Chase, that is. Instead of snoozing, Chase "continued to dwell obsessively on the circumstances of the ship's sinking" (7.15).
  • Chase writes in his journal to maintain sanity. Everyone has a little ritual like this: for example, Lawrence spends his days weaving string into twine.
  • The crewmembers check the navigational equipment: they're heading south on schedule. Oddly, however, Pollard abruptly decides "to abandon [...] any correct longitudinal reckoning'" (7.22). Really?
  • The whaleboats are hit by some nutso storms over the next few days. Although they escape unscathed, their bread becomes soaked with salty water—not good for such thirsty fellows.
  • The crewmembers discover even worse news the next morning: Chase's boat is sinking. Though it's tricky, Chase and Pollard manage to seal the rift.
  • That night, Chase is awoken by shouting from another boat. To his utter shock—and horror—Pollard explains that "his boat had been attacked by a whale" (7.41).
  • It was a killer whale. Sure earned its name today, huh? The crewmembers spend a tense night in fear and fix up Pollard's boat in the morning.
  • But dudes are getting hungry. Seeing this, Chase finally decides to eat their first tortoise, which is consumed in one sitting.
  • Though they're separated at times, the three whaleboats manage to stick together. They've gone far south, but not east—in fact, they're only a week away from the Society Islands at this point.

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