Study Guide

In the Heart of the Sea Chapter 9

By Nathaniel Philbrick

Chapter 9

The Island

  • Though they think it's a "mirage" at first, the men quickly realize that this is real life (9.1). Still terrified of non-white people, however, the crew drops off Chase and two sidekicks to scout.
  • The men do some exploring. They quickly realize that the island is made up entirely of coral—in other words, they have little chance of finding fresh water. The do find a tiny spring, however, so they decide to stay the night.
  • The rest of the crew touches down on the island. They have a minor feast of crab and birds before deciding to chill for another day.
  • On December 22, the crewmembers find "a spring bubbling up from a hole in a large flat rock" (9.28). They collect as much as they can before the spring seals up once again.
  • By Christmas Eve, the crew has hunted just about every bird on the island. In fact, birds have started avoiding it altogether. Rude.
  • The crewmembers decide to leave on Christmas. However, three crewmembers—Thomas Chappel, Seth Weeks, and William Wright—decide to stay on the island. It's an emotional goodbye, but the remaining crew ships out.

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