The ferry arrives at Nantucket, a prime opportunity for Ishmael to tell us more about the history of the island.
Nantucket is a lonely, isolated, sandy bit of land where hardly anything grows of its own accord and everything is surrounded by sea.
Ishmael also relates a story about how a group of Native Americans came to settle Nantucket: an eagle came one day and carried away a baby, and the parents followed the bird until they came to the island—where they found the child’s skeleton. Grim.
The people of Nantucket have always sailed the sea and used it to survive and prosper.
At this point, Ishmael tells us, Nantucketers are all over the globe, in every ocean, and are the only people who truly belong on the water: it’s like their empire.