The Pequod continues sailing northeast toward Java (Indonesia).
One morning, Daggoo, who is on lookout duty, calls out that he’s sighted Moby Dick! It’s a full red alert and everyone to action stations.
Everyone scurries to the boats and launches as soon as they see something in the distance.
The creature rises up in front of the boats—it’s a "vast pulpy mass, furlongs in length and breadth, of a glancing cream-color" (59.4), and it has a bunch of strange undulating tentacles. Then it submerges itself again.
Starbuck is disturbed and wishes it had been Moby Dick instead of what it is—a giant squid.
So they all have to sail back to the ship. No hunt today. False alarm.
Whalemen are deeply superstitious about squids, which they don’t understand very well and which they believe to be the prey of the sperm whale (this, according to a diorama we saw at the New York Natural History Museum, appears to be true), which sometimes vomits up severed squid arms in front of observers. Ick.