I Love Research!
I just got back from a mini trip that was a maxi success. Research for a book prompted me out of the house for a much needed mid summer break. The book I’m researching is Before Now, by Lesa Cline-Ransome. It’s a story about whales and whaling and takes place in two times, present day and the 19th century when whaling was a vital industry in America. It’s not difficult to find material about whales. Libraries, bookstores and the internet have all I would need to research this book but whenever given the chance to experience firsthand where a book takes place, I go when I can. So I packed my bag, patted the dogs goodbye and headed to Gloucester, Massachusetts, hoping to see whales. And I did, many! I’d never been up close to a whale and was awed by their size and grace.
Our boat wasn’t the only one packed with people watching the whales feed and flip around. I asked our guide if the sound and vibrations from the boats disrupted their feeding. His reply was a hopeful one — he explained that while studying whales in the Antarctic and Alaska, he observed that the whales wouldn’t come close to their ships, being so alien to them. It was in the busy North Atlantic waters that whales swim seemingly unbothered alongside fishing boats, ocean freighters and whale watchers.
Before Now also describes what whaling life was like in the 1800s. Many whalers, captains and crew, were African Americans. Whaling merchants welcomed escaped slaves and free blacks, drawn to the safe haven of New Bedford, eager for freedom and work. The New Bedford Whaling Museum and the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park (I believe two separate entities) are rich with history and artifacts. I’ll most likely go back when I start working on the sketches. I’m already looking forward to it.
I floated alongside whales, saw remnants of the whaling industry and felt history walking on cobblestone streets. I took walks by the water and came close to forgetting about everything else. Quite a successful trip, however mini it may have been!
Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment