Peleg Nye: The Jonah of Cape Cod

Peleg Nye: The Jonah of Cape Cod


Peleg Nye: The Jonah of Cape Cod

Paperback, 2014

by Nils V. Bockmann


Peleg Nye first shipped out on a New Bedford whaler in 1834, a green young sailor from Cape Cod. By 1865, Nye was a veteran whaler, the first mate of the George W. Lewis.

As first mate, Nye was responsible for firing an explosive lance to kill harpooned whales. It was dangerous work at the best of times, but on this particular trip, disaster struck. The whale hit the prow of Nye's small whaleboat, sending him over the side and into the animal's mouth. Dying, the whale slipped beneath the surface, Nye's legs protruding between its teeth.


This should have been the end of Peleg Nye. But thanks to Providence, his Captain's makeshift medical skills, and sheer luck, Nye survived. He returned home an immediate celebrity, the "Jonah of Cape Cod." The next year, he was back at sea, commanding four more whaling voyages over the next five years.


Long known only through oral history, Nye's story is historical fact, brought to life through the meticulous research of writer Nils V. Bockmann who reveals the intricate world of eighteenth-century whalers and the dangerous industry they served.