Photographer's Note

The photograph shows a sloop off the coast of the Island of Nantucket on the picture perfect evening of 15 July. (A sloop is a fore-and-aft rigged boat with one mast and a single jib). The vantage point for the shot is the deck of the 11 m (35 ft) sloop, the Endeavor, on which I was sailing.

“Nantucket,” derived from a Native American expression "land far out to sea" is 50 km (30 miles) east of the Mainland of the United States, and takes two hours by ferry to reach from Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. The island is 5.6 km (3.5 miles) north to south and 23 km (14 miles) east to west. The population of Nantucket Island is approximately 12,000 year-round (comparable to its population in its heyday in the mid-19th century), but swells to 55,000-70,000 during the summer season. When it was first discovered and charted in 1602 by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, it was populated with approximately 1,500 Native Americans of the Wampanoag Tribe. However, it was not settled until 1659. For the record the first British settlement that took roots came in 1607 when three tiny ships transported a vagabond group of settlers to Jamestown, Virginia.

During the first half of the 19th century Nantucket gained prominence as the whaling capital of the world. As many as 88 Nantucket whaling ships, sailed out of the island for 3-5 year periods at a time, and the oil they brought back provided not only the fuel for lanterns and candles, but also lubricated the machinery of the world. The discovery of petroleum, and the development of the electrical industry ended the demand for whale oil, and saw the end of the prosperous whale industry. However, in the 20th century the island gained prosperity again as a touristic mecca. In a throwback to its historical past, cars were not permitted on Nantucket until 1918.

One of the most famous of all American novels, Moby-Dick by author Herman Melville, was inspired by the true and tragic tale of the Essex. The Nantucket whale ship was hunting off the coast of South America in 1820 when it was rammed, and destroyed by an enormous sperm whale.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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