On November 20, 1820, Owen Chase was the First Mate of the Whale-Ship “Essex” when it was struck by an enraged Sperm Whale and sunk, stranding the crew in tiny whale-boats 2000 miles away from land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Of the 21 men who entered the 3 flimsy whale-boats, only 8 ultimately survived to be rescued. A harrowing journey lasting 90 days awaited these crewmen, involving storms, shark-attacks, terrible privation, and in the last resort cannibalism.
On his return from the journey in 1821 Owen Chase wrote this vivid account of his experiences, which in turn inspired Herman Melville to write the classic novel “Moby Dick”.
This true story forms the basis of the 2015 motion picture “Heart of the Sea”.