Whaling - Map Depicting the Offshore Grounds

As more and more whales were depleted in the North Atlantic, 19th-century whaling men traveled to the Pacific. Near the equator, they found many sperm whales in what came to be known as the "Offshore Grounds."

This map, created for PBS' "American Experience," depicts the "Offshore Grounds" located near the equator in the Pacific Ocean. Data for the map is from a sample of whaler's log books. Dark blue dots depict the areas where whalers successfully captured sperm whales.

PBS describes the map, and its key, in more detail:

Locations of American whaling vessels from 1790-1924, based on a sample of whalers' log books.

Many American whaling vessels kept records of their daily locations and details of their whale catches. Days without any catches are represented with light blue dots.

Dark blue dots represent sperm whale catches; red dots represent right whale catches; purple dots represent humpback whale catches; green dots represent bowhead whale catches; orange dots represent gray whale catches; yellow dots represent unspecified whale catches.

The Essex was hunting for whales in the Pacific's Offshore Grounds when it was attacked by a sperm whale (cachalot) on November 20, 1820.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 23, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Nov 16, 2016

Media Credits

Image online via PBS American Experience (WGBH). Map depicting “Whale Populations 1790-1924," by Smith, Tim D, Judith N Lund, Elizabeth A Josephson, Randall R Reeves.

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"Whaling - Map Depicting the Offshore Grounds" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 23, 2015. Jul 19, 2018.
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