Did you know that Nantucket was the inspiration for the novel Moby Dick? During the 1700’s to mid 1830’s, Nantucket was the Whaling Capital of the World. The most prized catch was the sperm whale, which was very large and difficult to harpoon. It had blubber far superior to that of other whales, providing a bright and clean-burning light. Its head contained a vast reservoir of even better oil, called spermaceti (which resembles seminal fluid, hence the name). Spermaceti was used in ointments, cosmetic creams and fine quality candles.

The International Whaling Commission placed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986. Prior to whaling, there were about 1 million sperm whales. Today, there are approximately 300,000…and the population is slowly increasing.