Adonora, Indonesia
Photo of Adonora, Indonesia, by Kee-yuen used under a Creative Commons license.

Tim Severin, In Search of Moby Dick: Quest for the White Whale (Little, Brown, 1999).
An account of Severin’s travels in the South Pacific on the hunt for the elusive white whale. His first stop is Nuku Hiva, an island in the Marquesas where a 21-year-old Melville jumped ship from the whaler Acushnet and where Severin finds many of Melville’s sources. Next, he visits Pamilacan, a Philippine fishing village, whose fisherman leap onto the backs of whale sharks. Then he goes to Tonga, where a Tongan harpooner reenacts the kill. Finally, he travels to Lamalera, Indonesia, where fisherman hunt sperm whales by hand from Stone Age boats. Perhaps Severin is less obsessed than Ahab, but he certainly has a better time.

Google Book Search has an excerpt and some other stuff. Here is W. Jeffrey Bolster’s review in The New York Times. Here is Elizabeth Feizkhah’s review in Time Pacific. This travel guide suggests that whale sharks are no longer hunted on Pamilacan.

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