* The Preface introduces the reasons for whaling in 1821 and the island community of Nantucket.
* Two men in a small boat are found by the crew of the Dauphin, and it is reported that only eight men have survived a terrible tragedy.
* Nantucket's background is given along with a description of the crew boarding the Essex and how their wages are calculated.
* Water, food, and supplies are loaded onto the Essex as it prepares to leave Nantucket and embark on the whaling trip.
* Captain Pollard, at age twenty- eight, is in control as the Essex sets sail from the docks of Nantucket, providing entertainment for the people there.
* The Essex experiences bad weather that damages the ship, and Pollard chooses to return to Nantucket. He is talked out of his decision by Chase.
* The first whale escapes with the help of a second whale that...
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