Survival, continued

Ironically, the winds changed shortly after the fleet was abandoned that September day in the Arctic. If the exodus of ships had been held off a couple more days, it's likely that they would have been able to get through to open water.

Some of the ships' owners blamed the skippers with families on board for the decision to leave so quickly. One of those men, Captain Leander Owen from Vineyard Haven, later took ships to the Arctic even though he suffered snow-blindness from the trek to Blossom Shoals in 1871. He was never allowed to bring his wife along Arctic trips again.

The most amazing fact is that not a single life was lost during the most perilous period in Yankee whaling.

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New Bedford Whaling Museum