Once the whale was sighted, the chase would begin. The excitement of capturing a whale filled the ship as men prepared for the tasks they would be performing. Laura and Prescott watched from a distance as the work of processing the whale began. However, not every whale sighted was successfully caught. When the whales avoided capture, disappointment would be widespread. That is, until another whale was sited and the process began again.
As an adult, Prescott offered this recollection: "I recall standing on the back of a calf whale which had been hoisted on deck. I saw a big bull sperm whale spouting blood and water as he towed a boat across the bow of the ship while a sailor plunged a lance into him..."
After a whale was killed and brought on board the ship, the processing of the parts began. Depending upon the type of whale, there would be fat to be rendered into oil, baleen to be dried and teeth to be counted, cleaned and stored. The Jernegan children observed all of this from a distance while continuing their daily routines.
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