As the ship steered into its home port, crowds flocked to welcome the weary whalers. Family and friends, dockworkers, and ship owners gathered at the pier. So much time had elapsed since the whaler shipped out that boy recruits had become men. Husbands and wives embraced. From behind the skirts of their mothers, young children glanced at fathers whom they didn't recognize. In this moment, many sailors promised that they would never go to sea again.

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