The Cruise of the Cachalot (1898) is a semi-autobiographical depiction of a whaling expedition, told from a seaman's perspective.
An English sailor travels on an American whaling ship out of New Bedford in 1875. The ship sails east to the Pacific Ocean, passing the Cape Verde Islands, Tristan de Cunha, the Aldabra Islands, the Bonin Islands, Hawaii, Christmas Island, Vava'u in Tonga and New Zeland.
Bullen describes a violent cyclone at sea, gives extremely detailed accounts of the extraction of whale oil from blubber, and recounts the death-struggles between a whale and a giant squid.
“It is immense - there is no other word. I've never read anything that equals it in its deep-sea wonder and mystery.” – Rudyard Kipling
Frank Thomas Bullen (1857 – 1915) was born of poor parents in Paddington, London and left school at the age of 9 to take up work as an errand boy. In 1869 he went to sea and travelled to all parts of the world before getting a job as was a clerk in the Meteorological Office in 1883.