To Nantucket via Hyannis in misty rain.
On Cape Cod saw the hills through the mist covered with cladonias. A head wind and rather rough passage of three hours to Nantucket, the water being thirty miles over. Captain Edward W. Gardiner (where I spent the evening) thought there was a beach at Barnegat similar to that at Cape Cod. Mr. Barney, formerly a Quaker minister there, who was at Gardiner’s, told of one Bunker of Nantucket in old times, “who had eight sons, and steered each in his turn to the killing of a whale.” Gardiner said you must have been a-whaling there before you could be married, and must have struck a whale before you could dance. They do not think much of crossing from Hyannis in a small boat, - in pleasant weather, that is, - but they can safely do it. A boy was drifted across thus in a storm in a rowboat about two years ago. By luck he struck Nantucket. The outline of the island is continually changing. The whalers now go chiefly to Behring’s Straits, and everywhere between 35 N. and S. latitude and catch several kinds of whales. It was Edmund Gardiner of New Bedford (a relative of Edward’s) who was carried down by a whale, and Hussey of Nantucket who, I believe, was one to draw lots to see who should be eaten. As for communication with the mainland being interrupted, Gardiner remembers when thirty-one mails were landed at once, which, taking out Sundays, made five weeks and one day. The snow ten days ago fell about two inches deep, but melted instantly.
At Ocean House I copied from William Coffin’s Map of the town (1834) this: 30,590 acres, including 3 isles beside. 1050 are fresh ponds; about 750, peat swamp. Clay in all parts. But only granite or gneiss boulders.