National Geographic : 1946 May
The National Geographic Magazine George T. Plummer Sunbeam, One of New Bedford's Last Whalers, "Hove Down" for Recoppering The 360-ton bark made many successful voyages for J. and W. R. Wing, famous whaling firm (page 628), between 1856 and 1909. In 1911 the proud old ship, relegated to carrying lumber, ran aground at Wolf Island, Darien, Georgia, and was a total loss. Clifford W. Ashley, eminent whaling artist, sailed on the Sunbeam in 1904 and saw her take three sperm whales. of coral, from one-third of a mile to three miles in width, and one hundred and fifty miles in circumference; the depth of water on it varying from two to eight feet. "In circumnavigating this single submarine parapet, we counted more than 70 islands, of different sizes, situated within its circle, the appearance of which was truly paradisiacal and delightful." Morrell immediately leaped to the conclu sion that he was the discoverer of Truk, since it did not appear on his charts, and named it Bergh's Group in honor of a friend, Edwin Bergh of New York. But Truk was seen by Louis I. Duperrey, the French navigator, on June 24, 1824. Morrell also was acquainted with the Solo mons, and his greatest adventure befell him not far from them.* After leaving Truk on his 1830 voyage, he came upon a group of 20 low coral islands on an 8-mile reef about 130 miles northeast of Bougainville. Today they are known as the Tauu Islands. They were called the Marqueen Islands in Morrell's day, but he was unaware of this, regarded them as a discovery, and in the light of subsequent events named them Mas sacre Islands. Mass Production of Cured "Sea Cucumbers" He found the reef literally covered with beche-de-mer and decided to procure a cargo for the China trade. He held a parley with the native chief, a fantastic creature orna mented with rows of sea shells, wreaths of flowers, and tortoise-shell bracelets. Morrell dubbed him Nero. The chief had never seen a white man and believed that Morrell and his crew wore tight * See "A Woman's Experiences Among Stone Age Solomon Islanders," by Eleanor Schirmer Oliver, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, December, 1942.