Sailing Aboard the Charles W. Morgan

This past May, the historic whaling ship, Charles W. Morgan, left Mystic Seaport for the first time in more than 70 years and sailed to several New England ports of call, giving folks from New London to Provincetown an unprecedented opportunity to explore the ship. Built in New Bedford in 1841, the Morgan is the last remaining wooden whaling ship in the world and the oldest merchant ship in America. In its heyday, the Morgan traveled across the globe in search of whales, the source of oil for illumination and lubrication in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

To commemorate the latest sailing, my longtime colleague, Rob Burbank, had the good fortune to spend 24 hours aboard the ship. Rob’s great-uncle served as a crewmember on the 35th voyage of the Morgan in 1918, and this summer’s sail gave him the opportunity to imagine what life was like on the Morgan nearly a century ago. You can read about that once-in-a-lifetime experience in his recent Boston Globe story. The Morgan is now back at Mystic Seaport and open to the public to tour. For more about visiting Mystic in autumn, see my article in the Boston Globe and definitely make a pitstop at B.F. Clyde’s to visit the oldest steam-powered cider mill in America.