As they swim past the spot where the boat-builders are at work, they, from their elevated position, can look down on their spout-holes, and even see them wink! The huge creatures, slowly gliding on, pass under a beech-tree growing by the water's edge, so near that their heads are almost brushed by its drooping branches.
He had hardly finished his speech when, right beside our boat, an old bull whale showed his nose out of the water and sent a blast of hot air out of his spout-holes, which was blown back to us by the wind. As we felt the warm breath on our faces, each man checked his oar. And right here, children, I want to correct a mistaken idea. Whales don't spout water.
The next instant we were beside the whale, and as it rolled on its side Captain Coffin transfixed him with a thrust of his lance that seemed to pierce his very vitals. The next moment the blood poured in gallons from his spout-holes. Having slackened the line from the boat, we rested on our oars at a safe distance and watched the monster circling around in its dying fury.
The mighty creature soon appeared, sending out from its spout-holes jets of blood and foam, and dyeing the water around with a ruddy hue. Again the boats approached, hauling themselves along by the lines made fast to its body, to inflict further wounds with the spears ready in the officers' hands, when the whale again made towards them.
It is a huge trumpet, six inches in diameter at its smaller end, and blown by the rush of air through a cave or passage connecting with the ocean. One of the numerous caves worn into the rocks by the surf had a hole at the top, through which the incoming breakers violently expelled the air they carried before them. Such spout-holes are not uncommon on rugged, rocky coasts.
Hearing, as I fancied, a whale spouting nearer than usual these monsters of the deep making a noise as they eject the water through the spout-holes on top of their heads in a fountain of spray, after drawing it with their gills, like surf breaking on a distant shore the sound somehow or other took back my thoughts to the chart, and I suddenly remembered what I had told the mate about the danger of the ship approaching the Islets of Saint Paul.
In the night we stood towards the west-south-west with a southerly wind and got again into soundings. The next day we saw a great number of whales of an immense size that had two spout-holes on the back of the head. Upon a complaint made to me by the master I found it necessary to punish Matthew Quintal, one of the seamen, with two dozen lashes for insolence and mutinous behaviour.
A black-fish which, it may be mentioned here, for the benefit of the uninitiated, is a species of cachalot, although differing from the true spermaceti family of whales in having the spout-holes placed on the top of the head, in place of on the snout, and the pectoral fins shorter was being assailed by its bitter enemy the thresher or "fox shark."
The sun was about a handspike high from the horizon. There was considerable water left in the boat, which, empty of men, now floated high; so I took a bucket and busied myself in bailing it out. After bailing awhile, I leaned back against the thwarts and took another look at the whale. The creature was not dead yet, and there did not seem to be any blood coming from its spout-holes.
To sum up, then: in the Right Whale's there is no great well of sperm; no ivory teeth at all; no long, slender mandible of a lower jaw, like the Sperm Whale's. Nor in the Sperm Whale are there any of those blinds of bone; no huge lower lip; and scarcely anything of a tongue. Again, the Right Whale has two external spout-holes, the Sperm Whale only one.