Charles W. Morgan

Brian Morris / WCAI

As we rode before the wind, silent and serene, the Morgan took on the aspects of a complex and sometimes contradictory embodiment of how we use our historical imagination. 19th century whaling ships literally gave New England, and by extension America, a global presence. As one staff member put it, “The ships didn’t follow the flag, the flag followed the ships.

Mystic Seaport

How many meanings can one vessel hold? If that vessel is the last remaining wooden whaling ship in existence, the answer is, more than first meets the eye. From the end of MacMillan wharf, a half-mile beyond the harbor breakwater, the Morgan appeared as an apparition, a vision from the a previous century: Because of insufficient water depth in the harbor, she was not able to tie up at the wharf, so that for most people the ship could only be seen from a distance, a symbol of the unreachableness of the past

Alecia Orsini

There was excitement, edged with a slight tension, aboard the Charles W. Morgan as she sailed out of Provincetown Harbor on an overcast Friday morning. The first sighting of a whale - a small minke -  brought cheers. It was the first time the ship had been next to a whale in almost a century, but a full expression of the sentiment surrounding the ship's reunion with whales came later in the day, as a humpback whale fed off the starboard side. Whoops and one passenger's cry of "I think that was an 'apology accepted'" brought peals of laughter from those nearby.

Brian Morris

While aboard the Charles W. Morgan, Heather Goldstone caught a whiff of olden times: the odor of whale that is STILL  detectable in an original oak barrel. The barrel is part of the whale ship's try works, where blubber was rendered into oil. Here's a clip of her conversation with Dave Wiley, Research Coordinator for Stellwagen National Marine Sanctuary, about the scent.

Brian MorrisWCAI

On June 18th, 2014, the Charles W. Morgan sailed from Newport to Vineyard Haven as part of its 38th Voyage.  WCAI's Brian Morris sailed with the historic whale ship.  In this hour-long Point special, he talks with crew members, historians, and others aboard the iconic vessel. Below, enjoy an audio-slideshow of great photos from his trip.

Brian Morris/WCAI

After sailing triumphantly up the Acushnet River last week, the restored 19th century whale ship Charles W. Morgan on Saturday was officially welcomed home by the City of New Bedford. The vessel was built in the city in 1841, and it helped launch New Bedford as the capital of the whaling industry. Although it’s been docked at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut for the past 73 years, many New Bedford residents still think the historic ship belongs to their city. 

Luisa Hufstader/WCAI

A boatyard on Martha’s Vineyard played a part in the restoration of the historic whaleship Charles W. Morgan, which is visiting the Island as part of its 38th Voyage around New England. WCAI’s Louisa Hufstader spoke with the Vineyard Haven boatbuilder whose shop produced one of the whaleboats the Morgan carries on her deck.

WCAI/Brian Morris

Vineyard Haven harbor resounded with cheers, ship horns and cannon blasts as well-wishers turned out to greet the Charles W. Morgan when it arrived in Martha’s Vineyard from Newport, Rhode Island. The 173-year old vessel is America’s last surviving whale ship. It’s based at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, and recently underwent a 5-1/2 year restoration there. The Morgan is traveling around New England this summer on its 38th Voyage, stopping at ports where it has strong ties. This is the first time the Morgan has sailed since its last whaling voyage in 1921. 

Photo by Don Cuddy

The Charles W Morgan is currently undergoing sea trials off New London, as America’s only surviving whaler prepares for this month’s cruise to New Bedford and Vineyard Haven. Harbor Master Mike Cormier says it was the buzz generated by the Morgan’s restoration that resulted in the lamp’s rediscovery.