After years on the beach, Ishmael lands the second-in-command berth on the ship Pilgrim, a hide ship that needs to be converted to a whaler.
The master, Captain Strunk and the syndicate backing the voyage to hunt Moby Dick have chosen Ishmael since he was the only survivor of the ship Pequod, which was destroyed by the great white whale.
Nantuckers want nothing to do with signing aboard Pilgrim so the crew is catch-as-catch-can, and Ishmael hopes such a happenstance is not an omen of bad tidings to come.
Pilgrim leaves Nantucket with a chief harpooner that has never struck a whale, an educated landlubber who's never been to sea and a captain who will not man a boat to chase leviathan.
Even the successful killing of a right whale does not bring more than a temporary respite to Ishmael's dark thoughts about finding Moby Dick and confronting the rogue whale.
Will Pilgrim withstand all the rigors of sailing after its quarry? Will Captain Strunk forgo demon rum to perform his duty? Will Baha's secret be revealed? Pilgrim sails on as these questions are yet to be answered.,
Pilgrim calls at St. Helena. Captain Strunk exhibits his penchant for calling on islands to reprovision and, at the same time, removes any temptation for the crew to jump ship.
Ned Hanford, ever curious, seeks the lodging Napoleon Bonaparte used during his exile. Unknown to him he's broken a cardinal ship's rule: only the captain can give permission for sight seeing. He receives five lashes for his infraction.
Ishmael has discovered one of Baha's secrets and knowing that she is female becomes attracted to her. He struggles with his feelings because to show them would put her in danger from the crew.
Pilgrim sails on and calls at the port of Colombo. The crew is given a four-hour liberty. Hanford and McDonough do not return within the four-hour curfew and Hanford has to pay the price with another more severe punishment. Strunk gives McDonough a pass because punishing an officer would diminish the crew's respect for his authority and could, in his eyes, lead to mutiny.
Once clear of Colombo Pilgrim sails for the frigid water of the Antarctic. A whale is spotted and two boats are launched to give chase. The whale destroys Ishmael's boat and McDonough's boat is lost in rescuing Ishmael and his crew.
Captain Strunk decides the ship will call at Van Dieman's Land, again another island to prevent any potential ship jumping.
Pilgrim drops anchor in Hobarton. The crew is given shore leave and Ishmael seeks a replacement carpenter.
Nesbitt plots a sexual encounter with Ned Hanford. It does not happen.
Ishmael and Baha have a sexual encounter that does happen.
After leaving Hobarton Nesbitt tells Hanford that Baha is a woman. Hanford doesn't believe him. Baha tells Hanford the truth.
Nesbitt is revealed as the informer about McDonough and Hanford being tardy on the return from Colombo. They punish him by keelhauling.
Pilgrim receives the lone survivor from Rachel, the ship that rescued Ishmael after Pequod was sunk by Moby Dick.
Pilgrim sails into the horse latitudes and is becalmed for days. The crew mans the boats to tow the ship, but little headway is made.
Another ship, Winslow, comes to Pilgrim's aid with much needed water.
At last the ship has the possibility of tracking Moby Dick in the Philippine Sea.
At last Pilgrim sights Moby Dick. The crew is not prepared to be the hunted as the rogue whale speeds toward the ship. A pod of females and young save Pilgrim from the same fate as Pequod.
Pilgrim sights another whaler, Junior, after its encounter with Moby Dick. Captain Strunk visits Junior's captain. Junior's crew crosses to have a gam with Pilgrim's crew.
Ishmael hides Baha in the captain's cabin but to no avail as Nesbitt presents evidence to Junior's crew that a woman is on board. Junior's crew is intent on finding the woman.
After successfully removing the threat to Baha Pilgrim finds itself amidst another storm.
As the storm abates Moby Dick is sighted again. He is wary so the ship is forced to continue
to track the rogue whale.
to track the rogue whale.
Finally the ship is in position to lower the boats with the crew eager to engage in what they think will be the ultimate battle with Moby Dick.
One reader stated that the final fifty pages of the novel were as good as it gets for adventure and excitement.
I hope as you read those fifty pages you agree with his assessment.