The Native People of Eastern Long Island hunted whales in the open ocean, the bays and Sound for thousands of years. After Europeans arrived, Montaukett, Shinnecock and Unkechaug whalers frequently signed on to whaling voyages from Sag Harbor and Greenport. Whale oil was a valuable commodity for lamps and lubrication of machinery including watches and steam locomotives.
When whales were spotted, tall ships would launch whaleboats to chase and harpoon them.
Pictured above is the whaling ship Essex. Whaleboats were stationed on both sides of the ship.
The Arctic was a rich hunting grounds for whales. It also became a graveyard for ships and their crews. Shane Weeks' great-great-great grandfather died in the Arctic on a whaling voyage.