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A narrative documenting the voyage of the merchant ship Fortune to the whaling grounds of the North Pacific Ocean. The Fortune sailed in October of 1856 out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, spending two years at sea. Courtis discusses stops at Atlantic and Pacific ports; weather, currents, winds, and routes; seafaring life; natural history (including a detailed description of the whale’s anatomy and physiology); celestial phenomena; geography; native inhabitants; and political history.