Portuguese Shore Whalers of California

When reaching California ports, many whalemen abandoned their ships during the Gold Rush to seek their fortunes in the mines. The reality of gold mining was quite different from the dream. Many whalers subsequently abandoned the gold fields and looked for other opportunities. Some of them became shore whalers.

The activity of hunting whales from land stations was repeated along the entire coast of California from Crescent City in the North to San Diego in the South. By 1879, shore whaling companies had operated from at least 27 different locations along the California coast.

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Portuguese Shore Whalers of California 1854-1904

By today’s standards, whaling is a cruel and heartless industry, pitting men and their equipment against these wonderful mammals of the sea.  Yet whaling once played an important part in improving people’s standard of living in many areas of the world.