Cape Cod's Nature Place

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History


CANCELLED: Digging into the Past: Peleg Nye, The Jonah of Cape Cod


by Nils V. Bockmann 


July 10th: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

 In 1864 first mate Peleg Nye, veteran whale-man and former whaling captain, was climbing the chain of command aboard the George W. Lewis out of Provincetown, Massachusetts.

On this voyage, a captured sperm whale hit the bow of Nye's whaleboat, sending Peleg over the bow and into the Leviathan’s closing mouth. Nye and the dying whale slipped beneath the surface, Nye's twitching legs protruding between its teeth. Thanks to providence, and his captain's makeshift medical skills, Nye survived. He returned home eight months later as an immediate celebrity, the "Jonah of Cape Cod."

Nye's story is historical fact, authenticated by the captain's logbook held in the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Kendall Collection. The meticulous research of author Nils V. Bockmann reveals the complex world of nineteenth-century whalers and the savage industry they served. 

Nils V. Bockmann, author of the 19th-century whaling biography, Peleg Nye, The Jonah of Cape Cod, holds a B.A. in English & Writing from the University of Massachusetts and an M.A. from Suffolk University. He is a former Cape Cod Community College Trustee, English Composition tutor, and Project Forward teacher.