Lopez’ book provides, among other things, a history of the exploration (and exploitation) of the Arctic, and what a ship returning packed with whale bone and blubber meant in economic and material terms. It is astounding now to think of walking English streets in the 19th century illuminated by blubber-burning lamps. Here we have an image of relief and celebration at the safe return of a ship.
‘Young boys from town swarmed her rigging in quest of the traditional garland of sun-bleached ribbons, halfway up the main-topgallant mast.’
Source: Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, p. 2