A rusty iron try-pot—once used to boil down whale blubber into oil—is seen on the seafloor at the Two Brothers wreck.
Two Brothers hit a shallow reef west of Hawaii on its way to whaling grounds near Japan, breaking apart quickly in the heavy surf.
Another whaling vessel shortly rescued the crew of the Two Brothers—a starkly different fate from that of the captain's previous ship Essex, whose crew was adrift for three months and resorted to cannibalism.
The Nantucket-based Two Brothers hit bottom near French Frigate Shoals, a remote coral atoll in the northwestern islands of Hawaii. The shoals, pictured in this satellite image, are part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Kelly Gleason, a maritime archaeologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), examines a ginger jar at the site of the Two Brothers wreck. Though some ginger jars are used to store the root, the term refers to the shapes of the jars rather than to their contents. "We believe it was used in the galley, for food stores," said Gleason in an e-mail.
A cooking pot rests on the seafloor at the site of the Two Brothers wreck.
"People often think that shipwrecks are only glamorous if you find gold or silver, but in this case, it's truly a working ship," Gleason said. "All the artifacts that we're finding reflect that this was a floating factory."
The shipwreck of another whaling vessel, the Pearl, is seen at Hawaii's Pearl and Hermes Atoll in 2005. In the foreground, iron try-pots used for boiling blubber into oil are visible, as with the Two Brothers wreck.