May 22, 1861: Monterey
By the way, Monterey Bay is a great place for whaling. Two companies are at work, and already over half a dozen whales have been taken here. [Today] we saw them towing one in…He was a huge fellow, fifty feet long. Last year they caught one ninety-three feet long which made over a hundred barrels of oil. After stripping off the blubber, the carcasses are towed out into the bay, and generally drift up on the southeast side. The number of whale bones on the sandy beach is astonishing—the beach is white with them. Hundreds of carcasses have there decayed, fattening clouds of buzzards and vultures. The whales are covered with thick black skin. The tail is horizontal. They have no fins, but a pair of huge “paddles,” one on each side—oars, as it were—like great flat arms covered with skin, three or four feet wide and twelve or fifteen feet long. The ball-and-socket joint which attaches the paddle to the body is wonderful—the ball is as large as the end of a half-barrel. Barnacles grow on the skin in great numbers; I will try to collect some if they do not stink too badly….[This] evening I…called on a prominent Monterey citizen, and spent an evening in female society, and heard a piano for the first time in many months.
Specimens collected: Lotus micranthus; Delphinium sp.; Pinus radiata; Solanum umbelliferum; Clarkia prostrata: Rhamnus californica subsp. californica; Adenostoma fasciculatum; Lupinus arboreus; Eriastrum virgatum; Ceanothus dentatus; Lupinus albifrons var. douglasii.