Friday, December 3, 2010

Nantucket from Native American, Nattick, meaning far away land

Nantucket Island and the waters around it are the birthplace of “modern” whaling, but Nattick Indians had foraged there for whales in the centuries before the first Europeans arrived [1]. As Philip Hoare tells us, “the word [Nantucket] is Native American, Nattick, meaning far away land; and from far away, its wharves once stank so much that visitors could smell the island before they saw it.”

Today, visitors from far away and nearby come here for recreation including kayaking, seal cruising and whale watching. What to look for on Nantucket? Weathervanes in the shape of whales.

Residents of Nantucket are called Nantucketers.

[1] Philip Hoare: The WhaleIn Search of the Giants of the Sea. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2010; see Chapter V Far Away Land.

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