Timor Tom


Timor Tom (sometimes named Timor Jack, Timor Tim...) was a gigantic white sperm whale who fought english whalers in the early 1800 years near small islands of oriental Sonde (Lamalera, Coral Triangle). He was linked to Lamalera traditional sperm whalers, who are the most ancient of the world. In their representations, white sperm whales are both protectors of boats and ships and moreover, supervisors of their conception and building (Beale considered that he was "the hero of many strange stories"). So, like NZ Tom, he belongs to the "prehistory" of first Pacific war. Timor Tom was clearly self confident and fearless. Crews of english whaleships thought he always destroyed any boat sent against him. Perhaps he was finally killed in a battle against a whaling fleet, who found, as wrote Beale, the contrivance of lashing barrels at the end of harpoons with which he was struck, and while his attention was directed and divided amongst several boats, means were found of giving the raging bull his death wound. Melville offered him an honorific obituary, emphasizing in addition that he escaped to his enemies for a very long time, probably longer than any other legendary fighting sperm whale. An english harpoonner, Bully Sprague, told  he had been swallowed by Timor Tom during the last trip of Anaconda whaleship (so, many years after the supposed period of sperm whale's death). But his story includes so many fabulous aspects that it's probably a joke... In any way, there were probably several sperm whales named "Timor Tom" up to 1860, as Coral Triangle was a step for sperm whales coming from southern and central Pacific and going to Japan for their seasonal grounds...  In "Moby Dick", chapter 87 "The Great Armada", Melville mentions, amongst the immense herd, the possibility of an old white bull, like sacred siamese elephant...

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