They were filthy, determined and exhausted. No wonder they sang.
You’re out on the ocean, miles from home, on a whaling ship. How do you get your crew to work in unison for the betterment of the voyage? After all, you must raise the heavy sails. You must rotate the capstan to raise the anchor. You need everyone working together. One way to get everyone working together…sing. Singing a sea chantey, essentially a work song, allowed for the men to work together at a measured pace. Of course it was also a way for them to entertain themselves. On their free time they’d sing their own songs of home, loves and dreams. We don’t think you’d be surprised to know that at Mystic Seaport we’ve collected many of those songs and we continue to celebrate them with regular performances and festivals. We’ve even created a short film to pique your sea chantey interest. And while there’s not a, “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum,” in it, you will hear…”Nothing but a Humbug!”