Whaling Log Records

Compiled by
Charles Haskins Townsend (1925)
and Robert Langdon (1984)

The tables below are both derived from data in the work of the cited author. The buttons above each row sort the table by that category. Click again to sort in reverse order.

above any button indicates selected sort category.

Townsend Notes

Townsend states (p. 70) that “It would be within safe limits to credit American whalers with taking not less than 100,000 tortoises subsequent to 1830. The whaleships of other countries also visited the Galapagos, although not to the same extent.” The logs he examined recorded a total catch of 10,373 tortoises taken by 67 vessels in 151 visits.

Langdon Notes

Langdon's work is the result of a study of ship logs held in more than 40 public and private collections in New England, USA. Microfilm copies of these logs are on file at various museums in Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, as indicated below. Refer to the “PMB No.” column in the table to identify the desired film.

With a few puzzling exceptions, Langdon gives each island's official name. However, each such name is followed here by the English name (in parentheses) which was more likely in use at the time the logs were written. See the Island Visited list immediately below for additional notes, with even more notes (!) pertaining to Langdon's Culpepper and Wenman Islands at the bottom of this page.

PMB NumberCountryCityInstitution §
200-400AustraliaBrisbaneState Library of Queensland
NewcastleUniversity of Newcastle (Library)
200-900 AdelaideState Library of South Australia
CanberraAustralian National University
CanberraNational Library of Australia
Hobart, TasmaniaState Library of Tasmania
MelbourneState Library of Victoria
PerthLibrary Board of Western Australia
SydneyMitchell Library (at State Library of New South Wales)
SydneyUniversity of Sydney
New ZealandWellingtonNational Library of New Zealand (Alexander Turnbull Library)
United StatesHonolulu, HawaiiUniversity of Hawaii Library
§ Note that each institution holds the indicated microfilms, not the actual logs, which are in various collections (not identified) in New England.

Langdon's Culpepper and Wenman Islands

As noted above, with the exception of Culpepper and Wenman Islands, Langdon gives the official names for all other islands. He incorrectly states that these two islands have no other names, apparently not realizing they are now—and were at the time his work was published—officially known as Islas Darwin and Wolf, respectively. This online version gives the official name followed by the English name (in parentheses). Therefore, if Langdon had followed his own example and given the official names to this pair, a typical entry would have been, say, Darwin (Culpepper), instead of the Culpepper (Culpepper) seen in the table derived from his data.

More understandable is his choice of Isla Floreana Island instead of the official Santa María. The latter name is almost never seen elsewhere, in favor of the far more popular Floreana, which has taken on an official (well, almost) status.