James Richmond's
California Story

Land Ho! Jonah's Whale

March 7, 1860 I saw today for the first what might be called one of the monsters of the deep. I had been watching with interest the play of the porpoise and the flight of the white winged sea birds. They all form an interesting study and help to pass away the time. But today I gazed with awe and admiration on the form of a sleeping monster of the seas. We did not get a very close view yet think we all felt satisfied that it should be no nearer. The watchman cried "Land Ho!" The Captain got his glasses and pronounced it a whale, sleeping on the water. Orders were at once issued to tack ship. All was excitement among the passengers and everybody rushed to the side causing it to lurch, it almost seemed as if we should go over. The Captain soon ordered the crowd back, the ship righted and gave the little "Sleeping Beauty" a wide berth. It really seemed so emence, that one could not realize that it had the power of motion but we were willing to take the Captainís word for it and not try to arouse him for we all fell that our vessel, large as it was, would be but a play thing in his hands if once enraged. The wonders of the deep are truly wonderful, huge monsters sleeping in the sun on the bossom of the water. How harmless and like an inanimate mass it lay. But, had it not been for our look out and we had disturbed his lordships slumber how powerless we would have been to combat with him, so we gave him a wide wide berth and left him to complete his slumbers and to return to his home beneath the waves.

The thought came to me, how many years since he was a baby whale, and how many more years will he exist. What wondrous changes has the world known since his existance began? Who knows but he is the identical whale that swallowed Jonah. He looked as though had the capacity to swallow a regiment of men and not over load his stomach.