ISBN: 0 908569 71 8
First published in Paris as Journal d’un balenier, this translation focuses on Dr Thiercelin’s travels and does not include chapters on whaling operations. It takes the reader to New Caledonia, the Chatham Islands, the South Island of New Zealand, Tahiti and Hawaii. Thiercelin made two voyages in the Pacific, twenty years apart, on the Ville de Bordeaux 1837–41 and the Gustave 1861–64. He provides a rare point of view – that of a well informed, educated European who was neither a missionary nor a government official. While his ideas were limited by the ethnocentricity of the time, his commentary on the French and English colonisation of the Pacific is insightful and often critical.