In this chapter Ishmael explains the meaning of a term that is not to be found in any dictionary of his day but is “in constant use among some fifteen thousand true born Yankees”:

GAM. Noun — A social meeting of two (or more) Whale-ships, generally on a cruising- ground; when, after exchanging hails, they exchange visits by boats’ crews: the two captains remaining, for the time, on board of one ship, and the two chief mates on the other.

Although it might seem improbable that whaleships would meet with any frequency on the vast expanse of the ocean, we should remember what we learned