In 1841, at the age of 21, Herman Melville began his second voyage aboard a merchant ship. His voyage on the whaler Acushnet took him from Massachusetts around Cape Horn to the South Pacific Ocean.
Melville deserted his post on the Acushnet when the ship reached the Marquesas Islands in July 1842. He lived with the Typee natives on the islands for many weeks. Melville's first book, "Typee," drew from his time on the island, and his masterwork "Moby Dick" drew from his experience on the whaling ship. Melville commented that his life began on the day he set sail aboard the Acushnet.