"Though not one of the oarsmen was then facing the life and death peril so close to them ahead, yet with their eyes on the intense countenance of the mate in the stern of the boat, they knew that the imminent instant had come; they heard, too, an enormous wallowing sound as of fifty elephants stirring in their litter. Meanwhile the boat was still booming through the mist, the waves curling and hissing around us like the erected crests of enraged serpents."
Musing: Not much to muse on here - just love for the language. The boats have lowered to hunt the first whale of the season. The whales have disappeared, but it becomes clear that the whales are just under the boats. Waiting. The forshadowing in the first line and the sounds in the last line move me.