"Almost forgetting for the moment all thoughts of Moby Dick, we now gazed at the most wondrous phenomenon which the secret seas have hitherto revealed to mankind. A vast pulpy mass, furlongs in length and breadth, of a glancing cream-color, lay floating on the water, innumerable long arms radiating from its center, and curling and twisting like a nest of anacondas, as if blindly to catch at any hapless object within reach. No perceptible face or front did it have; no conceivable token of either sensation or instinct; but undulated there on the billows, an unearthly, formless, chance-like apparition of life.
As with a low sucking sound it slowly disappeared again, Starbuck still gazing at the agitated waters where it had sunk, with a wild voice exclaimed-"Almost rather had I seen Moby Dick and fought him, than to have seen thee, thou white ghost!"
"What was it, Sir?" said Flask.
"The great live squid, which, they say, few whale-ships ever beheld, and returned to their ports to tell of it."
Musing: The beauty of this description always floors me! The men aboard the Pequod believe they have seen the while whale. It turns out they have seen a giant squid. Starbucks remarks that this is a bad sign. Another bad sign for the boat. But the descriptions - the 'nest of anacondas'; the 'unearthly, formless, chance-like apparition of life.' I can almost hear the low sucking sound the squid makes as it disappears below the water line. Still, were I in a whale boat, I would not wish to see this.