The Daily Dick: Musings From the Greatest Novel Ever
"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.