The Whaling era began when whalers traveled north to hunt for Sperm Whales. Sperm Whales were highly valued for their oil and bones, and were hunted relentlessly. The oil was used in many different cases such as lamps, cooking, leather tanning, and the making of soap and paint. The whale bones were used for stiffening materials for collars and corsets, fishing rods, umbrella ribs, and whips. At times the whalers’ voyages could last for years, leaving the whalers on their boats for months and months until they could stop for supplies. And what better place to stop for some R&R than Lahaina?!
The whalers came to Lahaina as a resting spot and to get fresh water and supplies. But once they arrived, they found beautiful women and a tropical paradise. The whalers saw Lahaina as a playground where they could drink, relax, and have relations with exotic women. By the mid 1800s, as many as 400 whaling ships would anchor off the coast of Lahaina. This would bring up to 1,500 sailors ashore. Whalers felt that there was no God west of the horn and conducted themselves accordingly. Since the whalers spent so much time in Lahaina drinking and partying it provided a booming business for stores, saloons and inns. But this hard living lifestyle of the whalers was much different than that of the rest of Hawaii’s general population at the time, particularly of the missionaries of the day; leading to much conflict and strife between the two parties for years to come . . .