The Lost Whaling Voyage of Dirty Dan Harris
August 1851-December 1853

Constantine Papadakis (manager) talks about how the discovery was made:
Spring 2010

In the winter of 2008, Fairhaven historian Ralph Thacker successfully identified a series of ships where local pioneer Dan Harris had possibly served as crew-member.

Ralph called a number of historical whaling museums back East in an attempt to secure the ship records, if any, for the candidate ships. All but one of the voyages had some form of record. In 2009, after several unsuccessful months of finding any mention of Dan, Ralph struck gold. Ralph had been transcribing various passages seeking a mention of Dan Harris. In one of the books, Ralph found the first mention of Dan under a sub-heading "Instances of punishment on-board". Apparently, Dan spent his 19th birthday in a Tasmanian jail for quarreling with a crew-mate. Ralph located a series of other mentions throughout the log. This was the first time in 157 years anyone had identified Dan's whaleship. The Levant, under command of the famous American captain Mercator Cooper, is credited with the first American landing on Victoria Land (a part of East Antarctica). Dan Harris is actually named as the crew-member who "...stepped out onto the ice and reported ice-birds." This information was directly uncovered from log book records.

After verifying Dans' presence on board, Ralph proceeded to transcribe the actual latitude and longitude as recorded each day by the ships mate. Ralph asked me to proof and confirm the accuracy of the figures and help transcribe. The handwriting of an 1850's sailor, while at sea, was difficult to decipher to say the least. We then gave the data to Chris Behee, Geographic Information Specialist in Bellingham. Chris plotted the data into a GIS program and the numerical data we provided transformed into location points on the world map. The remarkable voyage had emerged. All three of us (four including Dan) were pleased that such a great discovery was made.

I realized we needed to share the discovery, thinking others might appreciate a little American History and the voyage one of our founding pioneers had endured. I decided to showcase the voyage on a giant map. I started looking for a map in mid-2009 or so. Finally, I sourced an appropriate period map that would feature the voyage most effectively. This is a map print from the actual time period. The steakhouse then commissioned Myron Zorger of Bellingham to hand illustrate the voyage onto the sourced map. In early-2010 we mounted the map on display in the steakhouse for guests to enjoy. Next time you dine with us, be sure to seek out the map and have a look for yourself. It is located towards the rear of the restaurant near the kitchen. If you have questions about the map email us: info@dirtydanharris.com