Timor Tom

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Timor Tom or Old Tom is a sperm whale from the 19th century, referenced in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick .

The only reference in the book is: [1]

Was it not so, O Timor Tom! thou famed leviathan, scarred like an iceberg, who so long did'st lurk in the Oriental straits of that name, whose spout was oft seen from the palmy beach of Ombay?

Ishmael, inHerman Melville, "Chapter 45: The Affidavit", Moby-Dick: Or, the Whale (18 October 1851)

Ombay may reference the island of Pantar, across the Ombai Strait from Timor.

Dr. Lawrence Blair in his TV program Myths Magic and Monsters, suggests that Timor Tom was a gigantic albino sperm whale, who did not flee whalers, but attacked them and drowned many of them instead.

Timor Tom, known by other names such as Timor Jack and Timor Tim, was an enormous white whale who engaged in battles with English whalers during the early 1800s in the vicinity of the small islands of Oriental Sonde, specifically Lamalera in the Coral Triangle. This extraordinary creature held a significant connection with the traditional sperm whalers of Lamalera, who are considered one of the oldest in the world. In their beliefs, white sperm whales served as both guardians of boats and ships, as well as overseers of their construction and conception. Thomas Beale regarded Timor Tim as "the protagonist of numerous peculiar tales." [2]

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  1. Melville, Herman (18 October 1851). "45: The Affidavit". Moby-Dick; or The Whale . Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  2. "TIMOR TOM TIM JACK WHITE SPERM WHALE". www.mobydick-hermanmelville.com. Retrieved 2023-07-05.