"Try Pots ? the Remnants of the Whaling Times" Top 5 Page for this destination Akaroa Favorite Tip by Kakapo2

Akaroa General: 35 reviews and 54 photos

  Try pots in a brick furnace on Beach Road.
by Kakapo2

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Although those huge cast-iron pots look like taken from a cannibal?s kitchen? They are only the decorative remnants of Akaroa?s past as a whaling post. In some info about the Cook Islands I read that when cannibals prepared humans as a meal they baked them in the oven ;-)

Akaroa was the region?s first substantial settlement and an early centre for whaling and seal hunting.

Along the main street (Rue Lavaud and Beach Road) you can see some cast iron whaling pots, so called Try Pots (also: Trypots), which were used for boiling down blubber and make whale oil. (Blubber is a thick layer of vascularized fat under the skin of the whale.) The process of removing blubber from the whale is called flensing. Other parts of the whale which were harvested were the skin and the bones.

In the early days the whales were processed at sea. The try pots were built into the decks of the whalers. This part of the ship was called tryworks.

But in 1837, Captain George Hempelman established the first shore whaling station at Peraki, the first permanent European settlement in Canterbury. Others followed. From then on the carcasses of the whales were dragged to the foreshore and cut into pieces there. In the early 20th century some try pots were brought into Akaroa.

There two or three cast iron try pots were built into furnaces of brick, iron and wood, and then the blubber was boiled there.

In Akaroa you can see three try pots mounted in a brick base on Beach Road (the esplanade), and a single try pot above the beach near the War Memorial.

BTW The Peraki settlement I mentioned earlier as the first shore whaling station in Canterbury, is also located on Banks Peninsula, at Peraki Bay. This bay is about 2 km long and located west of Akaroa Harbour, about half-way between Lake Forsyth and Akaroa Harbour. Coming from Christchurch, you drive along Lake Forsyth before you reach Little River.

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  • Updated Jun 23, 2008
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