This is the 2nd conflict as well as the climax. The men are at the end of their rations and must decide “whether they should eat instead of bury the body” (Philbrick 165). The 1st conflict is when the Essex gets hit and knocked down by a huge sperm whale. The men are now stranded in the middle of the ocean and have no idea what to do. The sailors are severely dehydrated and extremely starved. The men are dying off rapidly and their bodies are being used as food. They have all given up hope of being saved. The crew of the Essex has made it to the offshore grounds and have successfully killed and boiled down a few whales. The 1st mate and his surviving crew get picked up by a vessel a few days ahead of the captain and his crewman. The 3 men on Henderson Island were picked up a while later. The crew started with 20 men and ended with but 8. The people of Nantucket are described as being very superstitious Quakers. How the whalers live on and off shore are told.