It was during the more pleasant weather, that in due rotation with the
other seamen my first mast-head came round.

In most American whalemen the mast-heads are manned almost
simultaneously with the vessel's leaving her port; even though she may
have fifteen thousand miles, and more, to sail ere reaching her proper
cruising ground. And if, after a three, four, or five years' voyage
she is drawing nigh home with anything empty in her--say, an empty vial
even--then, her mast-heads are kept manned to the last; and not till her
skysail-poles sail in among the spires of the port, does she altogether
relinquish the hope of capturing one whale more.