Instead of rounding Cape Horn, Ahab heads for the equatorial Pacific Ocean via southern Africa.
The chief mate is 30-year-old Starbuck, a Nantucket Quaker with a realist mentality, whose harpooneer is Queequeg; second mate is Stubb, from Cape Cod, happy-go-lucky and cheerful, whose harpooneer is Tashtego, a proud, pure-blooded Indian from Gay Head, and the third mate is Flask, also from Martha's Vineyard, short, stout, whose harpooneer is Daggoo, a tall African, now a resident of Nantucket.
Five previously unknown men appear on deck and are revealed to be a special crew selected by Ahab.
Their leader, Fedallah, a Parsee, is Ahab's harpooneer. Southeast of the Cape of Good Hope, the Pequod makes the first of nine sea-encounters, or "gams", with other ships: Ahab hails the Goney (Albatross) to ask whether they have seen the White Whale, but the trumpet through which her captain tries to speak falls into the sea before he can answer.
The London publisher censored or changed sensitive passages and Melville made revisions, as well, including the last-minute change in the title for the New York edition.
The whale, however, appears in both editions as "Moby Dick", with no hyphen.