Chapter 130 - The Hat
In this scene Ahab has been hoisted to the top of the main mast where he can look out across the ocean searching for the white whale.
Unbeknownst to him, a sea hawk begins to circle around his head. A seaman posted atop the mizzen mast (directly behind the main mast and on a slightly lower level) sees the hawk but before he can warn Ahab of the bird's presence, the bird swoops down and snatches the hat off Ahab's head:
"But already the sable wing was before the old man's eyes; the long hooked bill at his head; with a scream, the black hawk darted away with his prize. An eagle flew thrice around Tarquin's head, removing his cap to replace it, and thereupon Tanaquil, his wife, declared that Tarquin would be king of Rome. But only by the replacing of the cap was that omen accounted good. Ahab's hat was never restored; the wild hawk flew on and on with it; far in advance of the prow; and at last disappeared; while from the point of that disappearance, a minute black spot was dimly discerned, falling from that vast height into the sea."