The Pequod and its crew meet their end in a fierce sea battle with Moby Dick, the great white whale against which Ahab is determined to get revenge at any cost. When the Pequod has its encounter with Moby Dick, the ship is on the equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Ahab and his mariners had seen Moby Dick before in the Atlantic and Indian oceans:
To the credulous mariners it seemed the same silent spout they had so long ago beheld in the moonlit Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Ishmael, the sole survivor who lives to tell the story, describes the Pacific as, ironically, mild and sweet as the ship is about to meet Moby Dick. When the crew spots the whale, the sea is still calm, a contrast to the monstrous creature:
And thus, through the serene tranquillities of the tropical sea, among waves whose hand-clappings were suspended by exceeding rapture, Moby Dick moved on, still withholding from sight the full terrors of his submerged trunk, entirely hiding the wrenched hideousness of his jaw.
After a three-day chase, Moby Dick wins, sinking the ship. Ishmael describes the ship's very end as follows:
And now, concentric circles seized the lone boat itself, and all its crew, and each floating oar, and every lance-pole, and spinning, animate and inanimate, all round and round in one vortex, carried the smallest chip of the Pequod out of sight.