The main character Ishmael, stays at an inn while preparing to find a ship to acompany on a whaling voyage. He meets the native-american Queequeg, with whom he's forced to share a bed.
Ishmael and Queequeg meet Captain Ahab and the crew of his ship, the Pequod. The two join the crew and set out with Ahab on his journey to hunt the white whale, Moby-Dick.
The Pequod met several other ships on it's voyage, and it's crew managed to kill many whales which were towed along the ship's sides.
A crew member tells Ahab of a prophecy predicting his death. Queequeg falls ill and has a coffin made for himself, he recovers however and the coffin is turned into a life buoy.
The Pequod encounters Moby-Dick and attempts to kill it. The ship is badly damaged in the fight and ends up sinking. Ahab's death prophecy comes true. The ship's crew is killed in the chaos as the white whale swims away.
As the soul survivor, Ishmael floats to shore on Queequeg's coffin. He was the only one who lived to tell the tale.