In 1856, a whaling port docks at the depressed Peruvian fishing village of Paita. Among the boat's crew is a young sailor by the name of Herman Melville, who is developing the idea for a novel about a wha...展开le called Moby Dick. Meanwhile, in the village resides a woman named Manuela Saenz, who was at the center of national gossip by becoming passionately involved with Simon Bolivar, the Latin American revolutionary. Melville meets her and attempts to get her to talk about Bolivar. She refuses, but his visit prompt her to re-read Bolivar's letters to her, which causes her to have vivid memories of their time together.