First of all - Moby Dick is an amazing book! Although the whaling topic is quite out of time, I would still call Melville's writing very modern and I would suggest to all of you to read it.
I appreciate, that my edition of Moby Dick has an Appendix with explanations of all his nautic blabber, because without such a thing, reading it would feel like:
I was impressed by the number of chapters dealing with scientific descriptions of all different species of whales or the anatomic differences between the skeleton of a sperm whale and a right wale (now I even know, that there is such an animal as a right whale) or, for instance, by a whole chapter dealing with possible interpretations of the colour white. Nevertheless, even when I read about the number of teeth in a sperm whale's jaw or the number and dimensions of his ribs, I was fascinated by Melville's writing style. Moby Dick is a mixture of so many different styles and thoughts (some chapters are even written as dramatic dialogue), there are so many references and autonomous characters, it kind of felt like reading a happier and funnier Dostoevskij.
Melville's writing really is amazing – it's still very fresh (of course not all of it) and funny and it carries you away into the strange but fascinating world of the sea on board of the Pequod. I think Melvile himself got a little bit carried away by it while writing, given the sheer amount of motifs, styles and also incoherences and mistakes, like characters that appear to be important at first (because it is hinted that they will play an important role in the story), but are never mentioned again..
When reaching the last 5 chapters, you actually start to wonder when the white whale will finally show up (or if he will show up at all), you are actually as eager as the crew on the Pequod to finally spot him!