National Geographic : 1921 Jan
THE DREAM SHIP Photograph by Ralph Stock SOUTT SlA TS.ANID)RS P'AY A VISIT TO 111T "I)R.\AM SHIP" Leaving the Dream Ship at anchor a cable's length from shore, we took to the dinghy and explored the floor of the ocean thereabouts through water-glasses. This was the place, Pascal informed us, and, sure enough, there was shell, old barnacle-encrusted shell, but widely scat tered. What of a few samples? Pascal grinned and shook his head. "Shark," he muttered apologetically; which, being interpreted, meant that he refused to dive. He pointed out that in the Paumotus it was different. In the Paumotus there was always a reef-surrounded lagoon. where few sharks found entrance. In the Paumotus men dived in couples as a safeguard. In the Paumotus In vain we pointed out that we hap pened to be in the Marquesas and not the Paumotus; that he had been hired to dive in the Marquesas; that we were really very angry-in the Marquesas. He grinned. IIO FOR TAHITI In rather less than half an hour, and to Pascal's utter amazement, we had put him and his belongings ashore, paid him his wages, and were under way for Tahiti. Ah, Monsieur of the incomparable. I rather suspect you of "pulling our legs." Or was it that your innate enthusiasm ran away with you? Or that we should have been less hasty? I do not know. All I know is that you spoke truth; there is shell in the Marquesas-and it is likely to remain there. CHAPTER IV From the moment I first set eyes on an atoll it fascinated me, and its lure has not departed with the years. Think of any place in the world that you have seen, and an atoll is different. It is the fairy ring of the sea. Out of the depths it comes, rearing a vegetation and a people of its own, and often into the depths it goes, leaving no trace. How? Why? Scientists murmur some thing about the vagaries of the corallitic polyp; but, not being a scientist, I prefer my theory of the fairy ring. That was how it looked to me several years ago, and that was how it looked again from the masthead of the Dream Ship.