National Geographic : 1939 Jul
AT HOME ON THE OCEANS swim, but the sharks were too numerous. Other small-boat trav elers have gone over the side for a daily swim and lived to tell about it, but we saw too many sharks, in the South Pacific at least, to tempt me to follow their example. Sometimes at night a shim mering blob of phosphorescence fifty feet astern showed where a lone hunter fol lowed us, pa tiently waiting. It always gave me an eerie feeling. At other times half a dozen ten or twelve-foot brutes would play around, just under the tran som. Sometimes they would try to rub off para sites by scraping along the bilge of the boat, much to the detriment of the bottom paint. Then my husband would THE HELMSMAN TAKES IT EASY ON A GLASSY SEA During light weather on the cruise to New Zealand, even the tortoises in their pen behind the wheel find sailing smooth. These pets were acquired in the Galapagos. To the right of the author a piece of canvas protects the diaphragm bilge pump, fortunately not needed on the voyage shoot them at a range of three feet with the .45-caliber serv ice pistol. Though they often sank, trailing blood and mortally wounded, the others did not attack them. These memories are too vivid for me to wish to swim offshore in the open ocean. Finally the wind came and we bore away for Niuafoo, so-called "Tin Can Island," expecting to make it the next morning. But the wind freshened steadily and by mid night a slightly denser blob of shadow in the general darkness ahead told us that we were almost on top of the island. We had to change course to avoid it. The landfall did not come as a surprise, for we had been smelling the island for hours. It was smoke that we smelled, but whether from fires or from the volcano on the island we could not tell.* In Fiji I again fell back on candy for trade goods with the children. I wanted some sea shells, and soon found that their quick eyes could find them better than mine. They brought me all I wanted. We had difficulty in obtaining food at any of the islands in the Fiji group until we hit upon the particular thing the natives * See "Living on a Volcano," by Thomas A. Jaggar, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, July, 1935.