The Sea Cadet, No. 8, Vol. 2, April 1945

of similar type, which had been at­tached to the China Squadron for two years, we dropped anchor off Singapore on our way home to England. We were mildly surprised to find the sea alive with sharks. Again the cooks initiated hostilities. Once more a wire rope, this time with a sturdy hook baited with meat, was slung out but on this occa­sion they meant business. Block and tackle were all ready. The bait was swallowed instantly and the shark, a leaner, tawnier and more active creature than the West Indian monster, thrashed the water and per­formed every known acrobatic trick ashe was slowly hauled up the ship’s side. Though the hook held, he was so ener­getic that he tore his jaws and the bait was in danger of slipping out, but finally he was hoisted inboard. A second shark we caught in Singa­pore Roads that day was a little more cunning. Having quickly swallowed the bait as soon as it was dropped over the side, he immediately became suspicious and proceeded to disgorge it. But be­fore he had completely succeeded a stout rope was dexterously secured around his tail. Nevertheless, he still struggled so much that we feared the rope would break or slip. Would it hold or would it not, I wondered, with my head out of a bath­room scuttle, a few feet from the shark. Finally, “Guns,” a Lieutenant-Com- mander, made sure that he would not slip back to join his fellows. Having obtained a rifle, he took careful aim and scored a bullseye. The shark’s struggles ceased and he was hoisted in and dissected, his spine making a fine walking-stick and his fins excellent scrubbers. His jaws, with their several rows of teeth, were retained by the cooks as souvenirs. It was instantly realized that we were in imminent danger of being stove in, so we pushed the cutter off with an oar and hastily unfurled the canvas. The shark gave us a flying start by heavily slapping the stern and almost unshipping the rudder. We stood off and waited to see what the excited cooks were going to do. They hoped they might get the monster inboard. Hastily rigging up a tackle, they hauled away, gingerly at first and then Singapore— a good base for shark hunting 227 A shark caught of} New South Wales with rod and line. The catch about to be hauled on board we had a sing-song round the fire till it was time to swim out to the cutter, which was waiting to pick us up. We soon reached the ship. No gang­ways had been rigged for so short a stay, and we had left the ship by a boom which had now been withdrawn in preparation for “leaving harbour.” So a rope ladder was dropped down the side of the ship and it was when the duty shipwright was on the bottom rung, securing it, that the biggest shark I have ever seen rose under the cutter and swallowed the knot of meat which the cook had intended for smaller fry. The shipwright upshot the side alike rocket, followed by one or two of the more quick-witted people in the cutter but the majority of us saw the blue of the shark’s back change to yellow ashe rolled onto his belly, and felt the lift of the boat ashe thrashed the water with his tail. He was getting angrier every second, for the splayed wire under the meat had stuck in his throat. with growing confidence. Soon the “bows ”of the vicious creature were high out of the water and only his “stern ”(which nevertheless was the only part w'ith which he could do any damage) was left in the water. But the cooks were too strong or too enthusiastic. Suddenly the wire tore along the shark’s throat ashe dis­gorged the bait, and he flopped back in the water, belly uppermost. Then he rolled over, dived deeply, and so es­caped. When the boat was hoisted in­board and examined, it was found to need repair. Our white shorts, tropical shirts and topees (for we had changed back to the rig of the day in the cutter) were all drenched. In December, 1934, when I was serv­ing in H.M.S. Cumberland, a cruiser
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