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 Flying Fish and Other Wild Visitors 
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Post Flying Fish and Other Wild Visitors
From James Clark Ross' A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions, During the Years 1839-43:

"This evening [22 Feb 1840], soon after dark, a number of cuttle fish sprang on board over the weather bulwark, fifteen or sixteen feet high; several passed entirely across the ship, and altogether not less than fifty were found upon the decks. We could not on this, as on a former occasion, ascribe their visit to the sea washing them into the vessel, the water at the time being quite smooth, and only a moderate breeze blowing."

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Fri Mar 03, 2006 3:16 am
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From the Annual Register (Vol. 56, 1814):

"10 [January]. The Hilsborough packet, on the passage from Portpatrick to Donaghadee, was literally covered, in the rigging and deck, by a flock of larks: they had taken their departure from some place at or near Portpatrick, and, in order to have a rest by the way, swarmed about the packet. so soon as they got near shore, they made a rapid flight for the land."

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Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:52 pm
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From Steam Warfare in the Parana by Lauchlan Mackinnon...

They saw what looked like a cloud of smoke approaching the ship, which turned out to be a swarm of locusts.

"To estimate their numbers, would be perfectly impossible; but certainly for one hour they were continually driving against every part of the steamer like a heavy fall of snow."

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Last edited by susan on Sun May 28, 2006 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:03 pm
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More from Mackinnon's Steam Warfare in the Parana. This is from a section ("Sketches of South America") derived in part from a work by naturalist Felix Azara:

"The Curiyu is a large snake of frightful appearance, heavy on land, but not in water; it is gentle and inoffensive. This reptile generally lives in rivers and marshes. It gets on board sailing vessels, by clinging to the rudder, and devours poultry and even biscuit; I have heard that it will follow vessels for days together."

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Sun May 28, 2006 7:52 am
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From Volume I of Recollections of a Naval Life by James Scott:

"...a large fish, of the baracouta species, leaped over the lee-quarter, and, alighting upon the arm of the man at the lee-wheel, bit the poor fellow so severely as to lodge him in the doctor's list for three weeks: it must have had its jaws open in this singular flight, and have closed them immediately upon finding itself in contact with the object first opposed to its further progress."

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Tue Oct 10, 2006 11:00 am
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From A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, In his Majesty's Ship The Endeavour (1784) by Sydney Parkinson—29 December 1768 after leaving Rio de Janeiro:

"For several evenings, swarms of butterflies, moths, and other insects, flew about the rigging, which we apprehended had been blown to us from the shore. Thousands of them settled upon the vessel; Mr. Banks ordered the men to gather them up; and, after selecting such as he thought proper, the rest were thrown overboard; and he gave the men some bottles of rum for their trouble."

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Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:12 am
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From Some Account of the Falkland Islands, from a Six Months' Residence in 1838 and 1839 (1840) by Lauchlan Mackinnon:

"From the lowness of our bulwarks the flying-fish were continually flying on board, and at night, attracted by the glare of a lantern in the main rigging, in such quantities as fully to provide two good meals a day."

The meals were for the blood-hounds Mackinnon had brought on board with him.

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Wed May 16, 2007 8:20 am
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From Deck and Port; or, Incidents of a Cruise in the United States Frigate Congress to California (1850) by the Rev. Walter Colton:

"Last evening a bird flew on board. He had been driven far out to sea in a gale, and now timidly sought our spars as a place of rest. No one was allowed to molest him for the night; in the morning, turning his eyes in that direction where the land lay, though some three hundred miles off, he bade us adieu and disappeared in the distant horizon."

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Sun Jun 24, 2007 8:14 pm
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" ....and we often observed a large kind of flat-fish, jumping at a considerable height out of the water, which we supposed to be the fish that is said frequently to destroy the pearl-divers, by clasping them in its fins as they rise from the bottom....we were told that the divers, for their security, are now always armed with a sharp knife, which, when they are entangled, they stick into the belly of the fish, and thereby disengage themselves from its embraces...." *

Has anyone idea what the fish was? The flying fish as in previous posts? I don't mind admittting I am ignorant on the subject, so please feel free to enlighten me. :lol:

* from A Voyage round the World by George Anson at Quibo - and I don't mind admitting, as well, I didn't know where that was until I read about the Anson voyage. :wink:

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Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:02 am
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Mil Goose wrote:
" ....and we often observed a large kind of flat-fish, jumping at a considerable height out of the water, which we supposed to be the fish that is said frequently to destroy the pearl-divers, by clasping them in its fins as they rise from the bottom....we were told that the divers, for their security, are now always armed with a sharp knife, which, when they are entangled, they stick into the belly of the fish, and thereby disengage themselves from its embraces...." *

Has anyone idea what the fish was?

I thought this was an interesting question and went looking on-line. I found one blog that talked about Manta and Eagle Rays jumping some height from the waters near Panama. Rays are "flat" enough, I guess. They are certainly large enough to cause problems for pearl-divers, when flying fish would probably not. Since Eagle (and other) Rays are also native to Hawaii, maybe Susan can shed some additional light on this. Do Rays "breach" (leap) in the sea near the islands?

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Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:10 pm
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timoneer wrote:
Since Eagle (and other) Rays are also native to Hawaii, maybe Susan can shed some additional light on this. Do Rays breach in the sea near the islands?

Sorry to say, I don't know. The only ray I saw in the wild was happily gliding along a few feet beneath the surface of the water.

Sounds to me more like a shark or barracuda. The grasping with fins is puzzling.

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Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:26 pm
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susan wrote:
The grasping with fins is puzzling.

If it were a Ray of some sort, maybe they meant the "wings" (my term) - the extensions of the Ray's body that seems to flap as it glides through the water.

I did a little more reading about Rays without finding anything out about them leaping from the water but I did find some information that Rays like to make physical contact with human divers. Modern SCUBA divers have made these reports which are fairly common. I would think a pearl-diver 200 years ago would panic if a Ray rubbed its body against them. It might even seem that the "wings/fins" were being wrapped around the diver.

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Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:21 pm
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timoneer wrote:
If it were a Ray of some sort, maybe they meant the "wings" (my term) - the extensions of the Ray's body that seems to flap as it glides through the water.

I did a little more reading about Rays without finding anything out about them leaping from the water but I did find some information that Rays like to make physical contact with human divers. Modern SCUBA divers have made these reports which are fairly common. I would think a pearl-diver 200 years ago would panic if a Ray rubbed its body against them. It might even seem that the "wings/fins" were being wrapped around the diver.

Don


Mantas also have short rays on either side of their maws that might look to a frightened diver like grasping appendages. I've read that mantas breach, but I've never seen it myself. That being said, I live in an inland valley, so my opportunities for seeing it are necessarily limited.

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Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:57 pm
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From William Stanhope Lovell's Personal Narrative of Events, from 1799 to 1815:

"...the sea rose all round us, angry, black, threatening clouds, accompanied with water-spouts, and heavy flashes of lightning, gave us warning that a tempest of no common kind was approaching; several land birds of various descriptions, blown from land not in sight, settled on the deck and rigging, in hopes of shelter from the pitiless storm; a woodcock tried to rest upon the capstern on the quarter-deck; a hoopoe, linnets, greenfinches, and other small birds, also endeavoured, poor things! to find shelter, but when the first burst of the tempest came on, they were blown to leeward, and probably perished." :(

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Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:12 am
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From Frederick Hoffman's A Sailor of King George:

"...we experienced a heavy squall, which carried away the foretop-mast and jib-boom, and, most singular to relate, although some miles from the shore after the squall had passed, we found some scores of very small crabs on the decks....They being too small to eat, were given to the Muscovy ducks, who found them a great treat, and soon made mincemeat of them."

Note: Hoffman mentioned that earlier in the day, there had been two waterspouts spotted between the ship and the land.

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Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:39 am
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