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Acres of Sharks

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, July 19, 2017

March 30th, 1911

Acres of Sharks

The following story in the Sunday Portland Telegram reads like an extract from one of the marvelous stories of Jules Verne :

"Presumably having been frightened away from their accustomed haunts by an earthquake or a volcanic eruption, thousands of Asiatic man-eating sharks darkened the sea over an area of 10 miles long and eight miles wide, off the Oregon coast yesterday. From 7 until 10 o'clock the American-Hawaiian liner Falcon, Captain Schage, arriving from San Francisco last night, was steaming through the great school and she was reeling off 10 miles an hour.”

“Except an occasional stray now and then, the officers of the Falcon said this morning that they never saw a man-eating shark so far north before. They were crowded together, and each appeared to be about 3O feet in length. J. B. Heal, the chief engineer of the steamer, said they were adorned with fins as large as the centerboard of a sailboat. They seemed to be headed in no particular direction. Aside from scurrying away to keep from being struck by the prow of the Falcon, the monsters appeared to be in no hurry, leisurely working back and forth in the huge procession.”

"Just how far the mass extended out to sea could not be determined. Sharks still were visible for a distance of four miles on either side of the vessel. Nervous and fidgety, the man-eaters led the officers of the steamer to the belief that they had become panic stricken over some upheaval in Oriental or Southern waters, and, like human beings, they fled for their lives.”

"One theory advanced is that after being driven from the warm seas in which they make their home, the sharks followed the Japanese current across the Pacific. In this manner, it is explained, they would be in water of fairly high temperature. Others on the Falcon say that they may have come from down about the Hawaiian Islands. However, all are agreed that the sharks must have been forced to take flight on account of a disaster of some sort.”

"Chief Engineer Heal, First Officer A. Sorrenson and William Goodwin, the cook, declare that in all their experience at sea, they never saw any thing to compare with this monster pack of sharks in any other part of the world. Even in the home of the man-eater, they never ran across anything to equal the sight they beheld yesterday. The steamer began to run into the sharks in the latitude of Yaquina Head."

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