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Hackett, John; Gammon, Roland; Ross, Sayre; Breslow, Sally (ed.) / See
Vol. 10, No. 5 (Sept. 1951)

My date with a sea monster,   p. 22-23 PDF (1.1 MB)


Page 22-23

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SALT WATER
RENEZVus
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M Date with
a Sea Monster
ARMED ONLY WITH SPEAR AND CAMERA, AUSTRIAN ADVENTURER
RIDES 60-FOOT WHALE SHARK IN TROPICAL WATERS OF RED SEA
"The whole shark's mouth was broad and situated at the tip of the head. Moving near enough to
have used my harpoon, I found the giant friendly. Touching him, I saw he liked being caressed."
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"I then decided to ride on the shark's back. I swam around and got hold of a back fin to ride
him horseback. Immediately, the monster increased speed, shook me off with a sharp fin flip."
"Riding pickaback a second time, I made the whale shark suddenly angry and he dived into the
depths of the sea. I had been the first scientist to photograph the oc 'in's Iaigs]t lvvethala
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"As I approached, the monster's movements
were very slow, and for a while it did not seemi
aware of my presence. I shall never forget the
enormous gaping mouth and beautiful white-
spotted body of what I recognized to be the
world's largest fish-the whale shark. in front
of his mouth, small pilot fish were moving. He
looked at me with his small alert eyes as a man
would look at a mouse, kindly and tender. The
slowly swinging tail was enormous. I caught
hold of it and was pulled along until he in-
creased speed to shake me off."
22
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From Moby Dick to Scotland's Loch Ness serpent,
stories of underwater monsters have fascinated adventure-
lovers for centuries. But seldom has any adventurer per-
suaded such a monster to sit for its portrait and confirm
its existence. A 32-year-old Austrian scientist, Hans Hass,
however, recently led an expedition into the Red Sea,
dived bravely into the tropical waters where 60-foot whale
sharks abound-and brought back pictures to prove it.
Nicknamed "Big Shark" by Egyptian fishermen, Hass
is more at home hunting underwater giants than he is in
Vienna. On this-his l2th-"monster" mission he deter-
mined to photograph the biggest of known fish, the
snout-nosed whale shark, which has a mouth five feet wide
and 6,000 teeth, 3,000 in each jaw. His sailing party spot-
ted their quarry rippling a smooth morning sea. Despite
the boatmen's fright, Hass went over the side immediately.
The pictures and prose describing the daring encounter
-the first ever made-are reproduced on these pages.
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