Journal Entry: August Second

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We are nearing the home port in Cadiz--another six or seven days, if the wind holds. I think I shall be glad to be back on dry land. My legs desire greater exercise than walking to and fro on deck and the occasional climb into the rigging. I am kept occupied, on occasion, by what is brought in from the sea to supplement the dry rations kept on board. I am keeping a catalogue of fish and sea vegetables, and their edibility, as some things are thrown back, either because they are not palatable, or as they are deadly. (Of course some deadly substances can have great medicinal use in small quantities, so I am retaining samples for future study.)
One sea creature I have yet to witness is the one most spoken of as of late. Every sailor wishes to find a shark before we come to port. I was surprised to hear of this; I rather think sailors would keep far away from sharks. Persistent naturalist that I am, I questioned the crew further. The shark of which they speak is a ferocious beast, incredibly large in size, prodigiously strong and so agile that it may leap from the water onto the very decks of ships to feast upon the unfortunate crew. What a monster! I should very much like to document such a thing, especially as it is as yet unnamed. It frequents the waters of the main shipping lanes, and one of the jobs of the White Star is in fact to patrol the sea and protect merchant vessels from the deadly depredations of the great shark. That’s why the ship has such large cannons, and so many of them. A necessary precaution, I must say. I have instructed the crew to fetch me at once if we do come across such a shark, and if they can safely capture it, so much the better.