Florida enchantments

Material Information

Florida enchantments
Dimock, A. W ( Anthony Weston ), 1842-1918
Dimock, Julian A ( Julian Anthony ), 1873-1945
Place of Publication:
Peekamose N.Y
A.W. Dimock
Publication Date:
Rev. ed.
Physical Description:
ix, 338 p., 120 leaves of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Seminole Indians
Description and travel -- Florida
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Statement of Responsibility:
by A. W. Dimock ; illustrated with photographs by Julian A. Dimock.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
020508259 ( ALEPH )
07327945 ( OCLC )
AHC3339 ( NOTIS )


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Full Text





The trees stand like ghosts in the heavy morning mists.
(S. chapter 18'





ILLUsTurmD wrnl mHOrAmS or

A. W. Dimock
p ,k,1, N.915

For prmkalmn to repblish much of the material In "Florida En-
miMn- o the albor Is indebted to:
ApplW.', Thi Cwlary, Country ULie is Amsoa, Hwarper' Mayp-
Mes, Rpwr' Werkly, Oratvg, oeere.rm, Ilutrkad London. NeW,
Laund. O0"r Uafe and Ps Xesl M.tgai.


CopyWg, 1908, by
Coparlgh, I1, by

An rigUA rWrad



I HoMosAam Tan Bsorti.. . .
II CauIae ON Tun Gurm COAr orP FLORam .17
III TaH CAutn or Tmn MANATm .. .. 9
IV THx CmHAi or Tn Dozsm . 6
V M or Moon . 77
VI TsN FLODA Ccoam . . 89
VII S&A WATn FLT-rIumo . 10
VIII THE Pasae or o FLOUsA AmauAToa 115
IX TmH Bn Hvm ... .. .. 9
XI A FLOmIDA FAMILY' Picmc .. ... 151
XII TAnro Filamn .... .. .161
XIII Tin TAnawo amn aT SHAmK . .. .177
XIV A SouVa DrA ....... 191
XV LrUI mA Brio RooKsmT .. . .20
XVI CROsmwe Tw EvmaneUsm A Powm BoAT 215
XVII A Ta A mat Farma . .. .81
XVIII Tmazrr TRAcu m w2T Bie Crm . 2s5
XIX AN ALrxaATon HvmInT m Tsn Mamne 6
XX YACHTIGe m A Cwon . . 277
XXI ,A FaiP WIHr A DvmL-rm .. .
XXII THn LaY or TwH Lai D . .. 0
XXIII Tarou AnD Tas Monms .... .81
XXIV WILD Larm PHoromaura. .s8


Te ualma !o like ghoob in the bhq making ait. Flommoepiew
At the apprb odfourbaot thagdirb ibed ift do w ae 4
An aImbmwat 8om .
The sst wuassmpilmat IS
The amaaiami hmt with s ... b .

Thehmun Ua'S au .*. *
Tellay ofdthe logrhead. o
Shdl mnnxb of Aborigne antowedmb6 lenbed by coone and dma. pamm. go
Asudden dbdothd-a-b1-a ewlyu Ig. 40
The powal tailSe tstheski. .4t
He drap smi tdo mteo. o o 48
Viewof ba-ibioing to..a ... .. 4
Handdmee. Skop .-arsspiasalmfdpig. S
Theffipamedoine agto phm Iw kh 1k nab d Se am& So
Tuack XV. A lumont dot Mlaee an Rn'sRiver o
Whenth DijDobbin inckr thmwie is mi & WW hswI wf
ThmeshfaEmo ivdthi towedstLimu o8
Gaffed ad polledttind sideo dot .. .
Tving tomethbiuaboarr hadl.L Her ohis in a yhntuihsd a
Tai bl &d e bow way of g Ift bin bf do boat o a(I
Tm laudbedanalwdin h.hg. B
rweimig a vast wammp. A aamd pple trs is the Am~umd IS
Mading Moaood.-Tke aor, d* 6finhlnd faice a b g qlpu
sbmmp csavb the lowl bba uId..t.. Be
A wdoW ve g is In* an the *W 6*kb of the poka 1 ,11
Frequani t of d The 6IMhed mil meol a ed emin. .
Smgisp~u ed Rskis.. the i~anogmhh -l alvy pnspmrd fer san
a 3

Cbsomingod of birrin cove .br ...
C:~azq amm br~sz=gsuht 84

clhi do mabo a the I. .
s in a tudeaat
(1) J= at the mnm (3)w M Awkwaid Islu.1 M Bons.
wrdbomd ...
lie had ad to Goodile-() Top view @hswla the bhe IA Fa-
nth oI uppe Jaw. M Iaw jawadth (s)dBd
ki im (mmuawm"ihM twI
Fro hwbomb at GaminoahPow wmedteyo. SO
in propdM to a t"e de46mh WE dhoat my a. A &i zbb
e fori juI0 .. .0
PiA ad gab la upi ha wand -s hi palidreq IMm 166
Ukeha u itSo dueut ad the ufmihoh ad pmubg tm @M 11
l7kh thed aheod. .118
() Twodoltca the smdow in"ta er. it M:)it sobile'
hae adod t boat (3) "Goodbg.b, u phoift hm" M. 18
An a0a7 ahedood airiAb -o for hil -c I
A bot coal id a piece ao cook w ri ad .. qpona h mmm mfi
tboo and amWhisM Ne ... .1
A tow huaodm pinwh to th 4k ba was @aBomWd1N& o dk tu
Mr, d#rf the macmd Nho At th piomt ad bummd the ee
muhnd a .116
ftodo ba tree . .1W
T6ehsmadobehbb. .1
Thl e oeb ad be. .

lbe mod doy the ovi wed OW bhe . .
Theudieis i . 143
Cd the doBw4-(1) 2Im is a big evid Is the watr ) YMe
~ lto hue bhho M )seu the bh g &abwu
to do ffm .16
gdo6 elamam n boo .13
Ow qowd 1e iste ad in f b ot bn hem 14B
Aabbe formpda ea ada.y..d. .. m
lydo b mb h SoM ad .. .. l
M&M m htbhduI-Ib .r ad. 1I
Rom ft imt up do lobg d dows hr W bb o m lhr .180
A wddm pd at do b rym a da Im g w *r XG i
TWJ@Fddwt' d robr upsw age of Saba mY
Be h owdw dde s bb i mbn fr had=. .. M

11. oummss smor muhb his adwemaq god JI* Ma g bbW 17%
A abakad thOtpI intwo ... *. .
Up! Up! he 'wee tmod doe uemmi poabie alteamu .IgS
He duehed Im do GoI fhiwh big Gm Nb. ..
The hmmwuhema U1o e& ifib a* od de ft h.
A koif. di& anemo de hdb~m agqm dbdod tde fpm is sotlooo
with te bhook Inija .. nS
Theishohm&wMi a Idsh wpi m AdiodSo mo .
Igotinbtbe Io v tithainh..ged emkdieup m
The taipmom id 11 itd hme asooeed. wM I saoip as.~01
mmd. ..Igo
BuRrt and moast bwiu waem dLinig UMbbo W
In the Gladoebrhid tde mmohm womaIsomagU&E., .
Neirthe Iubenas a ha fte o mIobid m M he M
Madm Come kusing home. .
Yown Cadew. but hin hh bt ye. . .
The yows Water T u we noe bhbhW, m- IeIhed .. a .
Baby Blec, one y* umtad US
Babyl aher dipdd US
BabyBbw4hurmlt.Ie fiveed . EU
Baby od danq*ID two for bho . 313
Ladmia ammel pug t1t
IIHaraI Ri,.. Tlhead of the Alra w ambd ith bsinb, a
Mortdfwat.Ey m.
A view l do Glades heome a Nv AN e. m
Now and dome we pol d a gi mwpm .dU
Whaerewe mmpedfothmu&. .
Our ampnmbuodieasl .
a youg 2rmmd s .
Roudig Cap Bolbemm the wbm tr p
For five doy we Mod, aboard Ab jm1vs mrm .
The watar Aoled si we amid hei* boe th -m US
Thomb bu l woy &pd bgm d o me-mos &W#aft dmmd .U
We foietad trai mt brhae un *W AdMd =a *& US
At (smah's am tdm wa a &d ds- 'p I d b
u* deths ww .. .
We pmed m.pim b omeIeujd muks of &du .efk .
mib miumm a~in fueoedu and @NNWd mhrgh a 4d Lb
Indian wmq 1bs j .. .
Down th Cakrnmhoes Riv t- gh oo ood wdw4&i& go


It would be wicked to kill wild birds that are u friendly a those 0
They responded promptly to the call of a tree felled by the workmen S
At Arst they turned inquiring eyes upon the camera when the shut-
ter clicked .- . . 9.
The habitat of these birds is surrounded by mots, sentineled and
guarded by ferce warder .... . O
A hunter drags a torch of palmetto fans until the prairie is swept
by a wall of roaring fames . .. .9
One hunter thrust a thin iron rod through the sol until it struck
the 'gator ................. 979
Another caught hi hook n the jaw of the reptile . 974
We roasted a few bunches of oysters which we gathered from an-
grove trees ................. .9S
We spent twenty-four hours in Marc-our only concession to con-
vention during the cruise . ... ...... .
At times we were in rivers, deep and swift . ... .
We watched the ways of birds . . .. .
Together we rushed the canoe into the first breaker ..... .. 00
Sweeping up the beach with all the enthusiasm with which a cow-
boy strikes town after a round-up ......... S0o
A strange body with a top lke that of a lake stemer .. 04
The expert catches her by the edge of her shell and the hind clipper 306
You neither measure nor count your portion, you simply eat all
thereare.................. 810
Houseboats have been constructed fitted with every convenience
and luxury ... .. .: .. .. 1
The tough hickory of the Forester's favorite rod beat Into a semi-
circle ................... ..
As the Forester staggered beneath the weight of the tarpon the
canoe rolled gleefully over . . . es
The shark is brought beside the skiff and the ooup prn ad-
ministered with a revolver . ...
I deposited my avoirdupois in the bottom of the canoe and shed
from that unpieturesque position . .. a.
In the Everglades .. . .Mg


floriba nc.bantmenti


F LORIDA the Fascinating, cast the spell of her
witchery upon me many years ago. I felt
it then, I know it now. We were sailing my
family and I, up the lovely Homosasa and approach-
ing the little islet which sentinels the small bay that
fronts on Tiger Tail Inland, once the home of the
famous Seminole, afterward the manor of the late
David L. Yulee, and at the time of which I write, a
realized Utopia. From the narrow channel at Shell
Island, the mouth of the river, we had sailed through
four miles of river that sometimes widened into bays
and at others narrowed, until at Hell Gate the big
white sail of the sloop that carried us, seemed to ill
the gap between the forest-lined bans. The water
was alive with fih, the trees filled with birds and on
every hundred yards of shore could be sen an alliga
tor resting on his bed and then gently glidin into the
water when our boat approached him. There was
nothing to suggest human occupation, until, as the
ay behind the beautiful palmetto key at Hag
p began to open to our view, a wave of perfume

Florida Enchantments

from a grove of blossoming orange trees rolled over
us. Soon there spread before us the lawn, the old
plantation house, from the piazzas of which orange
blossoms or ripe oranges could then be gathered, and
the orange grove which was dotted with little two-
room houses singly, and in groups, through which any
desired degree of isolation could be secured by guests.
As we reached the little dock we were met by the
Boss of the island, a vivid personality, with a genius
for housekeeping, who made of hospitality an art.
In five minutes we were initiated members of her big
family, the like of which for charm and congruity I
have not since met. There were scholars and sports-
men, naturalists, geologists and botanists, travelers
and scientists of national reputation, and neither a
pedant nor a snob in the bunch. A little house in
the orange grove, a hundred yards from the main
hall, was assigned us, and within the hour we were
settled there. Our nearest neighbor, a naturalist
from Philadelphia, was working at his table, which
was placed under an orange tree beside his cabin,
mounting the skin of a rare bird which he had shot
that morning. He showed me his room, filled with
the tools of his profession, the weapons of a sports-
man and the books and pamphlets of a student. It
was all placed at my disposal so cordially that it
seemed churlish not to accept something, so I bor-
rowed his skiff and boatman for the afternoon, as
one of the two skiffs for which I had arranged was not
ready for me and I really couldn't keep off of that
entrancing river. My little family followed in the

At the approach of our boat the alligator tumbled into the water.

- -7 C'~ YnRllswr~u

H-IWMUe, t Beajiful

Other skif ad a program that aIed for weeks was
esabishaed. We were rowed up the HRomo- m to
Prie's Creek, up which w wmr taraing, when I saw
the head of a deer showing haboe t ghe t rasa he
stood in the water within a hnaWd yaaoft wme. As
I rased a waring hand my bo toemA d .1 owing
and a the skrf steadied I bot my "J"l deer.
Within two hours ot our arrival and of oar
leaving the dock for a hunt, I had rtued to it ad
was udue acquainted with e custom of the <-W
manft to weloea each day its returauru 6|g
and coqartulate or mahe friendly fm dof tdlt Ge
events jitiied. For dinner we had g Aiij d nl
turly sa4 duck, sweet potato paoe ad t i'd
tieYl Soutner dishes that in
kitchen cold opa After diner the real ife
of thcoloy beg. Wagastered ia the sain rooia
in whieb was i bteplSoe where buyig red cedar
logs tlled the bho with fragrance sa left ashs of
now to p*Laure the Tlier kind dof aa
ae to th ladie of te taa btugkt music of
x dgpeI frqom the pisapo, ad a ceB Mi the big
kiia tfor d.4ay and banjoi always mt with a
rpoequie, but thr chi0f chara at tim eOengl was
the ConenWation. Ba member at the -oomauyu
wa"s heated to account for hi day and derriaioM
of g9 o the inciddnt= theeof were sure to drift
ito dneqsion that contribute pleasure and profit

yd ar*y botBman was a young, sawedoff speci-
meB who were a hat with a brim the se of an

Florida Enchantments

umbrella and who sat so low in the skiff that from a
distance, as he rowed, nothing of him could be seen
but a broad hat-brim resting on the gunwales and
oars projecting from under it. On our second day
we were rowed slowly up the river, viewing with
much interest the oak, red cedar, palmetto and great
flowering magnolia on its banks. Countless thou-
sands of ducks were dotting the water on every side
and in the broad shallows mullet leaped high in the air,
hundreds in every minute. At the head of the river
we floated on the famous Homosassa Spring out
of which boils the river. The spring is almost circu-
lar, about a hundred feet in diameter and sixty in
depth, and through its crystal clearness the smallest
fish can be distinctly seen. As we lunched upon its
bank a wild turkey lit upon a tree above us, mocking
birds sang to us and a cardinal bird inquired if we
intended to leave any crumbs. As I gazed on the
marvelous spring, in the perfect peace of that balmy
day, the spirit of the Fountain possessed me and
I dreamed that I had found what Ponce de Leon
so long and so vainly sought. Now, after many years
which have taken their lawful toll of the body, I can
yet believe that Perpetual Youth of the spirit is one
of the Florida Enchantments.
As we had some hours to spare, I told the family
that Tat and I would get an alligator to take home.
Within a few hundred yards of the spring we found
a small one about five feet long, which I shot and
stowed in the skiff under the thwarts with his head
toward the stern. Just as we reached the spring

Homowsas, the Beatiful

and I had assumed the air of nonchalance becoming
a successful hunter, the reptile came to life and
scrambled toward me. Tat dropped his oars and
grabbed him by the tail, while I stood up on the seat,
slowly backing to the extreme end of the skiff as the
head came on, until the jaws opened wide and I went
over the stern. As I swam to the bank where we
had picnicked, the two children were rolling on the
ground in convulsions of joy, while their mother was
struggling to repress the manifestation of a kindred
emotion. Tat secured the alligator before he could
escape, and after I had killed him again he tied him
securely and carried him home. As we approached
the dock and I witnessed the gathering of the clans
and realized my soaked and shabby appearance and
the public inquisition I must submit to, I longed for
the ring of Gyges.
Owing to the sporadic character of the supply of
venison provided by her guests, the Boss contracted
with a Cracker hunter for regular deliveries of that
staple. She also bargained to teach him to read
and whenever he came to the house the well-thumbed
spelling book was produced from an inner pocket and
the lesson recited. He was deeply interested, but the
nearest I ever knew him to come to identifying the
words of his lesson was when he spelled and pro-
nounced "D-o-g" "Squeal." His camp was twelve
miles from Homosassa, two of water, four of cypress
swamp, and six of pine timber. One day an enthu-
siastic young member of the family insisted on going
home with him for a hunt. The Cracker brought

Florida Enchantments

him back the next day in a chastened frame of mind.
After the first mile of swamp the hunter carried the
rifle of the youth, after the second he added to his
own load a buck that he shot. Three miles before
the journey's end, he fixed up a camp and built a
fire for his companion who could walk no farther.
Then he tramped three miles to his camp, got bread,
coffee, flour and blankets and returned to the youth.
The colony did laugh a little, until an old hunter
suggested that to qualify a man to laugh intelligently
would require him to take a twenty-four-mile tramp
with Hodges himself.
The laugh was not always on the man from the
city. A Cracker, with a hound for driving deer,
called at the Island one morning to take a sportsman,
who lived in a Western city, out hunting. Mr. Mears,
the sportsman, appeared with a rifle, and Wheeler,
the Cracker, refused to take him unless he would
exchange his rifle for a shotgun with buckshot
cartridges. He said he was tired of making deer
run over city folks, who couldn't hit them with a
rifle at ten feet. Mears smiled at Wheeler's earnest-
ness and pointing out an osprey that was sailing high
in the air over them, said, "If I put a bullet through
that bird can I go?"
Wheeler didn't reply.
"If I put two bullets through him can I go?"
Again there was no reply. Mears brought his
rifle to his shoulder, sent a bullet through the bird,
and as it was falling, pierced it with another. He
then went hunting with Wheeler. My neighbor, the

An alligator at home.

6* 1 *

Homoaea, tM Beauiful
naturalist, took Meam duck shooting, over decoys
from a blind, and the latter wi is rile made a larger
scorethan tha e former who used fowling piece.
The late Doctor Perber, b8bved of the colony,
its shrman par xodkmI was the friend of all
animal Under his chair could be found the dilap-
idated family ct, whose awees o mfisdrtues calmi-
nated in a eghtbbing strom pat prty paaly her.
The humorous donkey, who lifted pigs ot of theirpen
with his'teeth and tbi chased thSu aIroud the
ground, was believed to have been trained by the
doctor. Pat and Bridet, tau bear an d the pets of
the colony, obeyed him only, and when Pat got in the
dining room and, sitting i the middle of the table,
proceeded to eat the dinner which was just uady to
be served, it was the doctor who took him by the ear
and led him out of the house. When Bridget broke
her chain in the night and, climbing on the oof,
dragged si feet of trace chain back and forth along
the idge-pole for an hour, it was the dotor who
coaxed her back to her past on the lawn and chmied
her thre. Pat' wrestling msaahes with the colored
boys were refereed by the doctor who mourned
greatly when Bridget clawed the clothing of a lady
guest to ribboas and was sentenced to be shot. When
the hour of execution appached be fled from the
idand and ao the following day refused to take his
usuml ace of honor at the head of the table, because
it inrohed the carving of the roast of that day.
Il those days alligators were aeopted as natural
ennmies of mankind. and the thought of holding back

Florida Enchanments

from slaying them never occurred to any one. For
a while it was my daily program to find an alligator's
bed in the grass, lie down upon it under a big linen
hat, with a novel, a field glass and a Winchester,
sending the darky boatman to hide with his skiff
in some near-by creek, and then, basking in the sun-
light, reading and dreaming by the hour, I would
now and then lazily sweep with the glass the river's
mirror-like surface, until a pair of shining eyes rest-
ing thereon some few hundred yards distant, an-
nounced the home-coming of the proprietor.
Quietly the glass would be laid down and the rifle
slowly brought into position, with its sights aligned
upon the advancing eyes. Soon the nose appeared,
the top of the head rose above the water, its whole
outline became visible, sank out of sight, reappeared
and approached warily until I fired. The poor alli-
gator would come to the surface, its four paws pa-
thetically uplifted and its yellowish white belly show-
ing. In a minute or two the body slowly sank into
the depths, to be grappled for later.
I remember once having watched the water till
my eyes ached, read Clark Russell's "Marooned"
until I became drowsy, and was dreamily admiring
the assurance of the author, in picturing his hero
upon a deserted island alone with the girl he loved,
and then adrift with her for days and nights in a small
boat, and pretending that he didn't kiss her, and
that she really married the idiot afterward, when I
was startled by a slight rustling in the long grass
beside me.

HomosasM, the Beautiful

I rolled over and "all the conduits of my blood
froze up," Within two feet of my face was the end
of the tail of a big alligator, whose great form, partly
traceable through the tall sedge, half encircled me
as I lay beside him. Whether he was asleep or only
playing possum was quite immaterial. I was in a
trap sure enough.
A plunge into the sluggish Homosassa would have
only transferred the trouble to an element even less
favorable to me. For long minutes I lay breathless,
wondering whether my "victim" would "open the
ball" with his teeth or his tail. Perhaps the delay
was due to his inability to decide between two
weapons of equal availability and efficiency. The
beating of my heart sounded to me like the trumpet
of Gabriel. I dared not shout for my boatman, and
that black imp had been trained not to come until he
was called.
Apparently the big saurian had eight or ten peace-
ful hours in which to arrange his program undis-
turbed. I thought of turning my thumb down. as
a hint to him to hurry up. The interminable min-
utes seemed slowly transforming themselves into
days. A dark, familiar body swooped past within a
few feet of my face. It was the pioneer of a flock of
buzzards which followed me daily up and down the
river and the coast. I recognized this particular
villain by the familiarity of his manner, as well as the
bullet-hole in his wing and his one game leg. He had
become the living echo of my rifle and had kept tab
on my victims for many weeks. Hitherto I had
P- 11

Florida Enchantments

willingly fed him and his family, but now-I felt
differently. However, the outlook now was that
the alligator would save me from the buzzard. I
could no longer see the bird, but felt that he was on
some near-by skeleton of a tree, waiting and watch-
ing with that cold-blooded patience which I had
until now admired.
Time and again the waving of a blade of grass sent
discordant vibrations through my nerves until the
chills and fever of suspense became intolerable.
Slowly I turned the rifle, which was pointed over the
river and away from my bed-fellow, until its muzzle
was directed toward the head, which I vainly wore
out my eyes to locate exactly. As the hammer was
raised, while the held-back trigger prevented any
warning click, some measure of hope returned. One
little glimpse of eye or ear and the brute's brains
might be distributed outside the zone of mischief.
But in a random shot there are many blanks and few
prizes. The outline of the body was fairly indicated,
but a reptile, shot through the body, is given until
sundown to die, which would have left many hours
with mischief in each minute.
Another rustling in the grass dispelled the vacilla-
tion which had afflicted me. The muzzle of the
weapon was shifted to bear upon the body just be-
hind where the fore shoulder was believed to be.
The slow pressure upon the trigger was followed by
a roar which broke a great silence, and a head was
lifted high above me, with wide-open jaws, from which
proceeded a hiss like that of many serpents. For-


Th'le sunsaet was? inagnlificent..

Homoamsea, the Baeauiful

ward and back flashed the lever of the Winchester,
and echo-like came a second report, while a stream
of flame scorched the mouth of the reptile as a fortu-
nate bullet passed through its brain.
As I gazed reflectively upon my late bed-fellow,
the silence was broken by the voice of my boatman:
"Did he crawl on the bank while you's asleep?"
"Yes, Tat, he crawled on the bank while we were


j Me essence of cruising is epp and ad-
Sventure. It is the mdispvoe to
'the call of the wild" twie canoes
on the rivers and lakes of the camp-
fires which burn in its wildern puts fever
in the veins of every man who, ed upon the
stars from the bosom of old
I have no more thiilling than that of one
long ago February night, we l; h another truant,
I rested upon a bed of hei boughs and first
tasted the joys of the camini* Without blankets,
freezing in body but exal spirit, the very stars
seemed to sing together .Ten years laterthat
comrade's name was give0'iis last camp, the Alamo
of the plains, Beechet' d.
An attraction, whie no longer be the enthu-
siasm of youth, dr irresistibly from the roar
of the machinery # idern civilization and gives
rest when the wis reached, whether I paddle
amid rapids of ter in the frozen north, or
dreamily drift ijirem sluggish current of some

Cruising, |ii of Florida is the no plu
Ars of ooBir o are in the open all day,

Florida Enchantments

sleep on deck at night, wear little beyond your birth-
day suit, and treat the water around you with the
familiarity of an amphibian. The life can be strenu-
ous enough to strain the stoutest muscles and satisfy
the wildest craving for excitement, or restful to the
most worn-to-frazzles nerves.
The experiences of a recent cruise ranged from
eating sapadiloes and sea grapes on a boat becalmed
in the emerald water of the Bay of Florida, to being
threatened by waterspouts and struck by lightning;
from watching wonderful sunsets and talking phil-
osophy to a girl, to chasing rattlesnakes with a launch
and being towed by a devil-fish; from playing tarpon,
to dragging a crocodile out of his cave, and from
treading clams to a ride on a manatee.
In cruising it is what you do yourself that counts.
You may take prescribed drugs by proxy with
probable advantage, but you must live the cruising
life for yourself. Catch your fish, shoot your game,
gather your oysters and tread your own clams, and
if you also cook them it will make for appetite and
Don't keep a sailors' boarding house. You will
need a captain who knows the coast, but you should
learn his trade for yourself. In a week you ought to
understand the raionale of the simple navigation
that concerns you and be able to execute all ordinary
maneuvers. You will make mistakes as do all who
make anything. I have myself borne the accusation
that when during a heavy squall the sharp command
came from my captain:

Cruising on the Gulf Coast of Florida

"Let go the peak halyards, quick."
I promptly turned loose the big chain of the hurri-
cane anchor.
It is now a score of years since the late Colonel
Ingersoll, not Robert, but a relative, handed a pencil
sketch to Fogarty of Braidentown, on the Manatee
"What's this to Hecuba? I'm a builder of boats
and you show me the plan of a house," said the latter,
in substance.
"But I want you to make that house and then
build a boat around it."
Thereafter, while the genial Colonel lived, the
hospitable Karena, known to the natives as the Ark,
threatened most of the water ways and ran aground
on all the bars of the west coast of Florida, from Cedar
Keys to Key West. It was the prototype of the
cruising houseboat of that coast of to-day, and as the
Colonel with prophetic instinct once remarked, lacked
only a little steam tender to run its errands.
In place of the Karena we now see floating houses
like the "Whim Wham" with every attribute of a
home, from a chef to a canary, from a library to a
pet cat, with sixty horse power engines in the base-
ment, in which the owner changes his residence while
he sleeps and only knows where he is living when
his captain tells him. Glittering launches, polished
dingeys, and a uniformed crew go with this outfit,
which suggests yachting rather than the cruising I
care for.
Stately yachts, at stated times, rattle their anchor


Florida Enchantments

chains just within the mile-wide, ten fathom deep,
Boca Grande Pass, while near-by their chartered
craft lodge the guides who know the tricks of the tides
and the tarpon, and reduce the labor of the fishermen
to a minimum.
I have seen a well-known yachtsman quietly enjoy
his magazine and cigar, on the deck of his boat while
his guide trolled for tarpon within a few hundred
feet. When a tarpon was hooked, the sportsman
laid aside his magazine and was rowed out to the
skiff of his guide, from which he captured what was
left of the fish.
There are house-boats of simple construction which
are moved about by tugs and often anchored for the
season in one place. They make inexpensive homes
with attractive features, but they are not cruisers.
Occasionally a should-be cruiser becomes con-
ventionalized and vibrates between Fort Myers,
Punta Rassa and Boca Grande, fishing in orthodox
fashion on predetermined dates.
The interest in a cruise is often in inverse ratio to
its cost. Two young men, with some knowledge of
sailing and a genuine love for the campfire, arrived
on the west coast of Florida with two months in time
and two hundred dollars in money to spend. They
bought a sloop, with a small skiff, for one hundred
dollars, enlarged and fitted up the cabin at a cost
of seventy-five dollars, invested twenty-five dollars
in supplies, and buried themselves among the Ten
Thousand Islands. Two months later they emerged
with clothing in tatters, faces and arms red as the

The conventional houseboat, with every convenience from a chef
to a canary.

"Becalmed in the emerald water of the Bay of Florida.

Causing on the Gulf Coat of Florida

Indians with whom they had consorted, bodies rugged
and stores of experience sufficient to illuminate their
lives. They sold their outfit at cost, reducing their
net expenses for two months to the twenty-five dol-
lars paid for supplies, to which the wilderness had
contributed without cost, fish, game and fruit.
A friend, of some mechanical skill, has a small
cruising boat fitted with many conveniences of his
own devising. He is something of a sailor and his
wife is a better one. They are their'own crew, and
when a son and daughter are with them the family
divide up the offices of captain, first officer, engineer
and cook, and the outfit for cruising is ideal A
friend of the lady once said to her:
Some day you'll all be drowned together."
"Yes, that's another advantage, if we go we go
Florida cruising is statistically safer than staying
at home. Even taking cold seems impossible, al-
though one seldom hesitates to go overboard on the
instant to push the boat off a bar, dive up dams, or
help with the nets.
On a recent cruise the girl of the party, who was
enjoying the surf one evening, having been in the
water continuously since the midday meal, replied
to a remonstrance:
"My physician told me it would not hurt me to
bathe four hours after eating, and I'm doing it."
My latest cruise began as a family affair, with the
girl, the Camera-man and a captain. Another girl
was needed, and we borrowed the tree lady, who

Florida Enchantments

having just evolved from her inner consciousness a
tree book, which was counted authoritative, was now
anxious to see some real trees.
Our equipment was the result of compromises be-
tween the requirements of deep sea cruising, and
shallow bay exploration, and between cabin capacity
and seaworthiness. It consisted of a yawl rigged,
flat bottomed boat of thirty-seven by fourteen feet,
with a draft of three feet. Our cabin was twenty
feet long by twelve in breadth and we had with us
two skiffs and a small launch. Fittings and furnish-
ings were severely practical and included dark room,
tools for all ordinary repair work, and fishing,
hunting and photographing outfits.
Starting from Marco we gave the tree lady her
choice between tarpon and crocodiles, and as she
selected the former, sailed for Charlotte Harbor and
the tarpon resorts of Captiva Pass and Boca Grande,
where the season was at its height.
On the first day at Captiva Pass the tarpon scored.
The tree lady was in a skiff with the Camera-man,
making tarpon jump while he photographed" them;
the girl was on Captiva Beach gathering shells, leav-
ing me to fish by myself, which I did by placing my
tarpon rod on the seat beside me with the bait trolling
behind the skiff as I rowed in the swift current of the
Pass. There came a highly pitched buzz of the reel,
a wild leap six feet in air of a frightened tarpon, and
my rod flew over the stern of the skiff, leaving a
straight wake to the Gulf. I fancy that the whole
outfit, rod, massive reel, and six hundred feet of

Cruising on the Gulf Coast of Florida

costly line, was an exhibit that night at some club of
tarpon, devoted to the baiting of fishermen. I should
like to see the legend attached to it, to know at what
my weight was estimated, and to hear the accounts
of the contest, that I might compare the stories told
by fish with those told about them.
We were fishing for the camera, and when the
hooked tarpon ceased to pose they were turned loose,
with a single exception. The tree lady wanted some
tarpon' scales big enough to weigh the fish stories
she was preparing for her family.
At Boca Grande we anchored north of the Pass,
safe from everything but a gale from the northeast,
which is what came to us with the setting of the sun.
The strong tide held the boat in the trough of the
sea and a wicked roll caused havoc in the cabin,
where a bottle of oil breaking on the floor made
walking thereon distressing. As the tide rushed
past, it created a wake of phosphorescent fire, and an
occasional wave breaking over us bathed the boat in
liquid moonshine, while filling the cockpit with
water that had to be bailed out.
We hoisted the jigger to hold the boat across the
sea, and gave the hurricane anchor a few more
fathoms of chain. Our captain was on shore unable
to join us. Four times he dragged his skiff through
the surf and tried to row to us, but four times he was
capsized and swept back. As the night wore on,
the launch filled and sank and the remaining skiff
was swamped, broke her painter and was washed

Florida Enchantments

In the morning the captain succeeded in reaching
us, although his skiff sank under him just as he caught
the line we threw him. We made tackle fast to the
launch, lifted it until it could be bailed out, and then
hoisting a sail with many reefs, spent an exciting
quarter of an hour in clawing away from the beckon-
ing beach. We sailed to a little land-locked harbor
south of the Pass, and the next day returned and
dug our skiff out of the sand where the waves had
buried it, and recovered the widely scattered oars,
lines, seats, and other boat furniture.
Following the storm, the fishing at Boca Grande
was marvelous. The mile-wide Pass was filled with
minnows by the thousand million, making dark
patches upon the water, often many acres in extent.
Among them porpoises rolled, thousands of tarpon
leaped, the fins of hundreds of great sharks cut lanes
through them, uncountable cavalli, Spanish mack-
erel, bluefish, ladyfish and other predatory small
fry, devouring and being devoured, beat the water
into surf-like waves, while, moved by a single im-
pulse, here, there and everywhere, minnows by the
yard or acre were leaping three feet in the, air, filling
it with rainbow tinted masses of spray. Everywhere
the water was covered with dying minnows and
spangled throughout with their scales.
As our skiff was rowed among them, tarpon leaped
about it drenching us with water and throwing hun-
dreds of minnows and other little fish in the boat. A
small fish, which had fallen aboard, was put upon a
tarpon hook and as it dropped overboard it was

The fisherman's bEte-noir.

The lay of the loggerhead



Cruising on the Gulf Coas of Florid

swallowed by a jack-fish which in turn was seied
by a tarpon. A great shark took up the trail of the
tarpon and a moment later had bitten him in two,
at the same time striking the skiff so vicious a blow
that I was glad to remember that, contrary to current
superstition, the sharks in this country never attack
a human being.
Tarpon fishing with the camera is the apotheosis
of sport. There is yet to be discovered anything
more picturesque and thrilling than the leap of the
near-by tarpon, filling the air with prismatic drops,
and the gleaming silver of its gracefully contorted
body brilliantly reflecting the rays of the sun.
Only less spectacular, because of its Lilliputian
scale, is the leap of the lady fish, sometimes called
skipjack, which rises to a fly and gives an acrobatic
performance that makes the best work of any known
game fish look like thirty cents.
Sea trout, Spanish mackerel, channel bass and
other game fish kept the larder full and gave con-
tinuous sport at every pass in Charlotte Harbor and
Pine Island Sound from Gasparilla to Punta Rassa.
Half an hour with a landing net on the shore would
fill a bucket with crabs, while on any moonlight night
from May to July great turtles could be found
crawling on the beach and turned over for stews and
steaks, or followed to their crawls for the one hundred
and thirty to one hundred and eighty eggs that would
be there in the morning.
We beach-combed for shells, from Gasparilla to
Big Marco Pass, all but the tree lady, who explained

Florida Enchantment

that she was under contract to produce a standard
work of reference on conchology and must approach
the subject with a mind that was blank. She left a
blank when she sailed for the north from Marco,
whence we turned south for the crocodile country.
From Coon Key to Sand Fly Pass our course lay
outside the Keys and we ran before a gale under jib
and jigger, landing disgracefully among the bushes
when we tried to stem the tide that flowed from
Chokoliskee Bay. Here we found a party of Semi-
nole Indians, laid pipe for a visit to their camp, and
obtained a full-grown wild-cat, or lynx.
We made a cage for Tom, who day by day grew
more ferocious and had to be fed at the end of a stick.
He knew the exact length of his fore leg and just when
it was worth while to strike at us between the bars.
He nearly ate up his cage in his efforts to get free, but
when the door was finally opened, hesitated long
before he came out. He then walked slowly, growling
at everybody but so surprised by the indifference with
which he was regarded that he soon began to make
advances, and finally laid a tentative paw upon the
hand of the captain as he stood at the wheel. There-
after he became friendly, sometimes too friendly,
occasionally jumping playfully upon anyone who
happened to be sleeping on deck, which, until we got
used to it, was exciting.
From Pavilion Key south the coast is one vast
bank of clams, perennially inviting the visitor to go
overboard and tread for them. One night, when
anchored with light tackle a few miles below this

Cruising on the Gulf Coast of Florida

key, a gale from the southwest dragged the anchor, a
big wave lifted us and at the top of a spring tide
dropped us on a high coral reef.
The next morning we were many yards from water
with the chances that we were settled for a month,
but happily a favoring wind that day raised the water
enough to enable us to haul the boat back into her
As our cruise led us through crooked channels in
the shallow waters of the Bay of Florida, we often
ran aground, but by promptly going overboard could
usually push off into deeper water. Once we had to
dig the boat out, loosening the mud under it with a
hoe and washing it away by a current from the pro-
peller of the launch.
At Madeira Hammock we anchored for a crocodile
hunt in the interest of the camera, and for ten days
in skiffs explored creeks and bays in the pursuit.
We turned aside once to follow with a harpoon three
big fins traveling tandem that belonged to a fourteen
foot sawfish, whose thousand pounds propelled a
broad four-foot saw, armed with fifty-two teeth,
through schools of smaller fish. He belonged to the
detested shark family and we wasted no sympathy
on him as he towed us at racing speed through a
mile of creek and bayou.
We caught a number of crocodiles and took with
us, for shipment to the Bronx, one ten-foot specimen
which we had captured in his cave, and sailed
for Marco where the Camera-man left us for New

Florida Enchantments

On our way up the coast the cat and the crocodile
quarreled and to save the eyes of the saurian we put
him overboard one evening with a rope around his
body. During the night he died, mysteriously. The
lynx swam ashore in response to the crowing of a
cock and perished in a hen roost, but not myster-
iously. Both had been prematurely promised to the
Zoo in New York and I was mortified, so I visited
a rookery, captured and shipped a dozen pelicans to
the Zoo, and again sailed for the crocodile country.
We started on Friday, wherefore the girl predicted
disaster and reminded us thereof on the following
day when a heavy rain squall struck us, shut us up
in semi-darkness and proceeded to box the compass
with the boat. When the squall got through with us
we were under bare poles with the jib the only hoist-
able sail.
Favored by the tide our launch carried us into
Everglade where we found material to put our rig-
ging in order. Here I borrowed a couple of young-
sters not quite in their teens, for the sake of the
youthful enthusiasm they presumably possessed. Yet
when we reached Madeira Hammock they fished,
hunted wild sapadillo trees and gathered the fruit,
and cruised around in the launch, with tears of home-
sickness streaming down their cheeks.
At Madeira Hammock I stood again, harpoon pole
in hand, in the bow of the skiff which my perspiring
boatman patiently sculled among the keys, over the
flats, and through the labyrinthic rivers that lie be-
tween the Bay of Florida and the saw-grass of the

Cruising on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Everglades. The harpoon was simply a pointed bit
of barbed steel, only capable of penetrating one inch
beyond the barb and intended merely to maintain
communication with the quarry until it could be
secured by other means.
One morning, just after we had started on our
daily cruise, a series of swirls in the water near us,
the language' of which was then unfamiliar, seemed
to tell of a frightened crocodile and that the hunt was
on. We followed the zigzaggingtrail of muddy water
as fast as we could scull and pole, getting occasional
glimpses of a fleeing something, until the full view
of it under the bow of the skiff gave me the chance
I was seeking.
As the harpoon struck a broad back, which was not
that of a crocodile, the creature rose above the sur-
face, and as it did so its big beaver like tail covered
me with a deluge of water. Then as it struck and
nearly swamped the skiff, I realized that I had at
last found the manatee, which I had vainly hunted
during many years.
For hours we chased the creature, keeping a light
strain on the harpoon line, frightening him as he came
up to breathe, until, exhausted, he rose more and
more frequently. I then made a score of unsuccess-
ful attempts to lasso this specimen of the wild cattle
of the sea.
Finally, the manatee came to the surface to breathe,
so near the skiff that I put my left arm around his
neck as far as it would go, and tried to slip the noose
pver hi )iea4 with my right The sudden lifting of

Florida Enchantsmnt

his head threw me upon his back, while a twist of his
big tail sent me sprawling.
We were swamped four times while working the
manatee into shallow water, where we got overboard,
fastened a line around him and soon had him under
control, although when the captain got astride of
the creature, he was promptly made to turn a back
somersault. Docile as our captive had become, he
was yet eleven feet long, of massive proportions and
a weight which was difficult to handle. We tore the
seats out of the skiff, sunk it to the bottom and stand-
ing upon it succeeded in getting the sea cow over it.
We lifted on the boat, bailed out the water and were
paddling the over-laden craft out in the bay when a
cataclysm left us swimming side by side while a sut-
merged skiff was being towed gulfward by a rejoicing
We soon recaptured the animal and persuaded him
into shallow water, where I herded him while the
captain went to the big boat for an anchor and cable
with which we made our captive fast, giving him two
hundred feet of rope in an excellent sea cow pasture.
We were now candidates for a dungeon and liable
to a big fine because of our unlawful detention of
this highly protected mammal, so we sailed for Miami
in pursuit of an ea post fact permit.
The authorities were good to me when convinced
of the educational destiny of the manatee and in a
week I returned with permits in my pocket, promises
of free transportation by rail and steamer to the New
York Aquarium, telegrams of congratulation from

Cruising on the Gulf Coast of Florida

the Zoo people, and lumber for a tank for the mana-
tee, only to find no trace of anchor, cable ort captive.
Our cruising boat had been struck by lightning in
Miami and the shock had been serious to all of us,
but it was as nothing in comparison with this.
For a day we followed the zigzag trail of the anchor
flukes, through a water glass, over half a mile of the
bottom of the bay until we came upon the anchor,
cable, and worn-through harness from which the
manatee had escaped.
I returned to Marco, where I left the girl, took
aboard a thousand miles of gasoline and four weeks'
provisions for two, and sailed south with my boat-
man to capture a manatee. We explored the water-
ways between the Everglades and the Gulf, from
Capes Romano to Sable. We sailed up broad rivers
which narrowed until the bowsprit plunged into the
bushes at every tack, and the towed skiff gathered
oysters from overhanging mangrove branches as it
swung against the bank. We followed the contract-
ing channels with the launch until we were flying at
full speed through crooked creeks, with bushes from
the banks sweeping our craft on either side. When
the branches closed over the stream, we dragged the
skiff under them to the Everglades or the end of the
As we followed rivers through shallow bays the
churning of the propeller and waves rolling up behind
us gave warning when we left the channel. Being
lost among the Ten Thousand Islands is one's normal
condition and without significance. So long as one

Florida Enchantments

remembers that the sun rises in the east, he can find
himself, but if he leaves his boat for an inland tramp
-that is different. Alligator hunters have told me
that they seldom knew and never cared where they
were when hunting in the swamp. They just went
anywhere for a month or two and came out when
they got ready.
We struck waterspout weather off Shark River
when conical clouds sent swirling tails dancing over
the surface of the water which they sometimes touched
and drew upward in huge swaying columns. The
next day our boat lay becalmed at the mouth of
Rodgers River, which we explored in the launch.
As we started, graceful frigate pelicans floated high
above us with motionless wings, while on the water
about us their awkward namesakes filled pouches
with food for their families and flew homeward with
the curious intermittent strokes peculiar to these
birds. The round head and bright eyes of the grass-
eating green turtle bubbled up for a moment above
the water, in pleasing contrast with the grosser head
of his loggerhead cousin. Water-turkeys dropped
heavily in the river as we passed, then quickly thrust
out snake-like heads above its surface to gaze at us.
Herons, big and little, blue, white and green, flapped
lazily out of our way with discordant cries; brown
curlews, roseate spoonbills, and white ibis sat undis-
turbed upon near-by trees; egrets and long whites
forgot the bitter lessons that man's cupidity and
woman's vanity had taught them, and even a monkey-
faced owl, big and white, unknowing how rare a


1 .

Shell mounds of aborigine antecedents, flanked by cocoa and date palms.

Cruising on the Gulf Coast of Florida

specimen he was, turned goggle eyes upon the gun
beside me.
At the head of the river a tropical storm burst upon
us, followed by a calm, and filled the western sky
with massive clouds wonderfully colored, which were
duplicated in the mirror of the water until the illusion
of a sky beneath as of infinite depth made me cling
to the boat for dizziness. At the end of a long vista,
the middle ground of slim palmetto and towering
royal Ialm completed an unforgettable picture.
We had explored Lossmans River to the Ever-
glades and were cruising the bays near its head when
about dusk .we saw a big rattlesnke swimming
toward a mangrove key. To cut him off compelled
us to run the launch full speed into the key. The
skiff in tow came surging up beside us and the snake
was between the two boats. We got the snake in
the skiff, where the captain held him down with an
oar, until I had him safely by the neck. After ex-
tracting the reptile's fangs I tied him in the skiff to
be skinned for mounting the next morning. He was
six and one-half feet long and had ten rattles.
Sometimes as we cruised, the big eyes of a wonder-
ing deer gazed upon us from a bit of meadow. Once
I snapped the camera shutter on a black face with
white eyeballs framed in an opening in the mangrove
bushes, and on the same day we exchanged nods of
half-recognition with an alligator hunter in the depth
of the wilderness upon whose head was a price.
The days left us were few. Sweet bay leaves had
taken the place of coffee, palmetto cabbage was our

Florida Enchantments

principal vegetable, cocoa plums, custard apples,
wild limes and lemons, our fruit; and hour by hour
we measured the gasoline left in the tank. One
morning, with scarce two inches left, I estimated that
we could go through Shark to Harney River, up that
to the Everglades and return.
Far up the river we went, among beautiful keys,
between richly wooded banks, past Golgotha camps
of alligator hunters and trappers of otter, in chan-
nels choked with grass which had to be cleared from
the propeller every few minutes, along shores covered
with wading birds, over waters alive with alligators
and thickly dotted with the heads of fresh water
terrapin, until the launch was stopped by a solid mass
of lily pads covering the stream and held in place
by stems eight feet long, through which startled alli-
gators made their way along the river bed setting
the pads above to dancing mysteriously. Forcing
our way in the skiff through half a mile of the pads
we reached the Everglades, and following an Indian
trail pushed far out on its surface for a final inter-
view with a region which, although desolate, was yet
strangely fascinating.
When but a mile was left of our return trip, a
frightened manatee just ahead of our launch rolled
his body half out of water, like a porpoise, and throw-
ing his tail in the air started down the river. This
was our last chance and we followed his every turn.
When he turned and headed upstream to escape
us we were so near that again he leaped half out of
water and soon was so exhausted that he rose for

Cruising on the Gulf Coast of Florida

breath every few seconds. My hopes, which had
died, were resurrected and already I was drawing
up the skiff for the final act, when the motor stopped
with its last drop of gasoline and the manatee chase
was ended.
As we silently poled the launch homeward, my
mind ran over the results of the hunt. We had seen
a dozen manatee and had a calling acquaintance with
half that number. We were familiar with their
slightest appearance above the water and with the
signs they left beneath it. We had seen them as
Romeos and Juliets and often when within a few
feet of one had only been thwarted by the darkness
of the water which in the rainy season pours from
the cypress and mangrove swamps.
A tiller rope broken during the excitement of a
quick turn had saved one from probable capture,
and as I remembered that an impulse of emotional
insanity had held my hand when a mother manatee,
with an unweaned calf pressed close to her side, rose
beside me, I thought with bitterness of the poet who
"The quality of mercy is not strained."
But I knew where the creatures lived and when we
reached our boat, just as the stars came out, I had
determined that in the hunt for a manatee it was
only the first chapter that had closed.



IT was due to the Aquarium, and my own self-
respect, that I made good to them my tender of
a manatee which was lost through my own indis-
cretion. It was for this that the Camera-man and I,
with our outfit, returned to the manatee country.
For weeks, in our efforts to capture a sea cow, we
exhausted our ingenuity and used up our material.
We stretched nets between the banks of rivers which
had been their highways, but sophisticated manatees
turned back and traveled by some other route, while
what was left of our costly linen net after it had been
set across the channels of a few deep rivers, with
strong tides and bottoms of jagged coral rocks, was
mostly tears and tangles. We built a platform on
a skiff to hold a long net of large mesh amply pro-
vided with corks and sinkers, and towed it behind
the launch over the bays containing the richest areas
of manatee pasture. .Bits of floating grass, rising
bubbles, streaks of roiled water, swirls on the sur-
face or black dots in the distance that melted from
our sight as we looked, put us on the trail. The
"chug-chug" of the approaching propeller frightened
the quarry which sprang half out of water, throwing
barrels of it high in air, and spurted away. Then

Florida Enchantments

the hunter-boy with telescopic eyes got upon the bow
of the launch, the sailor boy sprang into the skiff
with the net, the Camera-man stood by the motor
while I held the wheel, and all studied intently the
surface of the water. At first, a line of swirls rising
iin the water made pursuit easy, then the wheel rolled
to the motion of the hand of the boy on the bow,
until we overran the creature or, no signs appearing,
the motor was slowed down, waiting for the cry of the
first to recover the lost trail. Once in five minutes
that black head rose to the surface for a second for
breath, and in deep water this often proved our only
If we succeeded in keeping the trail for a few hours,
the manatee became tired, or flurried for want of
breath, came up oftener and swam more slowly, until
at a signal the boy in the towed skiff cast overboard
one end of the net with its anchor, and with the
launch at full speed we tried to run the net around
the animal. A dozen times the bobbing corks told us
that he was against the net and our hopes ran high,
only to fall as he backed out and sought until he
found an avenue of escape. Leaving the boy with
the skiff to take in the net, we again followed the
manatee, sometimes throwing over his head a cast
net, only to see it slide harmless down his back, and
sometimes throwing a lasso weighted with lead over
his head and getting in return a blow from his tail
upon the bow of the launch that nearly swamped it
and always knocked somebody overboard, while his
handy flipper pushed the lasso over his nose. When-

A sudden dash of the creature nearly swamps us.

;**-'. "- ^ .

E ~s

Tile powerful tail lifts the skiff.

The Capture of the Manatee
ever success seemed really near, darkness always
stepped in to thwart us.
We found one day a manatee so big that we didn't
care to fool with her until some of her surplus energy
had been worn down. The Camera-man struck her
from the skiff, in the middle of her broad tail, with a
tiny harpoon attached to three hundred feet of light
line. After the first dash was over and the manatee
swimming quietly, I held the skiff as near her as
possible until she came up to breathe, when the
Camera-man laid a noosed rope over her nose. After
we had hauled the Camera-man aboard and bailed
out the boat, which had been nearly swamped, he
insisted on trying again. This time he stayed under
water longer and came up on the wrong side of the
boat just as I was getting mighty anxious looking for
him on the side he went down. He then consented
to play the creature a little before tying her up. For
hours the manatee towed us through a labyrinth of
waterways to an unknown region which I am ready
to identify as the mosquito center of the earth. One
of the boys tried to follow us with the launch, but
got in trouble with the motor. I exchanged places
with him and got in more trouble. As the hours
rolled on and darkness settled upon us, the manatee
was the only one of the party who wasn't lost. The
launch propeller choked up every few minutes with
manatee grass and I had to hang overboard, half
under water, to clear it. Then I went tearing
through creek after creek in search of the skiff, which
I once lost for half an hour. Every quarter of a

Florida Enchantments

mile I stopped the motor, and blowing a horn listened
for the shouts that came faintly to me across the
keys, and after a few strenuous moments with an
exasperating fly wheel, was again plunging through
the darkness, searching for an opening that might
lead in the direction of the calls I had heard. Finally
the motor broke down altogether and it was only a
fortunate turn in the course of the manatee, aided by
a lot of poling, that reunited us. I undertook to play
the sea cow from the bow of the launch while our
engineer, the Camera-man, put the motor in com-
mission. Soon there was a sound of cranking and
the machine chug-chug'd for a few strokes, after
which there was silence broken only by heavy breath-
ing. To a courteous inquiry, which I threw over my
shoulder, the reply sounded like:
"Damn the engine."
We organized the work to be done. I sat upon
the bow of the launch, with the line tub between my
knees and the line in my hands. The manatee was
to tow us through the night, but fifty pounds was
about the maximum of strain I dared put on the
little harpoon. Foot by foot the line must be yielded
as the animal increased her speed, and foot by foot
taken back when it slackened. The Camera-man
and I must share this work, to night, to-morrow night
and all other nights until the end.
Our sailor boy had sprained his wrist while trying
to start the engine and could hold the wheel, but not
the harpoon line. The hunter boy stood by the
skiff, ready for the emergencies which proved to be

The Captur of the Manate

the most constant features of the work. He made a
dash through the darkness for the near-by shore and
got bits of dead wood, pieces of buttonwood and
rotting black mangrove, from which a smudge made
the launch, within its drawn curtains, solid with
smoke. But the man in the bow, who held the har-
poon line, must keep his head and arms outside.
When I swept my hand across my smarting face, it
became smeared with blood and mosquitoes. The
bursting upon us of a tropical thunder storm, pouring
water down in masses so nearly solid that it was hard
to breathe, relieved us of the insect plague. Each
blaze of dazzling light, so brief as to be almost use-
less, was followed by the blackness of Erebus. We
were carried east, west, north and south, through
lagoons, bays, creeks and rivers in darkness that
could be felt, knowing nothing of where we were,
steering always as the line to the manatee led.
We had had a strenuous day, with nothing to eat
since an early breakfast, and the hours of the night
passed slowly. The storm was followed by a heavy
gale from the southwest, but the stars came out and
we recognized the big river we were on and knew
that we were heading for the Gulf. Already we
could hear the waves breaking outside and our sailor
boy was nervous.
"What shall we do, we can't live out there?" said
he. I told him we could live if the manatee turned
north, outside the river, and kept inside the shoals,
but if she headed down the coast in the channel we
would cut loose. The mouth of Broad River forms

Florida Enchantments

a delta and the hunter boy, by rowing ahead of the
manatee in his skiff and splashing with his oars,
turned her into the north channel which was shallow
and full of oyster bars. Here we turned her again,
just as the Gulf opened out to us, and as we passed
the south channel, going back, the tide which had
just turned in helped to persuade her to continue
up the river. For a mile she was good and then
turned into a narrow fork on the south side of the
river, where roots and snags threatened us each
moment. Half a mile up this stream she towed us
into a narrow gully and having given the line a turn
around a snag, returned to the fork.
Thirty cents would now have purchased our inter-
est in that manatee, but our hunter boy went over-
board, cleared the line, got back in the skiff and I
handed him the tub just as the last coils of line were
running out of it. He disappeared in the darkness
down the fork, while we spent a few minutes in
backing the launch out of the gully and a good many
in persuading the motor to mote. When the main
stream was reached we turned up the river on a
chance that proved friendly, soon overtook the skiff,
shut off the motor and were again in the wake of the
manatee. There was trouble to burn as the creature
headed for the cut-off that leads from Broad to
Rodgers River, and both boys jumped in the skif
and headed her off with splashing, thrusting, oars,
for the cut-off consists of two miles of crookedness,
filled with snags, roots and overhanging branches,
and is quite unnavigable for manatee-towed launches.

The Capture of the Manatk

As we approached the bays at the head of Broad
River a most welcome dawn rose, tinting the sur-
roundings and the situation. Even the pessimism
of the sailor boy, which had covered him like a
mantle since first he heard in the night the waves
of the Gulf, slid from him. The manatee became
placid and even friendly, swimming slowly just in
advance of us and coming up at regular intervals
for long, slow breaths. Once, as she lifted her nose
above the surface, the hunter boy dropped a noose of
half-inch rope over her head and quickly drew it taut.
A tremendous blow from the tail of the manatee
nearly swamped the launch and knocked overboard
the boy, who came to the surface with the line he had
made fast to the sea cow twisted about his own neck.
She slipped the noose over her head in less time than
it took to unwind him. After that we threw the
noose over the head of the creature many times,
until she was almost halter-broken and so accus-
tomed to the rope that she played with it and us.
When it tightened about her, she slid her flippers
under it and deftly pushed the noose over her nose.
If we slid it back farther than her flippers could reach,
a flirt of her tail freed her. Once it caught on her
soft nose and held long enough for us to make a rope
fast to her flipper.
The manatee now belonged to us and we got
another line around her, after which we removed the
iron, with some difficulty and more duckings, and
attempted to tow her into shoal water. For a time
the frightened animal tore up the water and towed

Florida Enchantments

us backward, but in two or three hours we had her
partly stranded in a tiny cove in a big bay at the head
of Broad River. After she became quiet we got in
the water with her and tied her with every string we
could raise from launch and skiff. A cable fastened
her tail to the yielding top of a sweet bay tree, half-
inch ropes led from her flippers to branches of myrtle
that swayed but held, and we lashed poles, several
inches in diameter by fourteen feet long, to her body
with hundreds of feet of harpoon line carried around
it, hoping to keep her from freeing or harming her-
self until we could bring to her our cruising boat,
with materials and tools for the building of a tank
that would hold her.
The big boat was then thirty miles from us by the
nearest navigable channels, down Broad and Rodgers
Rivers to the Gulf and up Lossmans to its head.
Seven miles of this course was through the open
Gulf, which a storm from the southwest was then
making turbulent. We decided to avoid this risk
and save half the distance by hunting our way by
night through the labyrinthic, grass-choked water-
ways lying between the rivers named and the Ever-
glades of Florida, back to the bay where we had left
our boat. It was late in the night when we found
her, the gale was increasing and the barometer stood
at its lowest for six months, but minutes were im-
portant to our captive and we lost none in starting.
As we worked our way down the river we broke our
two-days' fast with snatches of cold canned food.
We got down the river in safety, and after twice drag-

The Capture of the Manatee

going on oyster reefs at its mouth, were soon being
tossed by the waves of the Gulf. We had seven
miles to make down the coast against the gale, and
it took nearly twice that many hours, while always
Sone of us stood by the jib and another held the main-
sheet in his hands.
It was late in the day when, under jib and jigger,
the Irene swept past the tiny cove and a big burden
of anxiety dropped visibly from each one of us as we
saw between the mangroves the upraised head of the
great manatee. Our nerves had been worn to
frazzles by excitement, loss of rest and food, and all
hands needed the tonic afforded by the sight once
more of our capture. Jib and anchor were let go
and we went ashore in the skiff and stood on the bank
beside the sea cow, where I could feel the beating
of my heart, for, quiet though she seemed, the mana-
tee was substantially free.
She had broken a harness of rope, fitted to hold the
cable in place on her tail, shaken the cable free, and
parted every string that bound her, excepting that
attached to one of her flippers. There seemed small
hope of saving her, but for the moment she was
quiet, and we brought our big, four-foot-wide, skiff
beside her and sunk it in the five feet of water where
the creature lay. By pushing the submerged skiff,
on which we stood, and hauling upon head, tail and
flippers of the unresisting manatee, we got her in the
skiff, the gunwales of which she overtopped by
more than a foot, wound and tied ropes around boat
and animal until confidence returned to me and I

Florida Enchantments

took the first long breaths I had drawn for two days.
They were few in number, however, for as we stood
around the creature, in water nearly to our necks,
the manatee, suddenly reaching her back until head
and tail almost met, snapped the ropes that bound
her. Then throwing upward her immense tail,
deluging us with great volumes of water, she brought
it down upon the stern of the skiff with a pile-driving
blow that converted the craft into kindling wood.
Crash followed crash and when her mighty struggles
ended and we had all escaped from the maelstrom
of her creation, it was relief enough that there were
still four of us, all uninjured.
After breaking up our skiff, the manatee again be-
came quiet and allowed us to carry heavy ropes
around her and fasten them to trees until once more
her escape seemed impossible. The animal was
nearly thirteen feet long and her weight, by estimate,
over two thousand pounds. When we provided
material for a tank in which to transport a manatee,
we had no such leviathan as this in contemplation.
More lumber must be had, and more help was
needed. Both might be found at Everglade, forty-
five miles distant. Our hunter boy volunteered to
be there by daylight if the launch motor would work.
The Camera-man spent an hour over the engine, re-
placing parts that were weak or worn, guaranteed it
for twenty-four hours, and the boy plunged into the
darkness, through which for half an hour we heard his
frequent stops to clear the grass and moss from the
propeller blades.

He drags us into the mangroves.

View of back-looking forward.

The Capture of the Manaee

Little of my lost sleep was made up that night,
with my thoughts of that boy driving up the coast,
alone in that little craft, through the sea made by
that southwest gale, now only half abated, and my
nerves racked a hundred times by the thrashing of
the monster tied within a hundred feet of me, while
troubled dreams disturbed my slightest nap with
demands that her bondage be made less cruel. From
daylight I kept watch over her, piling wet grass upon
her back as a falling tide exposed it to the burning
sun. During the night we welcomed the chug-chug
of the returning launch, bringing lumber, tackle and
help. Working through darkness and light, it was
yet noon before the big sarcophagus of a tank, thir-
teen feet long, four wide and four high, was built,
calked, and ready for its occupant.
One end, which had been left open, was brought
close to the animal and the box was lashed to trees
preparatory to backing the creature in. I walked
to the head of the manatee and laid my hand upon it.
as I had done a hundred times before. She was
quiet now, but I knew she was all right. She had
been struggling tremendously a few minutes before
and was resting. I talked to her and told her that
her troubles were over, no more ropes, just a few
days in a nice box with fresh water and bunches of
manatee grass, and then a big tank in a beautiful
building, plenty to eat, and a million children to talk
to her and pet her and hold out little hands for her
to nuzzle with her soft nose. She was very quiet. I
wondered if she found it hard to breathe-sometimes

Florida Enchandments

I did, too-but her lips would move when I laid my
hand on them-No ?-
The others stopped work and gathered beside her.
The eyes didn't open, the lips didn't move she
wouldn't breathe-and when I turned away I
couldn't speak.
That afternoon she was prepared for a museum
instead of an aquarium, and we learned that if only
we could have got her safely to New York, the stork
would have called at the Aquarium in a few days.

It was a month before we were again in the mana-
tee country. We had put a motor in the cruising
boat to help her out of tight places and taken a little
skiff with a tiny engine for the shallow waters. The
big tank was still anchored where we had left it and
we hoped to find an occupant for it. We saw and
followed many manatees without trying to capture
them. Sometimes they were only calves and some-
times so far from our cruising boat that we were shy
of facing the transportation problem. We were re-
solved never to tie another manatee until we had a
tank ready for him. One opportunity came as the
sun was setting, but I couldn't ask the boys to face
with me a night of mosquitoes in an open skiff. The
creatures, instead of being driven from their homes
by our noisy presence, actually grew tame and we
saw them swimming quietly and unafraid along the
bottom of a river directly under our whirling pro-
peller. When we finally struck one from the skiff we
captured him in an hour. I held the skiff near the

The Capir of the Manate

manatee, while the boys tossed oars over his nose
whenever his head came to the surface. The Camera-
man, in the power skiff, circled around us, picked up
the floating oars and tosed them back to our skiff.
When the animal's breathing was largely in arrears
and he was compelled to hold his head well above
water for several seconds, I placed a Brobdingagian
scoop-net over his head. We had made this net of
quarter-inch rope, with a two-foot mesh about six
feet long, held open by two steel rings four feet in
diameter, and with a puckering string of half-inch
manills. We held him tangled in this net until we
could slide over him another of twelve feet in length
in which we towed our captive to and into the
big tank which we lashed beside our cruising boat.
This tank was so much too large for him that he
spent his, time in getting jammed, breaking joist,
and scratching the skin off his nose in his strug-
gles to turn around. We needed a tank about a
third the size of the one we had, also a lighter in.
which to tow the creature to Miami. There was
another night journey to Everglade, both of the
boys going on this trip, while the Camera-man and
I nursed the captive, held his flippers, braced our-
selves against the box and pushed his nose out of
jam with our bare feet when his head got caught.
When the new tank was finished and the manatee
transferred he proceeded to knock the top off of his
new quarters piece by piece with the roach of his
back and the slam of his tail, while we spiked on new
planks and joist until he quieted down. We bored

Florida Enchantments

holes in the lighter, sunk it under the tank, plugged
the holes, bailed out the lighter and it was up to me,
as the only one on board who had made the trip to
Miami, to pilot a boat, with cabin so big that sea-
dogs called it a house-boat, towing a square-ended
lighter with a timid thousand-pound specimen slosh-
ing around in a big tank, over a hundred and fifty
miles of shallow bays which I had forgotten, and
complicated channels which I never remembered,
to that town. I am not a bit of a sailor-man, but I
had to pretend a lot, give courses with confidence,
and no one on board worked harder than I, as I
cudgeled my memory, studied the charts and tried to
look wise during that little voyage. Trouble began
early, for it was rough on the Gulf and the sailor
boy spoke sooth when he said:
"It's the Devil to tow a lighter."
Forty hours later we delivered to the Florida
East Coast Railway at Miami, a manatee, mad
through and through, because for some stormy hours,
he had been stood upon his head and tail, alternately,
as the lighter banged its way over waves that were un-
pleasantly big for a craft of her build.
The Transfer Company took five hours to load
the manatee upon a car, but the officials held the train
for an hour, and as it started for the North, bearing
my manatee, tagged to the New York Aquarium,
I could think, for the first time in twelve months
without chagrin, of my telegraphic tender a year ago
of a sea cow that belonged to herself instead of to

Head of manatee. Strange creatures, as shapely as a fattened pig.

The Capter of the Mnotee

The manatee left us, measuring ten feet four inches
in length. His voyage of one week so agreed with
him, that when he arrived at the New York Aqua-
rium his average length, as certified to by New York
journalists, was eighteen feet.
Three weeks later, on our arrival at Miami from
our trip across the Glades, a telegram told me of the
death in the Aquarium of the manatee, and I rashly
wired to Director Townsend the promise of another.
Natural obstacles and climatic m.aan had dis-
posed f ten days when, one afternoon, we found our-
selves in the manatee country, with tank and lighter,
free to find the manatee we had promised. In the
first hour's cruising we saw threesea cows together,
about half a mile from the tank we had just built for
one of them. We kept on the trail of one until the
Camera-man had put his tiny harpoon in the tail of
the creature. I had mentally placed an Aquarium
tag upon him, when an uplifted end of the parted
line showed me where-the propeller blade had cut it
before the motor could be stopped. Fortune now
deserted us and for days we vainly churned with our
motor every manatee haunt we knew within a hun-
dred square miles, until we feared the animals had
fled the country. I was getting low in my mind
over the contract to deliver one sea cow when, as we
rounded a point in the bay one morning, we saw two
manatee, apparently a cow and a calf. As we lost
sight of the mother, we followed the child which led
us a merry chase. The Camenr-man and the captain
in the power boat, and the hunter boy and I in the

Florida Enchanitents

skiff, chased him through channels and over flats for
two hours. We could have harpooned him often
enough, had it not been necessary to strike him in the
tail, which was elusive. When this had been accom-
plished we soon got a net over his head and tied him
in the skiff, from which we tore out the seats and half-
filled it with water. When the creature floundered,
the skiff capsized, so we held it beside the power
skiff for the miles and hours that lay between us and
our cruising boat. Before the trip was over he was
half domesticated and always stopped throwing
bucketfuls of water over us with his tail whenever we
patted him gently on his head. The baby weighed
about two hundred pounds and the tank we had
provided called for an animal of five times that weight.
We sawed the tank in two, hoisted one half on deck
and fitted it up for the infant. We dispensed with
the lighter and carried the tank on the stern of the
cruising boat, where the man at the wheel could
soothe the child when it was frightened.
It is a strain on one's nerves and sympathies to be
with wild creatures during the early days of their
captivity. I have often left my bed in the night to
make more comfortable a just-captured alligator,
crocodile, wildcat, or otter, but when a manatee beats
about its tank, rolling over and over and making a
funny little squeak like a mouse calling its mamma,
I generally get up and hold his flipper and talk to him
until he feels better.
As we neared the end of our three days' voyage
to Miami, the infant manatee became fretful, re-

The Capure of the Manate

jected my overtures and petulantly thrust out the
bits of manatee grass and other good things that I
placed in his mouth. But he sucked my fingers
until I fancied he was a nursling and my first pur-
chase in Miami was a nursing-bottle outfit and a
supply of milk appropriate to a six-foot baby. The
wife of the druggist kindly explained to me the
proper method of applying the nursery machinery
to my baby, until I asked her what I ought to do if
my baby, as was his custom, just staid under water
and wouldn't come out to be fed. I was considering
the construction of an apparatus proportioned to the
size of the creature, from a five-gallon demijohn and
a section of hose pipe, when I detected the infant
privately eating chunks of raw cabbage and wisps of
manatee grass as fast as he could flop them into his
mouth with his flippers. I then offered him a
plantain and he sat up in his tank to eat it.
An hour later, when his train was about to start, I
bade him good-bye and held out my hand, to which
he responded by superciliously extending to me one
of his flippers while he gently rubbed his stomach
with the other. For twenty months this manatee
lived in his tank in the New York Aquarium and
finally died of intestinal disorder, after having
doubled in weight and established a record for
length of life in confinement of a member of his
The Camera-man was low in his mind. Even the
successful shipment of "Baby," as the Aquarium
christened him, failed to cheer him. He complained

Florida Enchantments

that his department had been ignored and instead of
posing for him the captured manatees had chiefly
been used to knock him overboard. He had sat up
nights with the creatures, been eaten by mosquitoes,
dragged all over creation, and whenever he got out
his camera had been ordered to pull on a rope, or
asked to hold a net.
We soothed him with promises of a manatee chase
of his very own, with no net to bother him. The
captain and I agreed to go overboard with the first
sea cow we got a line around, or before, if necessary,
and we started forthwith for the manatee country.
On the first day of the hunt the manatee won out.
We found three, tackled one and went home early
to patch up a broken skiff. I had a steel ring, four
feet in diameter, fastened on the end of a harpoon
pole, and at right angles to it. This held open the
loop of a lasso and sometimes I was able to place it
over or before the head of the manatee when he came
up to breathe. More often, however, I went over-
board when I tried it and sometimes the skiff was
capsized. For when the creature's head was within
reach of the pole, the skiff was within striking dis-
tance of his tail and he always struck. That was
our trouble the first day. On the second day we
hunted from daylight till dark without finding a
trace of the animals.
By noon of the third day we were feeling depressed.
Since daylight we had hunted over fifty miles of the
best sea cow pasturage that we knew. We had fol-
fowed trails of floating manatee grass in vain; rising


The flippers are of use to gather grass within reach of tie mouth.



'Ph_ ^B^ *.

^MiiiUSSr^l ^"" ;j


The Capture of the Manatee

bubbles proved to come from alligators; streaks of
roiled water led only to frightened sting-rays; and
the black heads that had appeared for an instant
above the surface had all belonged to otters or
porpoises. Tiny cat's-paws on the water had misled
us and once we followed the ripple of our own wake,
as it broke on a distant shore, halfway around a bay,
like a pussy-cat chasing its tail. Just as we had
satisfied ourselves that the bay didn't contain a
specimen of the creatures we sought, a big manatee,
frightened by the noisy churning of the approach-
ing motor boat, leaped half out of water, just ahead of
us. A moment later a series of swirls rising to the
surface showed the line of the creature's flight.
These were repeated several times and thereafter a
faint trail of mud in the water guided us. Then,
as all signs ceased, we stopped the motor and studied
the smooth surface of the bay in all directions. Five
minutes had passed when our hunter-boy saw
a black nose appear for an instant two hundred
yards behind us. Again we were on the trail, which
we kept so closely for an hour that the quarry became
flurried and out of breath. He swam back and
forth, coming up to breathe every minute, and some-
times so near that we could have touched him with
an oar. I was tempted to try lassoing him from the
power boat but refrained, knowing the chances were
even that he would sink the boat and at least ruin the
camera outfit. The captain and I got into the skiff
while the hunter-boy took the wheel and the Camera-
man made ready his machinery. The manate came

Florida Enchantments

up beside me quite unexpectedly and when I hur-
riedly tried to put the ring over his head it landed on
his back and I received a deluge of water in my face
while the skiff barely escaped a blow from his tail that
would have put it past repair. The power boat kept
close upon the trail and after bailing out our skiff we
took short cuts that kept us near the animal, which
often rose for a second within arm's length, but it was
another hour before we got the line around him, where
it held for a time, which was fortunate, since the steel
ring had been torn free in the struggle and had gone
to the bottom. The Camera-man lost the first of the
affray, his motor not being lively enough to compete
with the sea cow. Its chug-chug frightened the
creature until he dragged us under mangrove bushes
that overhung a deep channel that ran beside the
river bank, sending me to the bottom of the dkiff and
nearly dragging the captain overboard. Often he
towed us at a speed that took us out of range of the
Camera-man, then turning would swim directly
under the skiff, playfully tossing a few barrels of
water over us as he passed. He swam for long dis-
tances near the bottom of deep channels, only com-
ing to the surface at long intervals for breath, then
carried us across banks where the water was only
five feet deep and we could see his every motion. In
my desire to make the manatee pose for the Camera-
man I sometimes approached too closely, only to have
the skiff lifted half out of water by a blow of the
creature's tail. Then the Camera-man shouted:
"Bully for you; do so some more!"

'I'usscxk Key. A haunt of the manatee on Illrney's River.

The Cap s of the Mmaate

And we did so some more, till we were drenched
and the kiff had been almost swamped many times.
But the insatiable Camera-man, whose plates were
running low, called out:
"More action! Why don't you go overboard as
you promised?"
"Here goes," said the captain, as he landed astride
of the manatee, which just then came.up beside the
skiff to breathe. He was promptly bucked off by a
roach'of the creature's back and a slap of his tail,
but caught him by one flipper, while I tumbled over-
board and grabbed the other, just as the line slipped
over the nose of the manatee. Therefter we swam
around together in a friendly way while the Camera-
man circled about us in the power boat changing
slides in his camera like mad. When at last he ex-
claimed with a sigh, "Plates all gone," we measured
the sea cow with an oar, fin g his length eight feet
and his weight, by estimate, five hundred pounds.
Then loosing my hold of his flipper I swam beside
him for a few yards until the quickening stroke of his
big propeller left me behind, and as I turned and
struck out for the skif that drifted a hundred yards
away, I overheard a soliloquy of the Camera-man:
"Guess I've got a monopoly of that subject."


1 -..

A FAMILY of dolphins was piloting us through
emerald waters in the Bay of Florida. One
channel after another, in the labyrinth we
were threading, had given out, and more than once
all hands had gone overboard to drag the launch
across banks where it would not foat. The ac-
quaintance with the channels shown by the dolphins,
as they rolled and snorted a hundred yards ahead,
led us to follow them, to the manifest betterment of
otir navigation. Twice the head of the family shot
a dozen feet in the air in pure playfulness, making
a thrilling picture that can be seen about once in a
blue moon. Sometimes Mamma Dolphin raised her
head above the surface of the water and fixed a big
apprehensive eye upon us, while Baby Dolphin
snuggled up beside her and lifted his little nose in
comical imitation of his mother.
When the chug-chug of the motor sounded within
fifty yards of the big dolphin he gave a blast of
warning, and three long bodies shot gleaming through
the clear water straight as a fish torpedo, which
their propeller tails suggested, until a broad shoal
was reached, over which, with fins and backs out of
water, they scrambled with the fuss and fury of a

Florida Enchantments

flock of frightened ducks, only stopping when a mile
of channels and shoals separated us. Ten minutes
later, as we again approached, they were rollicking
in a school of silver mullet, filling the air with splash-
ing water and spray as they tossed the little fish by
scores many feet above the surface of the water and
leaping upward caught them in the air as they fell.
They were too busy to see the launch until its bow
was within thirty feet of them, when in wild panic
they scattered in three directions. I rolled the wheel
toward the biggest one and thereafter his trail was
not dropped. Other dolphins came near but were
ignored. The big bayonet fin of a tarpon, the two
fins of a wandering shark cutting the water in the
wake of his prey, or the three which followed the
swaying four-foot weapon of a fourteen-foot sawfish,
tempted us in vain as they crossed our path. When
the creature looked toward us, whether from a dis-
tance of ten yards or a thousand, it was always our
pursuing bow that he saw. From the moment the
chase began the dolphin knew that he was the quarry,
as the wild deer is sure when his own trail is struck.
He dashed through channels and over shoals for a
long distance in a straight line, while we plodded
after him, farther behind each minute.
As the danger receded he rested from time to time,
often changing his course and forgetting his fright
until the approach of his pursuer, near and more
persistent than ever, struck him with a panic that
sent him flurrying around us for an hour in circles
of varying diameter, but usually in one direction,

(1) When the dolphin is struck, there is a mighty splash in the water.
(2) The skiff is forthwith towed at high speed. (3) Gaffed and
pulled to the side of the skiff.

....-~;. ?

The Chase of the Dolphin

while we described lesser circles within his orbit,
gaining with every yard, excepting as he reversed
his direction when we presumed too much on his
maintaining it. He swam between banks that were
nearly dry, through channels so crooked that I
strained the tiller ropes many times in each minute,
while our boatmen, with oars at bow and stern, helped
us around the sharp corners. The Camera-man at
the motor, during the short turns, smothered the air
to avoid stranding the boat, and when the course was
clear changed the lead and varied the feed with
microscopic care until the last possible foot was ex-
tracted from each minute. That our speed might
be yet further increased, our excited boatmen invited
trouble for themselves by dragging one of the skiffs
we were towing up on the stern of the launch, while
it was traveling at its highest speed. Three times
it happened that we ran aground, only to get under
way again within a minute. Once all hands went
overboard to drag the boat a dozen yards through
the mud, losing minutes during which the dolphin
made his way to open water, with a depth of six or
seven feet. Here the circling began again and for
more than half an hour we chased him, until at times
not more than the length of the boat separated us,
and as he rose more frequently to blow, his explosive
breaths sounded like great sobs.
Drawing up beside the launch the skiff we were
towing, which contained a harpoon, pole and lines,
I started out with my boatman to intercept the dol-
phin in one of his great circles. After anchoring the

Florida Enchantment

launch and putting overboard the other skiff, the
Camera-man followed with his photographic para-
phernalia. When the chug-chugging of the motor
stopped, the dolphin seemed to think the chase
ended, became less wild, and swam so quietly, as for
an hour he evaded us, that I looked forward to a
tame surrender when he should at last feel the har-
poon. Later, while using my harpoon pole to help
the hot pursuit of the creature which was just ahead
of us, he turned so quickly that before I could slip the
harpoon on the pole he had passed me, striking the
skiff contemptuously with his tail as he went by.
After another half hour of exertion that would have
been most exhausting if it had been useful labor, I
got another chance with the harpoon. This weapon
was less savage than its name would imply. It was
about three inches long, with a single barb so ar-
ranged as merely to penetrate the skin of the creature
struck, and was not intended to disable him. When
it touched the dolphin, however, it seemed to turn on
an electrical current of much dynamic importance,
and his first dash filled the air with splashing water
that drenched me, tore my hands with the savage jerk
on the harpoon, and persuaded me to sit down on
the bottom of the skiff, hastily and with violence,
when the line chanced to foul. As the dolphin swam
swiftly under and around the skiff, striking it vio-
lently with his tail as he leaped beside it, I thought of
another dolphin which had playfully jumped through
and everlastingly wrecked the dingey, and quite
shattered the nerves of a friend of mine.

The Chase of the Dolphin

The outgoing line burned my hands. Then, as I
began to get way on the skiff, instead of towing it and
wearing himself out, in harmony with all recognized
theories, the dolphin turned and swam back around
and under the skiff many times, keeping me busy
clearing up the line in which he was trying, with
some success, to entangle me. After he had played
me for an hour, during which he seemed to be grow-
ing as much stronger as I felt weaker, I persuaded
the Camera-man that his plates contained all the
pyrotechnics he required and that he had earned the
privilege of playing the creature. We exchanged
places and I rested for half an hour.
There were moments during his struggle with the
dolphin when some especial activity of the latter
encouraged me to look for the capsizing of the skiff,
which often seemed imminent. When I returned to
the skiff I handed the harpoon line to the boatman
and tried to gaff the animal. On the first attempt the
breaking of the handle of the gaff saved me from
going overboard ;with it. After the second stroke I
hung on to the gaff, although the boat was whirled
around many times with a violence that half filled
it with water and threatened every moment to cap-
size it. It was yet another hour before the creature
was quiet enough to justify an effort to take him
aboard. We tried this in many ways, dragging at
his head, pulling on his tail, and endeavoring to roll
him sideways over the gunwale. Often we nearly
swamped the skiff and had to bail it many times,
before, aided by the animal himself, we succeeded in

Florida Enchantments

rolling him aboard. For the first time he then
opened wide his mouth, causing me to retire to the
extreme bow of the boat while he slapped my boat-
man with his powerful tail. Victory was ours. He
was the captive of our spear-for the moment, which
we utilized to measure his length of eight and a half
feet and his girth of about five.
Then he became uneasy and lifting his tail laid it
upon the port gunwale until water poured over that
side. The boatman and I promptly sat on the star-
board edge of the boat to trim it. The dolphin
shifted his head to port with an emphasis that left us
sitting in water that poured into the skiff. Like a
flash his tail was in the air, falling with a violence that
broke the stem of the boat as his weight rolled it
bottom side up. The first dash of the fleeing ani-
mal, which was yet fast to the skiff, brought him
against the other boat, nearly upsetting it, quite cap-
sizing the boatman, and spilling the Camera-man
among his tools, where he sat gnashing his teeth as he
contemplated the heads of two swimmers, floating
oars, line, tubs, pole, and an upturned skiff being
towed rapidly away, while his unready camera held
only plates that had already been exposed.
As the harpoon line was still fast to the dolphin
and he was much exhausted I again got hold of him
and tried to drag him on the bottom of the sub-
merged skiff, with the result of again capsizing the
already capsized craft. But the struggle was over.
He was quiet as I rested in the water beside him,
except that he sent occasional offensive blasts from

(1) Trying to get him aboard head first. He is too heavy for that
method. (t) Tail first is a better way of getting him into the boat.
(3) Just landed and all in.


Th Chaw of haw Dolphi

hi lungs into my face. When we turned him loose
he swam slowly away, seemingly not realizing that
he was actually free.
If the sport of chasing dolphins requires justifi-
cation, the best general defense is that of the mall
boy accused ofthe in of fishing on Sunday:
"I didn't ketch nothing. "
Ninety-nine times in a hundred this plea is perti-
nent, since one may pursue dolphins for many moons
before catching one. A hundred times I have seen
sportsmen hunting them with harpoons, but never
once with success. The lesh of the dolphin is of
the color, consistency and newly the taste of beef,
but with enough of a fishy favor to discredit it,
although sometimes it is used for food.
Fishermen often shoot them because of their suc-
cessful rivalry. Neither of these grounds may justify
their serious pursuit, but the sportsman who has
successfully chased a dolphin with a harpoon will
tell you that the sport discounts any other form of
ezcitement known to man; that, in the language of
the bar, he doesn't have to prove it, he admits it;
and that anyhow it involves a smaller percentage of
cruelty than any other recognized sport, from salmonn
fishing to football.
The dolphin of our story has suSered at the hand
of the closest naturalist He is really ad truly a
porpoise, whom some scientificc gent" who never
saw him, has labeled Delphin delph and left
without redress. His good name has been taken
from him and given to a pig, the Snuffing P or

Florida Enchantments

Herring Hog, a little four-foot beast, ugly and oily,
that cannot leap his length out of water. The
dolphins of history and poetry have all been fish,
since Arion addressed his preservers as "faithful,
friendly fish," and poets praised and painted the
p. p. c. color scheme of Coryphana hippuris. Our
porpoise is a splendid mammal, of as good red blood
as the whale, seal or manatee.
He prefers the name of porpoise. He is accus-
tomed to it, he uses it in his own family, and he is
known by it to all who go down to the sea in ships, or,
who, living on the coasts or rivers which he frequents,
have seen him make picturesque the industry by
which he gains his livelihood and provides thriftily
for his little ones. He is the life of a coastwise cruise,
in deep water popping up beside the boat continually,
with a snort of surprise on each appearance, and
often disappearing before the eye can be turned upon
him. He becomes more prudent when the water is
clear and his. long body can be seen cleaving it be-
neath the surface, for sad experience has taught him
that the Man-with-a-gun can then trace his course
and time the instant of his rise to the surface, to his
undoing. If all but the channel is shoal and water
beside the boat too shallow for his protection, he
precedes it as pilot and playfully signals the course
by his gambols.
When he fishes in deep water, friendly focks of
gulls attend him and fatten upon the crumbs that fall
from his table. Sociable pelicans, in their own
ungainly fashion, tumble upon the water beside him,

The Chase of the Dolphin

finding prey in the fish he has frightened. When the
tide is high he takes his family picnicking on shallow
banks where they keep the air filled with the mullet
they toss back and forth. As the tide falls, he lies
craftily in an adjoining channel and knocks endwise
the small fish as they come off the banks.
Like the fisherman, he is shy of the weapons of the
catfish which he deftly catches just back of the head
and bites in two before swallowing it. When other
fish are scarce the heads of hundreds of "cats" with
their vicious daggers attached, may be seen drifting
with the tide in the waters where a family of por-
poises have breakfasted.
He becomes less timid by night and greets one in
startling fashion with a sudden blast beside the cabin
window, or the shake-down on deck. On dark
nights, he swims beside grassy banks where small
fish have hidden in water too shallow to foat him.
Here at short intervals, with his powerful tail, which
lies horizontally as he swims and is a mass of muscle
of such tensile strength that sailors use its fibers for
fiddle strings, he strikes blows, like those of a pile
driver, which can be heard for miles. The splashing
water flashes out light and the small fish leave wakes
of phosphorescent fire that guide their pursuer to
his supper. He is possessed of a restless activity that
finds expression in playful leaps of many feet as he
catches in his mouth the little fish which he has tossed
high in air.
The porpoise (or dolphin) contributes little to the
food or raiment requirements of the people, but he

Florida Encha.stmts

adds to the gayety of nations, and is the only one
of the great sea mammals available for study or en-
tertainment. What are left of the whale family
are protected by their environments from ordinary
observation; the seal has been mostly manufactured
into garments of fashion, and the shy manatee is too
nearly extinct to be helpful.
Webster clears up the confusion of names by de-
fining: "Delphinws delphis, true dolphin." "Pho-
cena communis, called dolphin by sailors," and
Coryphna hippuris, commonly known as dolphin."
The last named is a fish of triangular construc-
tion, five feet in length, and a favorite of elegiac
poets, who rank him with the swan, whose dying
melody is not more impressive than the brilliancy
of the changing hues of this fish as he makes his exit.
One well-known naturalist writes that porpoises
are distinguished by their blunt noses and dolphins by
long, pointed beaks, but that some dolphins have
blunt noses and a few porpoises long snouts, so that
it is impossible to lay down rules by which one may
always be distinguished from the other. Every-day
folks, who don't care for the dolphin of the ancient
or the many varieties they never see, but would like
to know the name of the creature they have watched
from the deck of a ship or the pier of. a hotel may
conclude that if it is about seven feet in length, with
small head, long and narrow beak, body built on the
lines of a manatee or cucumber, with a jaunty tail set
crossways, gray of back, dingy of belly, given to
playful leaping and resembling its picture among

The Chase of the Dolphin

the illustrations herewith, it is DdphinUi delphis,
the dolphin. If it is less than five feet long, black,
ungraceful as the pig it resembles, and too lazy to
lift its head out of water when it sniffs for breath, it
is the Phocmna communi of the naturalist