30th December 1916

At Kingston. A native fishing off the ship this morning caught a huge tarpon. The fish took him 20 minutes to get it into the boat, and only the skill of the fisherman saved his line from breaking and losing the fish. He brought it on board and the officers took photographs of the fish but would not buy it. The fish weighed 72 lbs and was 4 ft 6 ins long and about a foot in width, with a huge head. One of the stokers bought the fish for 8/- and afterwards cut it up into 10 lb pieces, making a profit of 16/- on the transaction – good biz eh? The scales of this fish are very large and pretty, in shape like an oyster shell, in appearance like mother-of-pearl. I have got one of the scales for a curio, in fact most other fellows have and no scales were left on the fish about half-an-hour after it was bought. I wish I had some plates or films, it would have made a splendid photograph.

This afternoon I enjoyed a read on the foc’sle in the shade – s’nice. I posted the letters to Jude and Aunt Nina this morning, the steamer leaving later that day. I had intended going ashore this evening, but when the time came to catch the boat I did not feel keen on going, so elected to go and have a swim with the bathing party instead. We went in to the same place as last evening and had a fine time. Several ladies and gentlemen were there bathing too.

The English folk are, as a rule, a fine healthy-looking lot, especially the young ladies. I think it must be due to their liking for the open air pursuits, for they seem very keen on swimming and boat-pulling. It is the usual sight at 7 a.m. to see young ladies pulling around in small boats, some of them being splendid oarswomen. It does one good to see their countrymen and women such fine specimens of the race to which they belong, especially in these climes.

The following was piped this evening: “Mail for England will close at noon on Monday”. A direct mail for England (taking about 13 days) leaves on that day.


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