THE MAN WHO RODE SHARKS by William R. with Robert F. Burgess Royal


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Colonel Royal is a modest fellow who became famous when a Saturday Evening Post story appeared in 1960 with photographs of him hanging onto the back of a large shark and going for a ride through the Gulf Stream. He grabbed onto his first shark during the Depression, under a bridge near Bradenton, Florida, seeing it as a big fish he could sell for meat. There's a great deal to know about sharks before you become as fearless as Royal. Sometimes he holds or ropes them by the tail, since they can't swim backwards; and since many sharks have hides rougher than sandpaper that draw blood easily, he avoids just this dangerous brush with them. Royal also hunts giant eels, rays, and other monsters. In World War II he dove in the Pacific atolls to help scientists learn why natives and soldiers were coming down with cramps and convulsions after eating seemingly healthy fish (he found a giant landfill with old, slow-poisoning machinery at one end of the island). Much of his work even today is credited to others, mainly the scientists who write it up as part of their lab experiments. His greatest discoveries were on the Florida coast. He found deep underwater eaves full of stalactites formed by dripping from a ceiling, and these seemed to indicate that Florida was far above sea-level during the last Ice Age. Then he found a 10,000-year-old skull with brain intact deep in oxygenless Warm Mineral Springs. And he's still down there searching, Clear and rousing with a nice bite to it.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1978
ISBN: 0595003893
Publisher: Dodd, Mead