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Whale Beaches on Stewart Island

A few weeks ago, occupants of two motorboats in Paterson’s Inlet, Stewart Island, saw a whale floating in about two fathoms of water in a quiet cove near the shore.

The whale was so still it was thought dead at first, but soon there was a puff of steam, a heaving of its back, and a splashing of its tail. After each movement, the whale remained motionless for ten or fifteen minutes, then the stirring began again. A motorboat went to Halfmoon Bay for spears and gear. The other stood ready to prevent the whale from going out to sea.

During the four hour sighting, the whale made no effort to penetrate deeper water, but gradually worked across the sandy bottom towards the steep rocky beach, backed by tall bushes. It was not aground when first seen, and several times it moved in a circle, but it always headed for the shore. The guards in the motorboat thought it best to let it go.

When the other motorboat returned, the whale was solidly grounded a few meters from the beach. Mr AW Traill sen, of Halfmoon Bay, who provided this account of the incident, writes “Why did the whale go ashore? Some of the suggestions are that the whales go close to shore to die, give birth and rub the barnacles off, or when stunned with churned up mud and sand, but none of these suggestions answer this case. The whale, 55 feet long, is considered a fin. It was not high in fat but the owners will save the skeleton if arrangements can be made to place it in a museum.”

Sailors will be delighted

It is curious to note that while machines have been very generally adopted in boiler rooms on land, boiler rooms on board ships are still generally operated by hand. Those with some knowledge of stoker life below decks will wonder if the demand for machines in place of human flesh was not heard emphatically many years ago. Oil-fired boiler heating, long developed by British engineering firms, greatly improves conditions, but there are still many ships with coal-fired boilers. When the boiler is of the water-tube type, it is possible to find space for machines for supplying the furnace with coal and for removing ash and clinker. A recent installation installed in a 1200 ton ship by a British firm proves that there are no insurmountable obstacles to the application of automatic loading on board ships. With this heater the bearing of the vessel does not introduce any material problems, but in any event the furnace can in an emergency be ignited by hand, so that there is no risk of the steam be interrupted by an eccentricity on the part of the machine under difficult conditions.

Palestine? No problem here

As far as Palestine is concerned, British public opinion has taken an interest in the lively controversy aroused by the Zionist experience. At the Genoa conference, the Earl of Balfour declared that the fears which had been expressed that a repercussion would be felt in the religious field in Palestine were by no means founded. He insisted that no power had shown itself more equitable than Great Britain with regard to the representatives of the various religious creeds, and any apprehension which might be expressed as to the transfer of the guardianship of the holy places of a Muslim power to a Christian power was baseless.

ODT25.7.1922