beatrice grimshaw : penrhyn islanders, 1907
They are reckless
and daring to a degree, notable even among Pacific Islanders.
Any Penrhyn man will attack a shark single-handed in its own element, and kill it with the big knife he usually carries.
They are, beyond comparison, the finest swimmers in the world ; it is almost impossible to drown a Penrhyn Islander.
He will swim all day as easily as he will walk.
You may often meet him out fishing, miles from shore, without a boat, pushing in front of him a small plank that carries his bait, lines, and catch.
Some of the fish he most fancies seldom come to the surface.
To catch these he baits his line, dives, and swims about underneath the water for a minute or two at a time, trailing the bait after him, and rising to the surface as often as a fish takes it.
Of his pearl-diving
exploits I shall speak later.
The deadly surf that breaks upon the outer reef has no terrors for him.
Among the small boys of the island there is a favourite feat known as "crossing a hundred waves," which consists in diving through ninety-nine great rollers, just as they are about to break, and rushing triumphantly to shore on the back of the hundredth.
In the Strange South Seas
Hutchinson & Co., London,1907.