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In the year 1918 I recorded the sensation that had been caused among the "outside" crayfish men at Port Stephens, when, for several days, they refused to go to sea to their regular fishing grounds in the vicinity of Broughton Island. The men had been at work on the fishing grounds---which lie in deep water---when an immense shark of almost unbelievable proportions put in an appearance, lifting pot after pot containing many crayfishes, and taking, as the men said, "pots, mooring lines and all".
These crayfish pots, it should be mentioned, were about 3 feet 6 inches [1.06 m] in diameter and frequently contained from two to three dozen good-sized crayfish each weighing several pounds. The men were all unanimous that this shark was something the like of which they had never dreamed of. In company with the local Fisheries Inspector I questioned many of the men very closely and they all agreed as to the gigantic stature of the beast. But the lengths they gave were, on the whole, absurd. I mention them, however, as a indication of the state of mind which this unusual giant had thrown them into. And bear in mind that these were men who were used to the sea and all sorts of weather, and all sorts of sharks as well. On
e of the crew said the shark was "three hundred feet [90 m] long at least"! Others said it was as long as the wharf on which we stood---about 115 feet [35 m]! They affirmed that the water "boiled" over a large space when the fish swam past. They were all familiar with whales, which they had often seen passing at sea, but this was a vast shark. They had seen its terrible head which was "at least as long as the roof on the wharf shed at Nelson's Bay." Impossible, of course! But these were prosaic and rather stolid men, not given to 'fish stories' nor even to talking about their catches. Further, they knew that the person they were talking to (myself) had heard all the fish stories years before!
One of the things that impressed me was that they all agreed as to the ghostly whitish color of the vast fish. The local Fisheries Inspector of the time, Mr Paton, agreed with me that it must have been something really gigantic to put these experienced men into such a state of fear and panic.
The second sighting took place in 1933, again off the coast of Rangiroa. Aboard the S.S. Manganui, Grey and his son Loren were returning to San Francisco after a fishing trip to Tahiti. One evening at about 5:00 p.m., Loren was at the rail when he saw a small flock of spiralling sea gulls and, near by, an area of yellow water (5): At first I thought it was a whale, but when the great brown tail rose in the ship’s wake as the fish moved ponderously away from the liner, I knew immediately that it was a monstrous shark. The huge round head appeared to be at least 10 to 12 feet across if not more ... It was my belief that this huge, yellowish, barnacled creature must have been at least 40 or 50 feet long. He was not a whale shark: the whale shark has a distinctive white purplish green appearance with large brown spots and much narrower head. So what was he---perhaps a true prehistoric monster of the deep? What we had seen was something [that] no ichthyologist had ever dreamed existed. The largest known specimen of this type of shark, generally known as a sand shark or black-tipped shark, had hardly been known to exceed a length of about 15 feet