One of the reasons Linda McGill is training for a 21-mile marathon instead of the standard 100-meter sprint is that she was also a member of Dawn Fraser's freestyle team of free swingers at the Tokyo Olympics, whose exploits included an attempt to cross the moat of the Imperial Palace on a bike. She was punished like the others. For her efforts on behalf of the team she was placed under a four-year ban from all competition in regulation pools. The Channel is not a regulation pool.
THE HOT-SEAT ANGLER
Most rod-and-reel fishermen deplore the use of the harpoon on such splendid fighters as the broadbill swordfish, though the excuse is often given that the fish refused a persistently presented bait. ("Persistently" sometimes means two passes.) Now comes a new threat to sport—the electric harpoon.
Edward L. Gerry, a Massachusetts resident who summers at Bustin's Island, Me., has been using the new harpoon this season with depressing success. Very like the conventional harpoon, except that it delivers 250 volts when Gerry presses a button, it has accounted for hundreds of pounds of marketable tuna so far. The prosperous Gerry concedes that he does not need the money, but goes on to add: "I'd like to see this boat pay for itself. I spend an awful lot of money for gas."
On one recent day in Casco Bay he took two tuna, one weighing 538 pounds, the other 615. Such big fish, he said, require at least 40 seconds of voltage. "It stiffens them right up," he said. "We slide them back to the stern, gaff them and they're aboard in a few minutes." Needless to say, an electrocuted tuna gives very little fight.
On the other hand, said Gerry, 250 volts is too much for swordfish. "When you hit a swordfish with this," he explained, "it breaks his backbone into about 800 pieces. It turns the fish to jelly." So on a two-week trip to the sword-fishing grounds on Georges Banks in August he will experiment with lower voltage. A spotting plane will cost him $100 a day plus $10 for every fish discovered, but Gerry expects to boat up to 10 fish a day. They average 250 pounds and are worth 50� a pound in the market. He should be able to buy lots of gas.
"It kinda takes the sport out of it," a Maine fisherman observed with characteristic understatement, after watching Gerry bring in a passively nonresistant tuna. And even the directors of the "anything goes" Bailey Island Tuna Tournament, open to rod-and-reel fishermen, harpooners and handliners, have barred the electric gear, along with hand grenades, depth charges, poison and other efficient fish-killers.
WHO BUILT THE ARK?
Mammals of the World is the latest in handy reference guides on all the known genera and species of mammalian life. Author Ernest Walker spent 30 years compiling his scholarly work, which totals 2,269 pages (Johns Hopkins Press, $37). In it, nature's grand scheme is finally brought into proper perspective—species Homo sapiens is dismissed in one page. Bats get 214.
The largest underwater park in the world is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, a matter of minutes by boat from Key Largo and startlingly beautiful in the clarity of its multicolored waters. Now something incongruous is about to be added.