By the age of twenty-seven, Harry had experienced and had been engaged in the dangerous and hard life of a seaman engaged in the whaling industry from the Antarctic to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.  He had been shot, taken prisoner of war, and was medically discharged from the army.  He was an invalid.  To his family, Harry was a legend.

Harry would now settle down, marry the girl of his dreams, and raise a family.

In 1910 Harry and his family moved to the Bluff, Durban.  In later years Harry’s children and grandchildren told stories about the Union Whaling Station on the Bluff.  Aubrey, grandson to Harry, often told that the cousins had made regular visits to the educational whaling station.  The decks stained with red whale blood and the awfully bad smells hard to endure.  The thought of falling off the deck into the shark infested water was graver and more than grim.  On a visit, I stood in awe of the mere size of these whales and often wondered how it was possible to hunt down the majestic creatures.  It was at the station that these enormous barnacle encrusted mammals were dissected and butchered; the product used to make soap, margarine, and cooking oils.

Aubrey often recalled how, as children, they went aboard the whaling vessels in dock, where the chef fed them.  His greatest delight was being given a tin of condensed milk to eat.  He always had a sweet tooth.  They always knew that their grandfather had been a sailor on the whaling boats but sadly had never had the pleasure of being able to talk to him or listen to all the tales which he would have been able to tell.  They never knew much about their grandfather’s military service.

Harry died at age fifty-nine from cardiac failure.  He would no longer be able to stand on the deck of that Brig and look up into the maze of ropes and wind filled canvas overhead.  He would no longer hear the noise of the breakers and the commands of the captain, feel the terrible anxiety, and fatigue or experience the days when sailors earned calloused hands and sun bronzed backs.  Harry would, however, have been proud of his descendants as most of the family had become seamen in their own right, and certainly were good and well-known fishermen.  They were left a legacy where the happy times, the fair winds, the ocean, the waves, the seashells, and toes in the sand had grounded their souls.

 

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