Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/126

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110

��Popular Science Monthly

���) Brown and Dawson

The water is shallow and always warm. The rules of the sport are "Hold on tight and don't mind a ducking"

��Rafting the Rapids on the Rio Grande in Jamaica, British West Indies

JAMAICA, although a tropical country, has a form of sport equal if not superior to tobogganing. The national pastime is shooting the rapids in the Rio Grande River on bamboo rafts. For about four miles of its length the river is one succession of rapids. The depth of these rapids is never over ten or twelve inches, and many of the rocks protrude above the surface, so it is not possible to use a boat at all.

The natives build rafts of light, tough bamboo, which float where there is water and will slide like a sled over the wet, smooth stones where there is no water.

Each raft is about twen ty-five feet long and is composed of twelve to fifteen stalks of bamboo. The bamboo is about six inches in diameter at the base and tapers to one inch at the point. The tips of the bam- boo form the bow of the raft and the base the stern. Near the stern is a built- up platform on which two passen- gers may sit and keep their feet out

��of the water, which often covers the raft. The helms- man stands towards the bow. With a long pole he guides the raft down the rapids and away from the worst stones.

Shooting the rapids is exciting. Every cataract is different from its prede- cessor. One is short, another long; a third straight, and others are full of curves. We slide over the small stones that protrude slight- ly above the surface, but we must keep away from the large ones, for they will break up our frail raft, or, worse yet, turn it over on us. In some places jungle trees overhang the river so low as sometimes to sweep the passengers off; in other spots the channel between the high ledges is so narrow as to require very fine steering on the part of the negro helmsman. But it is seldom that a raft goes through without its passengers being thrown off, swept off or having their craft turn over on them.

���A glass model of a housefly, magnified to show its interesting construction

��Facts about Your Enemy, the Common Housefly

MORE than one-third of all the known flies belong to one family, Musca Domestica, or the common housefly. This fly is perhaps the most cosmo- politan in the whole order of insects, being found in al- most every part of the world. The eggs are laid in groups, and in a few hours the larvae make their appear- ance.

Each female lays about seventy eggs. Though the common housefly has been "swatted" all over the world, the fly family shows no signs of decreasing. The most approved methods for its exter- mination employ pre- vention and sanitary measures.

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