May 29 – Wednesday

Seven months out today.

We upped anchor at 8:45 and went aground a minute later. I was writing in the main cabin and felt the bumps. Skipper, Clint, and Joe got out in the small dinghy and took soundings all around the Yankee. A small kedge anchor was rigged and the main sheet bent on it. It was put in the dinghy and the idea was for Joe to row astern and drop the anchor and we would haul in on it: While Joe was rowing and before the anchor was dropped, Skipper put Betsy full steam astern and we slid off the bank and it looked like Joe pulled us off.

Set sail for Tarawa and we heard that a boat left there at noon today for Honolulu. Damnit – a good mailing chance shot to hell. We killed the eight chickens and pig this afternoon. Skipper slaughtered all and also skinned and cleaned the pig. He missed Fritz.

Sent my telegram to Hartford to be wired collect from there. I wonder what the answer will be??

Underway 8:45. Aground 8:50. Off again 9:15.

May 28 – Tuesday

Moved closer to shore this morning. Got eight chickens today and will get a pig tomorrow.

Some of the boys went ashore this afternoon and as Skipper, Exy, and Arthur went I stayed on board to play pinochle with Oakes. The suckers came back all wet and mad.They had to push the dinghies in knee-deep water and the town was awful. A lousy dance, uninteresting natives, and a ramshackled village full of decaying huts – three huts to every native, according to what the fellows said. I’m very pleased that I didn’t go ashore.

Tonight, as usual, Oakes got the ball scores and then for the National League standings as of May 27.


W        L          %

Brooklyn                       20        8          .714

Cincinnati                     22        9          .710

New York                     17        12        .586

Chicago             18        15        .545

Phila                  11        15        .430

St Louis            11        20        .355

Boston               9          17        .346

Pittsburgh                    8          20        .286


Earl, Charley, Low, and I have little arguments every night about who’s going to end where and beat whom. Though the Phillies lost to Brooklyn 6-0 today (yesterday at home), they retain fifth place two and a half games above the Cards who also lost. The position of the Phils is a great surprise to me, as is Brooklyn’s being in first place. What has happened to Frisch’s Pirates? We will get the scores almost every night and Cincinnati (W8SRM) will send us the standings once a week.

Well, King Leopold surrendered to Germany against the advice of his ministers. This. takes about 800,000 men out of action against the Nazis. Of course, a goodly number of Belgian troops will volunteer into the French army, but it is a most serious blow to the Allies’ cause.

May 27 – Monday

Seven months out almost, and the cruise ends eleven months from now, if not before.

Underwater pictures were taken this morning by Skipper, Leary, Doc, Sawyer, and Joe. The rest scrubbed and painted the starboard bulwarks. A heavy rain squall gave us a good bath. Loring lost his pants while swimming and then he lost my mask which I haven’t paid Oakes for, so the debt is transferred.

Chow at twelve and the Skipper’s party came back about 12:45 and we set sail immediately for Apamama twenty miles away, we rush for leisure.

We entered the reef of Apamama about 4:30. I was at the wheel. I stood in front so as to be able to turn it more easily, but got mixed up once for a few seconds and turned it to port instead of starboard. I caught myself before a half point, but Skipper was mad as hell.

Dropped anchor for the night quite a way offshore. Robert Louis Stevenson spent about six months here years ago. Why ??

May 26 – Sunday

Arrived off Nonouki Island and dropped anchor at 13:30 after a little searching around for a good spot. Gil went aft, later, to get a dinghy and fell in. Poor Gil! Everything happens to Gil!

This island is supposed to have some beautiful coral and a look see was taken. I stayed aboard as usual – just too lazy and not interested.

More pinochle tonight.

Some of the goons went flying fishing, but not much luck.

May 25 – Saturday

Had breakfast and left immediately for shore. Went sailing in the ninety-six foot sailing outrigger canoe. It is five feet wide, draws about three feet, and the outrigger is about forty feet long and planking of arms seven/eighths inch – thirteen arms. It has three masts twenty-five feet high and a jib on both ends, as the outrigger always has to be kept to windward. It sails about five and a half to six points off the wind and coming about takes ten minutes. Much yelling and confusion is always present.

They drove the canoe near the Yankee and a couple natives jumped overboard to get a line. One saw a rope hanging down and grabbed it to pull himself up on the Yankee’s decks. It was the line to a canvas bucket. Even when I was in the canoe I still didn’t think it was so long, but I compared it with the Yankee. The steering oar is about seventy feet long and heavy as hell. This canoe is; to my knowledge, by far the biggest sailing canoe in the world. I know of no other that can even come close.

I took a roll of pictures and when I went to change film I accidentally put the used one back in and ruined it.

Tonight it took Loring over an hour to do the dishes, and he then began taking a shower up forward. I gave the wheel to Doc and ran forward, giving Loring a verbal lash and I went down the companionway: I have told that son-of-a-bitch over and over again to let me know when he’s finished, but he does the same thing every time. The situation is going to change tomorrow, and if he pulls that stunt once more I’ll wash.

Nora’s foot is definitely on the upgrade. No more soakings and she ate regular chow tonight. Clint is still pretty bad and Mac and Earl now have some sort of infections.

May 24 – Friday

Skirted the reef of Taputocuea (??) eleven miles off the shore. We approached the island with Skipper doing masthead navigation. We were proceeding slowly under power when the order came suddenly – “Reverse engine, hard a-starboard.” We stopped just in time to save our bow from hitting a coral crag. .We dropped anchor then, as it was too dangerous to go in any further. We were practically hull down on the horizon.

Some of the fellows went ashore and found the village deserted, as all the natives were out celebrating Empire Day. I stayed on board and played pinochle with Oakes.

May 23 – Thursday

Sighted Onotoa at sunrise and Gil changed the course to head for it. He was just about to call the Skipper when he came on deck. Seeing what happened, he gave Gil hell for not calling him. He called him all sorts of uncomplimentary names and asked him who he thought was sailing this.ship anyway. Gil was sore as a boil and one more accusation like that and Skipper will be looking for another Third Mate. I can’t see why Skipper gives the mates hell in front of the watch. It is bad stuff, for it gives the men the wrong idea about their mates.

Stay ed aboard all day and rested. I now owe Oakes eight bottles of beer for pinochle games, Tonight the boys are out after some flying fish. Clint has joined the “Old Soaks Club,” having a coral poisoning on his right ankle. Nora’s sore is coming to a head and is acting very cheerful. She is now very despondent about the whole affair, telling Mac that she doesn’t know how she will live the year out on the Yankee. I would definitely advise against any fellow, and especially a girl, from coming on the Yankee.

Tonight is war news is better than last night’s harum-scarum of German troops surrounding the British.

May 22 – Wednesday

Nora is much worse than I thought. This morning she was sitting in a chair on deck and passed out. I feel like a goon for kidding her about elephantiasis, wanting her foot as an ashtray when it is cut off, and about how soon we will send her to the glue factory. She is a grand sport and gets better every day.

Loring and Earl, and I went ashore last night and got back at 6:30 this morning. We had an anchor watch all night and I was on 4-5. Gil woke me at four, but I must have dropped off to sleep, for I swear that the hour was only fifteen minutes long. Oh, well, no one knows, so why should I tell?

Doc and I went diving today and when we put our heads under the water the current carried us towards the reef and it looked like we were floating in air. At high tide the water was an even three feet over the reef and had a swift current.We pulled up our legs and floated along, reveling in everything we saw.

Beru is eight and a half miles, altitude six to eight feet and is covered with coconuts and pandanus trees. The reef is two and a half to three miles offshore and population is 2300.

The London Missionary Society has set up electric lights, ice plants, school etc in the town of Ronocono – everything but beer.

Warren and Doc came in after lunch with the news that they, Charley, Low, Jop, and Kirby were sailing in an outrigger and it turned turtle with $1400 (Mac’s estimate) worth of camera equipment on board. Water just poured out of most of the cameras. Warren is fit to be tied – he lost a $50 camera in the Pitcairn surf. His Exacta, recently gotten in Honolulu, was on his person. It’s worth $250 and his Weston Master got frozen. Everyone is pretty peeved, but they all realize it was an accident. Bunny and Low came back after developing pictures all night. We set sail at nine tonight and left Beru astern in the lee of the shimmering light.

May 21 – Tuesday

Anchored this morning off the reef entrance at Beru Island in the Gilbert group. Some of the gang went ashore after breakfast, but we who stayed on board got the best trades. Natives came out in their canoes and we got some more shark-teeth swords. Bob Leary got two nice model canoes, one a sailor, and I got a painted sailing outrigger.·A real model with all the gear for two bob.

The natives here, while those at Vaitupu who do not sail, use their canoes and wind to carry them far out to sea. We watched them go over the horizon and the little sails paint a pretty picture.

The shore gang met Mr·Sadd, the LMS man and before Skipper knew he was a missionary he told Mr Sadd what he thought of them. What a foxpass! Mr Sadd was out here for supper and he was most interesting, though at first his manner makes you snicker. Everything so British and so graund.

I wanted to go ashore tonight, but the canoe came too late. We on board spent, a restful day and got some good trading done.

Saw six whales this morning. Two passing a few yards in front of us.

May 20 – Monday

Stopped this afternoon at Nukunai (Byron) Island. The natives were more primitive than any we have thus far seen – grass skirts, et al. Even some of the women clothing over their breasts. The huts are real huts, too.

Charley, Earl, Doc, and I wanted some shark-tooth spears and we went way down to the end of town asking every native we saw. Then we stopped walking, Charley and I tried unsuccessfully for women. Then we tried again for spears. One fellow on a bicycle, there were some bikes on Arorae too, said that he had two. After much persuasion he left. Doc, meanwhile, also had departed. After about a half hour the native returned, with two rather poor spears. His price was high, but I almost fell when another native came and I traded two shillings for a good one. A third native came with eight and Charley and I each got three for four shillings and two sticks of tobacco. Earl got two.

I wanted some sinnet, also, but the guy who had one wanted two bob and I wouldn’t trade for it. After a lot of haggling around I gave his wife an old bracelet and a cheap pair of hair ornaments for the biggest load of sinnet I have seen. It must have taken years to make it from the coconut fibre. I then got a finely woven mat for one bob, two tobac.

We then moved the Yankee to the other village, Here, the natives came out and wholesale trading was in order. I got another spear for one bob, two tobac. The other fellows got some beauts – Gil’s (Y) capping the honors.Only Charley and Bunny went ashore and Kirb, got a handsome outrigger model.

Yesterday, Doc cleaned my ears and those of Leary, Jop, and Earl. Some of the hunks of wax gotten out were pretty big.

It took Loring an hour and twenty minutes to do the dishes tonight. “Stupid” is certainly slow.

Tonight Exy privately told me that she appreciated my trying to get the canned butter before supper even though it was a hopeless task. It showed the right spirit, she said, much better than Loring’s attitude of forget it, we can’t get it now! That goon has a lot to learn on the Yankee.

Nora’s foot is worse than ever. It is some sort of streptococci infection and her whole ankle is badly swollen. But she is taking it in her usual good humor and Oakes is helping her a lot. I have all the respect in the world for Nora. She deserves a lot of credit.

Last night I checked over my debt to the Skipper and, much to my surprise, I owe him less than $100. I had figured that it would be over twice what it really is. Maybe I won’t have to work my way home from Port Moresby after all.