Thursday, August 24, 2006

5 November 1955

The second day of our Great Journey was as uneventful as the first. Even though I try to look upon it as a sort of Columbus-in-reverse, the conditions are completely different. Where Chris came bobbing haphazardly across the seas in a little pea-shell scarcely bigger than those toy ships one floats in a bathtub, we are plowing unerringly for Gibraltar in a steel world where night & day are regulated by a light switch. It’s difficult to imagine that we’re going anywhere, for life goes on as usual.

Began the morning with a big breakfast, which is surprising in that my usual morning ration consists of a carton of milk & an occasional roll snatched from the gallery or bake shop. This morning, however, I had sausage, farina, grapefruit, & milk They had egg omelet (powdered eggs, which look & taste like sponge rubber) & fried potatoes, which I passed up..

The Captain held a personnel inspection, which I happily did not have to attend, & will hold another next Saturday, which I will be forced to stand. I must try to leave something unbuttoned or unpressed so that the Captain will stop & speak to me. They usually do anyway.

Work went on much as usual, though it was a little slower than it has been—for which I’m duly grateful. Last night Nick (Lyzchyn—pronounced La-cision, like decision) & I held a field day in the office in preparation for the below-decks inspection to follow today’s personnel inspection. We scrubbed the floor (deck) & spread wax on with two rags, on our hands & knees. Naturally, nobody bothered to even look in. When I say nobody, I mean the inspecting party. I think they are about the only ones on the ship who didn’t come shuffling in at one time or another. A wax-&-shine job lasts about two minutes in this place. We have linoleum tile on the deck, which few places aboard do. In a way it’s better, but mostly it’s a bother.

One indication that we are quite a ways out at sea is the ship is rolling. It seems that the further we are from shore, the larger the waves. The ship has adopted a “rock-a-bye-baby” motion. Another is the radio—we can still get stations from the States, but they’re becoming poppy.

The flight deck is comparatively empty, but every place else is packed—the hanger deck is jammed with planes; even the catwalks outside the hanger bay doors are loaded with gear. The bow, which in wartime carries two five inch guns, are now filled with sixteen jet & radial engines. We’ll be a long time & a long way from home.

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