18 November 1955
One of the traits of a good writer seems to be that he can find something interesting, if not fascinating, from the least little thing—every event is fraught with juicy literary tidbits. But Boswell & Pepys never served aboard a United States aircraft carrier. Their days were also apparently 30 hours long, for they had the opportunity to write lengthy passages every day. On board an aircraft carrier, however, life becomes as mechanical as the engines which drive us through the water, & as unvarying as the radar scanners which endlessly search the sky.
Sometime between yesterday & now we have been joined by a sister carrier, the Lake Champlain, & four destroyers. The carrier was running directly alongside us, at a distance of about three-quarters of a mile. She has a destroyer shadow too; looks very impressive to see all those ships—I took some pictures & only hope they turn out.
Late this afternoon, the destroyers started coming alongside us (one at a time) for refueling. As one pulled alongside-- they would come to within 30 feet--& the lines were thrown across to her, our band played "Hi Neighbor"—corny, but effective. I went up on the island to take pictures—the wind was blowing wild & cold; the sea was a lot calmer than the last two days but still rough. Off at about a mile & a half now, & ahead, the Lake Champlain flashed messages to us. The destroyer beside us looked very small—the top of her highest mast only reaching level with our bridge. The sun was setting in a cloudy sky without much glory, but gave a nice shade-&-light effect on our trailing destroyer. The one being refueled was completely in the carrier’s shadow, fuel lines & ropes between the two looking as fragile as string—in a way the destroyer looked like a small insect caught in the web of a large spider.
We anchor tomorrow for replenishment from another ship—that ought to liven things up—we’ll be of the coast of Italy; Sardinia or someplace.
I don’t know if Boswell or Pepys ever took a shower, but I’ve got to, & now.
"And so to bed…."