10 P.M. March 29th, Lowrie and I boarded the train for Washington.
We got to Washington at 6 P.M. March 31st. We worked in the
Coast Pilot section on the Miami records and on the Philippine
Coast Pilot until May 8th, when we left for Norfolk on the
Str. Northland. The next morning we reported to Capt. Maher
at the Monticello Hotel in Norfolk. He took us out to the
Sialia, which was lying at Berkely. While in Norfolk I went
aboard the Isis, the Onward, and the Matchless. The Isis has
since been lost. I met Adams, chief engineer of the Onward,
who has since mysteriously disappeared. On June 6 we left
for Baltimore to be repaired, as a strike in Norfolk prevented
the repairs being done there. On June 7 we arrived at the
Coast Guard Depot at Baltimore. While in Baltimore I went
to Washington 14 or 15 weekends, thanks to Lowrie's unselfishness.
My folks came to see me twice. I spent only one weekend in
Baltimore without seeing my people. On the afternoon of Sept.
30 we left Baltimore for Norfolk, our repairs having been
completed. I stood my first watch from 2 A.M. to 6 A.M. Oct.
1st, going down Chesapeake Bay. We arrived at Hampton Roads
on the afternoon of Sept. 30th and tied up to a dock at the
Naval Operating Base. I turned the mess stores which I had
gotten up for the trip over to Belt, who succeeded me as caterer
of the Forward Mess. I made a couple of trips across the Roads
to the Arcturus, and brought back a whaleboat, a couple of
anchors, and a box of sounding wire. At last, at 8 A.M., Oct.
9th, we got under way for the west coast. The Officers were
Capt. Maher, Bussell (Exec.), Bean, Chamberlin (Chief), Irwin
(Surgeon), Burdette, and myself, Walker and Ansell having
resigned in July. Pretty soon after we left the capes astern
both Lowrie and I got seasick, and we got it bad. All went
well until the morning of the 14th when we broke down. The
wireless operator got off a message before the juice went
off. We were about 500 miles off the coast of Florida. On
the morning of the 18th the Coast Guard Cutter Tuscarora picked
us up. They towed us into Nassau, N.P., and from there into
Key West. Locke and Chamberlin exchanged places. Mrs. Locke
and Dean Locke came aboard as passengers. Bean got married
and brought his wife aboard. We met Capt. Mattison and Crichton
and saw Meany in Key West. On account of the fact that most
of the officers had dengue fever Capt. Maher telegraphed for
another officer. Dixon was sent from the Isis. On the morning
of Nov. 25 we set out. On Thanksgiving morning we broke down
outside of Nuevitas, Cuba. After almost piling up on the reef
we managed to barely creep into the harbor. Our pilot sure
displayed skill to take us in. We dropped anchor at about
8 p.m. About a week later we were towed to the docks of the
Cuba R.R. Terminal, but not before I was on a couple of eventful
sail boat trips to Nuevitas. Instead of being 10 miles away
from the town we were three miles away after we got to the
dock, and instead of paying three cents a gallon for water
we got it for a cent and a half a gallon. We certainly had
a time of it while tied up to the dock. We had to stand regular
sea watches most of the time, and every night had its incidents.
Our brig did full duty. It is great fun fooling with
a drunk Bolshevik crew at night and working in the daytime.
Christmas and New Year's Day didn't seem like they used to.
On both days I had a little trouble with members of the crew
bent on celebrating. One night in Cuba I thoroughly enjoyed,
and that was the night Mr. Smith gave us a banquet. Smith
was superintendent at the terminal, and a fine fellow.
On Christmas Eve, I went to town with two of the Officers. I certainly
talked Spanish that night to get one of them out of some trouble
into which he had accidentally gotten himself. The Gulfport was
in port and it was a wild night. I went hunting about three times,
but didn't have any success. I became caterer of the Wardroom
mess on Jan. 1st. The food problem in Cuba was a real problem.
Something was always happening in Cuba. An English mate was killed,
an engineer of another ship hit his captain in the face with a
monkey wrench, a man fell overboard, Dixon had an encounter with
a Cuban, and a mob of Cubans came down one morning at about 2
o'clock to borrow a boat to chase some guy with. Fights were too
numerous to mention. On Jan. 9 I got the best view of Cuba which
I ever got, and that was over the stern of the Sialia when she
was leaving. That night we almost went aground. We arrived in
Key West on the morning of the 11th. No mail was waiting for me,
but it all came in a bunch in a few days. We saw our old friends
of the Hydrographer and the Tuscarora. Siems, Auld, and Duckworth
reported to the Hydrographer while we were in Key West. After
about two weeks we left for Norfolk with three chiefs aboard.
One was Morton, of the Wenonah, one was Locke, our regular engineer,
and the other was Fulcher, of the Lighthouse Service, who was
a prisoner aboard a German submarine for 45 days during the war.
We turned out of our course to look for a hydroplane which was
adrift. It was finally sighted, but another ship was standing
by, so we went our way. We had some pretty rough weather. The
bowsprit was loosened, some of its supports broken, some lumber
got adrift, and we were shaken up in general. It was practically
impossible to sleep in my room. The last day out we had some more
boiler trouble, and decided to put into Charleston. We were lost
on account of fog for awhile, but when it cleared up we got into
Charleston o.k. The next day we went to the Lighthouse Dock. I
saw the Paines several times. I also saw a good many Clemson boys.
Went riding with Parks. Bean and I did some tracing at the Army
Engineers' Office. We finally went to the Navy Yard, where the
transfer of the Sialia began. Capt. Maher left on the 24th of
February for the Wenonah. Lowrie, Mr. Locke, and I had orders
for the Surveyor. My orders were changed. I managed to get my
orders exchanged with Lowrie's, who didn't want to go to the West
Coast. I left the Sialia at about 12:20 A.M., March 3rd. Had quite
a time getting away. Had to hustle. Money was scarce , as Mr.
Bussell's check book hadn't come. I hated to leave Lowrie and
Bussell. I regard Bussell as a real friend. He is all man.
I slept in Charleston from about two a.m. to 5 a.m. Mar. 3rd.
I left Charleston on the 6 a.m. train for Clinton. Spent a day
and a half in Clinton, which I certainly enjoyed. Dad was there.
I managed to get a present to Granny. Left Clinton on the vestibule
March 4th, and got to Washington at 1 P.M. Mar. 5. Phoned out
home. Went to office. Came out into a blizzard. Met Mama and Mary
down town and went out home with them. Was delighted with the
home which I never had seen. Dad came before I left. Went to see
the Graves Sunday - Aunt Madge was at home. Was certainly sorry
to leave on the 6:10 Pennsylvania train Mar. 10th. Mama, Dad,
Mary, and Hazel saw me off.