Wednesday, June 9, 2010

South Pacific Survey 30th June 1951

Up bright and early this morning and it is a big day for Samoa being Sunday. On the way out the fires were already lit cooking food for Sunday's feast and the smoke hung heavily amongst the coconut palms. The first car ran over a pig, which lay bleeding on the road.

We loaded the "loot" up with the baggage and thus set off to lift it out only some 1686lbs over loaded but fuel is of prime importance on this trip and in event of any difficulty at Papeete I want to be able to fly to Aitutaki with a safe margin of fuel to do so. Arrived with approx 400 gals giving 6 hours range, this being 4.05 to Aitutaki + 2 hours reserve.

We flew around the coast to the east, then over PagoPago to have a look. My impression is that it could be operated if necessary.

We flew on to Palmerston Atoll, a circular reef with about four small islands which could be inhabited. It is said that a family of Masters who were ship wrecked there in the 18th century live there and that the old English language is still spoken there.

A Mr J. Kensington, an American colonel of the last great war living in Aitutaki is married to one of these women who I suppose are coloured, or half caste. She is, or was, a Mrs Masters. When the island, (ie Palmerston) population of Masters increased beyond a certain number, the old Master tells certain of his family to go, and not come back. This must be hard, but necessary as the islands will only support so many, and no more.

After a good look at the Island we had to clear off to Aitutaki to arrive before dark by an hour. The reason was that navigating the boat channel in the dark was dangerous because of the coral heads.

We arrived over Aitutaki and wasted no time in landing for the above reason, and moored without incident. Then commenced the long plod up the harbour or lagoon and we just made it in the rapidly gathering dusk.

This place is indeed out in the sea with little of enough of it above sea level. The highest point being approx 400 feet. Had a meal in the Public Works Mess and met a few people and went to bed as we have to be up early in the morning to get to Papeete. They say this place is infested with rats, and dont care awfully much for the idea.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

South Pacific Survey 29th June 1951

The morning spent in purchasing stores for the aircraft and getting things ready to go.

Laundry back, letters to write and a host of things to do. My suitcases seem to have shrunk for some reason or another.

Advised TEAL if they were considering relieving us, that Aitutaki would be the best place to do so, not Tahiti, because of no air connection. This will not meet with general approval of the relief crews but just cannot see any other way out.

We are looking forward to our mail from Aitutaki and NAC have promised to do their best. Too much work and writing to be done-have to close this down.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

South Pacific Survey 28th June 1951

Now that Ian Scott has joined the party, it was decided that the project at Satapuala Bay would be abandoned temporarily and the aircraft be loaded to take off for Tahiti via Aitutaki. This we are in favour of as it means everything will be speeded up and of course more interesting.
We seem to have plenty of "VOLUNTEERS" for the flight, so Tahiti must be interesting.

I spent a lot of the morning in town arranging for fuel, and getting my ship's papers in order for Tahiti and clearing Samoa generally.

Refuelled in the afternoon and loaded the aircraft ready for an early start in the morning, ie Sunday. Then went back to Aggies for a rest.

Had an invite around to Mr Jack Knight's for supper and had hoped to listen to the broadcast which we made on Tuesday night, but we talked instead. The other members of the party said it was fair enough, and so that is not so bad, but will probably get the cane from Tasman anyway.