Aboard Pong Tong

Tuesday, August 27, 1929

Another perfect day—hardly a cloud over a smooth deep blue sea. The sun didn’t lose much time however. The S.W. monsoon has evidently broken and now there is a fine breeze from the N.

Due to the ancient engines and some poor coal, we shall not make Hongkong till Thursday night. This morning we still had about 537 miles to go—and we are seldom making over an average of 9½ knows an hour. The Chief says we burn 23 tons of coal a day in the two boilers. It isn’t too blamed hot down in the engine room—98°.

Divided my time this afternoon between La Revue de France and the skipper’s cat, mascot, and pride and joy—affectionately called “you goddam bloody cat.” If I were the cat I wouldn’t swell up with pride at the title for it is not of special distinction. I know of any number of English tommies and sailors who know all types of bloody blighters, ships and everything else with all the trimmings fore and aft.

Night OK—full of stars and heat lightning. We are coming up to some reefs now that the skipper pointed out to me on the map today. There are lots of them and some lie a foot above water while others lie a few feet under. There are many boats which have met their doom there. Capt. says you can see some perched on the reefs just as if they were floating and OK—but are only abandoned wrecks. We pass the northern reef about 4 AM.

There are one or two ants aboard this tub—one or two per square inch. And now having given orders not to bother me with tiffin tea on an empty stomach in the morning, and having stowed away my 5th cup of coffee for today, I shall try sleeping for a change as it must be nearly six bells.

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