Aboard Pong Tong — Hongkong, China

Thursday, August 29, 1929

Another fine day with the strong headwind. About noon we sighted land and by three we were nearly up to the many islands lying outside Hongkong. The scene is a pretty one for the coast is mountainous as well as the islands. The sea was flecked with quaint old Chinese junks and fishing boats with tall sails, full before the wind.

These islands are very scenic, rising out of the blue sea often to great heights—mostly rocky and precipitous—some partly covered with green. Near one of these islands the Pong Tong‘s sister ship came to doom on July 14. Guess the skipper didn’t know where his ship was going. His amazing course finally piled him up on a reef where the ship now is. Through the glasses we could see the mast and funnel protruding above the water.

Looking through the glasses I saw that part of Hongkong on top of the hill or mountain long before dark. After dinner we cut in to the bay on our left and before we were near the harbor it was dark. A pretty sight, Hongkong at night from the water. There are the lights of Kowloon—a long, low line. To the right is a break, then the massed lights of Hongkong’s business section across the bay. You can make out the individual buildings, well lit up as if for pure show. The lights thin toward the right to be broken twice by more brilliant areas extending up the hill-side. The steep slopes are thickly dotted with yellow points of light and all is crowned by a row of lights from some road circling the peak far above.

We dropped anchor at eight in the quarantine section outside the harbor. There is a plague of dysentery, cholera, or something other in Saigon and we are carrying deck and 2nd class passengers. Before the anchor was down, three small passenger motorboats were out here with the Chinamen shouting for passengers. But no one could leave the ship. When these went away, a junk and motorboat full of Chinese prostitutes came out to do business, but I guess none was to be had at the present time. The bos’n said the price was $3 or $4. They are gone now and things have all settled down in harmony with the peaceful scene ashore. Will be hot tonight in spite of Noah the fan.

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