Had a sleepless night. Couldn’t nod until 12:40 and then awoke at three after half waking a dozen times. When I went on watch at four we were hove to, so I finally got two hours sleep. With Nora’s advice I trimmed my cookie-duster this morning.
At Apamama, Arthur came aboard with some flowers which he wanted to put in his glass. Exy said “Don’t put them in your glass, you might want to drink out of it. Put them in Nora’s glass. That’s Exy’s policy every time.
Went ashore at Taiawa this afternoon. We came through the reef just before noon and anchored near a BP (British Petroleum) steamer.
The BP store is the company’s headquarters for these islands, and it sells everything you could want. Beer for 2s,1d. Oakes and I were invited to supper by George and Morgan, the radio operator. A Mrs English, wife of one of the BP men, is originally from Baltimore but I didn’t meet her.
The natives here are paid two pound, six shillings for a ton of copra – a ridiculously low price. It seems that the copra trade is definitely on the way out, what with glycerine able to be made without it and no new market opening up. BP is hanging on to a dead horse and won’t admit it. The best thing for them to do would be to start growing some other commodity like tobacco, which can be grown very well and yields the finest grade. The coconut trees would have to be cut down, but then the natives could make money and buy their food and still have many times more than they get now.
I think that the Skipper is a damned fool for not admitting that this trip is up a tree because of the war.·He should ask us what we would like to do. An interesting trip would be through the Magellan Straits, but I would leave anyway. I am anxious to find out what will happen when Skipper learns about my plans. Hell will probably break loose, but I give a damn. I have made up my mind to leave at Port Moresby if Mother can’t meet me in Bali and that’s what I’m going to do. If Mac and I do leave at Port Moresby, we plan to buy a secondhand car in Frisco and drive leisurely home – and I mean leisurely.
Skipper doesn’t realize that we are checked upon by radio every day and one false move spells his doom.He is either blind or dumb about the grousing going on around the Yankee now. If he is blind, then he is stupid for not seeing that by various remarks made every day there is a great deal of discontentment on board. If he does see it, then he is dumb for not trying to rectify the situation. He will evidently go to any extreme to go through with the world cruise, even at our expense. I’m paying four dollars a day and also doing the galley work and helping the sailing. The others help sail and pay six bucks every twenty-four hours. When I think of where l could go, and see and do on a comfortable liner, it makes me mad.
The BP boat in here is the Moa Moa, 400 tons. Two years old, she is one of a fleet of five similar new boats.