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Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World
Part Four: North America

Wednesday, January 16

Guaymas to Mazatlan Up before daybreak and down to the shore in pitchy darkness. The Southern Cross is visible just above the horizon. It is the first time that either of us have seen it. I wonder how we happened to miss it in such places as, say, Bali? The most avid flier could not ask for an earlier start than this!

The nicest part of Mexico is its people, but next stands the stirring geography. A flight across Mexico is a pleasure which never palls, and today's run happily added a long interesting section of the Pacific Coast, which seldom has been seen from an airplane.

The take off from Mazatlan was made so early that I pointed the ship directly to the approaching dawn in order to have a silhouetted peak for a line guide. We were well on our way when the sun rose sleepily out of the mountains, but soon afterward ran into dense fog, although Bob seems not to have noticed it because of his attention to radio work. The cloud layer was low lying, and I put on dark glasses and climbed above it, hoping that it would not last too long. It opened up when we took departure for Cape Corrientes. The transmitter burned out a condenser at this point, but Bob, in his reliable way, soon traced the circuit to the defective unit and removed it, so that communication was interrupted for only about ten minutes. A little later he yelped gleefully, that Rodimon, back in Connecticut, had sent us a greeting from WISZ, and that his reply actually reached him! Who ever said that aircraft radio transmitters were limited to 500 miles?

The whole distance, we looked down upon white, hard beaches which terminated the narrow riviera, guarded by unostentatious mountains draped in soft green foilage. Once in a while there were rocky promentories, and these were useful guides to distance made good. Had we been a land plane, the path would have been over the gorge of the Santiago to Guadalajara; from Guadalajara across lovely Lake Chapala; and then lengthwise along the ridges of Michoacan and Guerrero to Acapulco. As it is, we have crossed six Mexican states today.

The gasoline question was baffling. In San Francisco the Standard Oil Company stated that 100 gallons is available at Manzanillo, but the situation at Acapulco was unknown. Little could we have guessed that there is an airport here, with daily service to Mexico City, and another company operating three times a week to San Geronimo, Oaxaca and intermediate points.

Acapulco is the best harbor on the west coast of Mexico. It is a deep semi circular bay, almost land-locked, easy of access, and with so secure an anchorage that vessels can safely lie alongside the rocks that fringe the shore. As it came in view, I thought that I had never seen so beautiful a harbor, and immediately put Bob to work with the camera. If only it could record colors! We landed close by the town, and while one could tell from the pitch of the surrounding hills that the harbor must be deep, we were hardly prepared to discover that a hundred feet of line would not so much as touch bottom. I started the engine again and went in very close to shore while Bob put on extra rope. This time the anchor caught, and held like the foundations of the Hoover Dam . . . The better part of the afternoon has been spent in the signing of papers, customs inspection, and in a final direct attempt to give us clear sailing as regards our personal identity. The Immigration Officer is a most intelligent fellow and has telegraphed details of the circumstances to Mexico City, and in addition has provided us with a freeboard for Carmen . . . If we had any sense at all we would stay in this paradise spot for a week or two! The town occupies a tongue of land which forms one side of the harbor, and a mile or two along the curving beach lies a small airport. Near this, in a cocoanut grove, in a camp, a number of bungalows which cater to the holiday travelers from Mexico and the plateau district. We have made a rapid friendship with Cloyd Clevenger and his wife, Leslie Dunkley and his bride Amalia, and some others who whisked us off to the refreshing coolness of this camp. Clevenger owns and flies a fleet of trimotors; he is a veteran flier, one of the oldest of the original group, in point of years and hours, and is well known in the United States. Dunkley is also a flier, and has just left the employ of Juan de los Pistoles (who is known to everyone who has ever flown in Mexico!) to enjoy a wedding trip.

Midnight. A most extraordinary coincidence took place this evening. We were driving through the town and up the hill to catch a glimpse of the ocean, when I noticed that we were following a car which had not only a Massachusetts license, but a green doctor's cross as well. When we stopped at the end of the road, I walked forward in darkness to learn who this might be and found that it was none other than John Fallon, a friend and surgeon from Worcester. With considerable courage, he had started off with his bride on an automobile tour of Mexico, and the adventures they have related make our own excursion seem pale by contrast. We all came back together and went for a swim in the warm bay. It looks as though this will have to be called "Honeymoon Bay"!

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