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Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World
Part Three: Asia

Thursday, October 25

Gwadur to Karachi "Bring several Planks ten feet." This brief order formed part of one of the radio messages sent to the Burmah-Shell Oil Company in Karachi yesterday, an unvarnished excuse for saving time after landing. The routine of arrival involves more than mere handshaking all around. Before going ashore we must invariably set the plane in order for tomorrow's flight, filling the fuel tanks, adding oil, washing down the cowlings and wind screens with gasoline, and every so often greasing the rocker box mechanism. This time the whole show had to be gone through, including a change of oil. In order to service a seaplane at anchor one must have a platform made of planks thrown across the pontoons. Had I known as much about seaplane handling last year, when I gave the refueling instructions to the Shell Company, I would have listed not only the amount of gasoline and oil necessary, but a certain amount of grease and the loan of these invaluable planks at each port. I forgot the grease and the planks.

The landing was easy enough but there was a very strong tide going out, so that one had to be alert in making the buoy. There was a strong wind from the west and the tide was running southward. I taxied in with reduced throttle and allowed for equal forces of the wind and the tide which brought us straight to the buoy. There were two power launches standing by to assist, but Bob had no trouble in hooking the ring along. Planks were soon in place and while Bob pulled down the cowling ring and uncovered the rocker boxes, I filled out the Carnet de Passage for the Customs fellows in their boat. It was all done with great dispatch and in a short two hours we were bound for the hotel. The Indian Secretary of the American Consul had stood by to assist, and there was a group of remarkably fine men from Burmah-Shell, one of whom (A.S.W. Humphreys) has just brought to the hotel the full list of fueling arrangements for every port around India as far as Rangoon. They are a little upset that I did not give them notice a week or two ahead, stating the exact time of arrival, but I think we did pretty well to predict it by 24 hours!

The Killarney Hotel was a welcome sight, and I have never been more happy at the prospect of a tub, but this has proved a forlorn hope. There has been a string of visitors: First, I must send off telegrams to the Burmah-Shell agents in Bombay, Calicut, Colombo, Madras, Cocanada, Calcutta and Rangoon, telling them (what to me are hypothetical) dates of arrival. Then a story for the fines of India reporter. Then a call from Mr. Riggs, the American Vice-Consul, who has made us feel very welcome in Karachi and, finally, a visit from the editor of one of the local newspapers, who wandered into our rooms without warning and has stayed until eleven, but has made a valuable evening of it with his storehouse of information about India - for this is really our introduction to the extraordinary country. His viewpoint is perhaps not the one generally held, because he is a "Social Economist", but we have put many questions to him about politics and the caste system, etc. Also he has given some new sidelights on the Melbourne Race, which is now finished. Scott and Black took first place in the speed race; the K.L.M. Douglas second place; and Turner and Pangborn in the Boeing came third. The Mollisons quit at Allahabad. Humphreys has produced some new magneto springs and we are going to push on to Bombay tomorrow.

We have put in the new magneto springs and the engine is running on both sides, so thank Heaven!

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