Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World
Tuesday, August 28
After landing we taxied up to a large iron buoy and Bob stood on the float with the board hook ready to pick up the mooring. As he hooked the ring there was a noisy "boom" from the shore followed by two other reports - a cannon salute to the foreigners! A boat came along side, bearing Mr. Dan Ibaek, who invited us to go ashore and meet the Governor of the colony. Several hundred natives packed the landing stage, and as we pushed our way among them, Mrs. and Mr. Thane came up. (Mr. T. is mgr. of the radio system here).
Then to the home of Mr. Isben, our host, a fine man, with a jolly wife. Both of good Danish family: have returned to D. only 3 times, however, since coming out 33 years ago. Their house is a treasure of books, and there are some fine oils on the walls of a dark-furnitured library. We were seated (felt ashamed in our workclothes in there) and treated to some delicious port, and cigars and cigarettes. It was about 10:00 a.m. their time. Mr. Ibsen does not speak English but Mr. Ibaek interpreted, and we had a good chat about our experiences, about the Lindberghs' visit, the Hutchinsons (only we said little of them!) They asked why hadn't we come a month earlier, in the good weather? Aye, why?
Then up to this perfect little guest room in the attic; built first for Anne and Charlie when they came here last year. So high under the roof that the beds are recessed into the blue walls. We bathed like birds, and then down to lunch. The dining and coffee rooms carried out the rest of the house well; carved chairbacks, walls thickly covered with pictures and momentos.
Lunch began with "ham and eggs, for the Americans!" and black and brown bread. Then salad (with cream dressing), and various hors d'oevres! (They keep a cow, and the village has chickens). There was beer with luncheon, followed by aqua vitae (snaps) and we skolled all around. There was a verse on the decanter:
"Pure as a virgin,
Or something like that, in Danish. Anyhow we donned our old clothes and went back to the ship in fine fetter.
Bob tackled the radio, and located the trouble again, in a filter condenser across the D.C. voltage, which is supposed to be 500 volts. I suggested that there might be a short circuit across the chock coil, which would also allow a large inductive voltage to build up between the generator and condensers, burning out the C1, which was rated at 1000 v. Bob said it didn't work that way, and anyway the darned choke coil was inaccessible, so he took the whole transmitter up to the radio shack, and they gave us a 2500 v 2 mf. Condenser which seemed perfectly satisfactory. Whatever defect burned out the condenser may still be there, but the margin of safety is now greater. He was busy right up to supper time with this. Meanwhile I went to the gassing job, with Mr. Ibaek, who secured the help of 4 or 5 natives. 4 drums were brought out in a barge which we tied also to the buoy, bringing the hose over the ship's stern. This kept the two from bumping. Luckily, Lindbergh's crowd left a hose and pump at every gas cache, so it went easily. Filled to 75 gal. Each float (Wings 120, Floats 150, total 270) or 30 more than we got off with at Cartwright, plus a reserve supply of oil. Then I laid planks across the bow and took off the Townsend ring, removed the front spark plugs, all the rocker box covers, and checked the valve clearances all around, adjusting a few. The top boxes were dry, so those were greased. Greased all rockerarms and the prop. When it was finished and back together 6:30 had come - dinner hour, and I knew that a day's work had gone! Worked alone, Bob being engaged with a soldering iron up at the hill. Maybe the work was wasted, but I had thought there was a motor knock at idling speeds, and I wanted to be certain.
Dinner excellent, with a beef or fish suet, and a rhubarb wine grown and fermented here, too sweet; it was follwed by a Danish wine, much better. Coffee and chartreuse in the drawing room.
We had good discussions at the coffee table; Mr. Ibaek translated readily, and Mrs. Isben has a good command of English. The subjects ranged through many people: Knud Rasmussen, the godfather of the Eskimos, whose pictures in life and in death adorn the walls of the living room; Mr. Isben's father, who was a physician in the west Greenland coast (Mr. Isben was born in Gotthaab) and practiced along the whole coast in a rowboat; Rockwell Kent, now at Umanak the two local doctors, with a Danish nurse and several native nurses who run the Julianehaab 80 bed hospital; the Lindberghs' preference for the quiet life, and refusing to attend a colony dinner. Amusing, much of it, because animated and full of jokes.
At 9 I excused myself, first having brought ashore the ship's papers for examination and signing and stamping. My old passport, which suffered badly when a small bottle of medicine broke in my suitcase, has a perfect map of Greenland stained on every page - so it was signed at the proper position for Julianehaab!
To the radio shack, to set watches against the chromometer, and to pay a belated call on Mrs. Thane, wife of the radio mgr. She had sent a note during luncheon. I declined dinner, and suggested tea, and then got held up with the motor, so was in very bad grace. Could not see how it mattered much, though. Met "Albrectson" of von Gronau log fame, who was then at Gotthaab. Mr. Thane a solid fellow, 20 years on American ships. It was he who kept us so well connected and oriented by radio, standing continuous watch after our transmitter failed. They had each of our positions (DR) charted as they were sent; amazing as I look back on it, that we should actually have been so close to those points!
From the radio shack I sent two messages:
-- the latter is intended to secure for us more gas from the large P.A.A. stock, if we go through with our plans to photograph the east coast in double serial obliques. This depends on perfect weather.
To bed at 11, bushed!