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Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World
Part One: The Atlantic Ocean

Thursday, August 30 - Waiting for Takeoff

Julienhaar to Angmagssalik We spend some time aboard the sailing ship this morning before going to the plane. There were many Eskimos about and they are certainly fine swarthly fellows; patient, pleasant, intelligent, and exhibiting good manners. Fifty years ago it was not known that any human beings lived on the east coast; then this hidden harbor was discovered with its aboriginal cannibal tribe - about 500 Eskimos in all. In a very brief interval they have been brought to understand civilization. Other colonies have been set up at Scoresby Sound, and it is now planned that 100 of them shall soon settle in some spot near Cape Mosting.

An Eskimo came alongside the "Pourquoi Pas?" in his kayak - (They are the best kayak men in the world here) and just sat there watching. Dr. Charcot sent down a pipe, and the native grinned and took it, and immediately reached into his pocket and pulled out a sealskin tobacco pouch in return.

In the middle of the morning we saw Mr. Rossow, who is a splendid man. Keen blue eyes, gray hair, dressed for his work with the natives. Married to an Eskimo, he has five children, the oldest one now being educated in Denmark. He was a little put out by my not coming to see him the night before (knew I should have done, but it was not possible to return from the "Pourquai Pas?" after dark) but he soon warmed up and we conversed, with one of Charcot's men for interpreter. He signed and stamped all of my papers, and the mail.

No answer had come from the Greenland Administration authorizing the release of fuel, but Mr. Rossow offered to let us put it aboard in anticipation of the message. Bob went to the radio shack to wait for it, while I gassed up to 60-60-25-35. We were still waiting at lunch time, and about 2 o'clock began preparing for the take off. If we were to leave at all today we must go before three.

We taxied into position at the far end of the fjord, where ice was scarcest, and at 2:45 I decided to take off, in order to attract the attention of OZL who did not answer our radio calls. Once in the air (and were we glad to get into the air without striking a berg!) he called quickly, and the messages tell the story -- we circled for 20 minutes or so till the message was run down the hill to the governor, who, seeing us ready to go, but still circling close and, not trying to leave without his word, said "go!" -- And we struck out. It was too late; we had waited all day for the telegram, and with tail winds could have got through before dark. -- But on meeting a wild N.E. gale of 43-50 mph. we gave up; and as it turned out next day, we would have reached Iceland an hour or two after dark had we continued. That flight was a real experience, although of only two hours -- we left the gorgeous mountains of the coast on our left as we plunged under low clouds, 400' above an angry sea which was piling over even the large bergs. Our drift was terrific, 30° to 35°, the limit of the instrument, even though we did up to 125 mph. And the air very rough. It seemed a long time we continued eastward before returning; actually about 90 miles, and yet when we got back we were exactly on the course to Angmagsslik. -- It was very cheering, for we relied only on the magnetic compass and the drift meter, and the compass was banging about a good deal, so that it was possible to set the gyro only on rare smooth spots. What a perfect combination it is, the gyro compass and the big card compass.

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