The Tropics

The island of Oahu looking north.

We flew in to drop off the mail.

After the first week underway the weather was getting warmer, and that could only mean The Tropics. On the night of December 10th we could see the lights of Honolulu in the distance, and could smell the palm trees.

The next day we grabbed the mail and flew it into Barber's Point. The gusty wind made the approach interesting. The airfield itself is an old military installation, so we felt right at home for the few minutes we were there.

The time honored tradition of crossing the line was observed after passing "The X", where the international date line and the equator come together.

While still in the tropics, we were able to get in a swim call. The ship's boat crew stood watch for sharks while some of the crew got wet. The only damper on the fun was caused by some stinging jellyfish that happened by. Some of the swimmers got a few small stings.

Another highlight of the tropics were the many natural attractions. We saw deserted islands, volcanic eruptions, beautiful sunsets, and even a solar eclipse. The only place you could experience these was from a ship passing through the tropics, and we were there!

The Cutter small boat guarding the swimmers.

This is how you get air if you're not in the AVDET.

Don't jump on your shipmates - it saves paperwork.

A volcanic eruption on a South Pacific island.

The eclipse projected through binoculars onto a bulkhead.

And seen through welding glasses.
Overall the tropics were a nice change from the rough and tumble North Pacific. The waves are free of the coriolis influence, and the normal high pressure keeps the sea relatively calm. There were a few blustery days, but when the average temperature for December is pushing 30 degrees (90F), who can complain?

We were not destined to have a white Christmas, but we sure had a warm one.

A Typical Sunset in the tropics.

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Page posted 01/01/2002