38th day (10 May 1917)

Some girls in a boat caused a diversion by coming alongside and taking letters from the men (lowered from the deck by means of puttees etc) until shooed off.  This is a magnificent Bay.  On my right is the great Table Mountain around whose base the town clusters.  In front, sandy beach from which a plane sweeps about 40 miles to a high ragged range of mountains (The Drachenbergs?)  To the left the beach runs on as far as the eye can follow, flanked by rolling hills dotted with farms.  These continue round to the outer horn of the bay, apparently 60 or 70 miles away, where the ocean makes up and completes the circle, save for a small low island about 5 or 6 miles out opposite the port which is I understand, a Leper sanatorium.  The sun is blazing and hot-looking clouds lie around the horizon and over the brow of the mountain and this is winter!

We are off!  Put out to sea with bands playing; one of a convoy of eight large steamers sailing in line about ¼ mile apart.  Table Mountain is shrinking in the distance and we feel again the familiar roll of the ocean.  Later the vessels lined up two and two, with the escorting ship (a converted cruiser) in the rear.

Night: The sea is highly phosphorescent, and the bow wave of the ship seems to be composed of scintillating diamonds.  From the luminous darkness an army of porpoises, careering like long-tailed comets through the sparkling water, have been rushing up to the bow, where they double on their tracks, piloting the ship for miles and providing the best pyrotechnic display I have ever seen.

Gunner Lincoln Lee [Now better identified as from The Hutt, looking eastwards, across the Hutt River.  Photo thus out of sequence!]

One thought on “38th day (10 May 1917)”

  1. The leper colony island was of course the infamous Robben Island, used as a political and criminal prison from 1961-1996.


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