Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

19 February 2012

Our 1960 Journey to A New Life in New Zealand. 8.

This is a diary from 1960. The actual entries are in typewriter font. Added comments are in red. The photographs are from that date, some in colour (expensive in those days).

23rd January

Awoke at 0700 and went on deck. Just arrived at the Great Bitter Lakes where we dropped anchor to let the north bound convoy pass. We are in company with about 15 other ships. We waited until 1600 before weighing anchor and setting off down the final stretch of the canal in darkness, and as we have now passed into the Gulf of Suez we haven’t seen the canal proper at all - disappointing.

[Although one impression stayed in my mind; that of a lone fisherman in a small boat on the lakes, casting a net through the air, silhouetted against the gold glow of the setting sun.]

24 January

Now in the Red Sea. Very hot. A little sunbathing (20 mins. each side!) Passed Daedalus Reef at sundown. It is called so because a RN ship of that name went aground there, it now has a light on it.

25th January

Still in the Red Sea. We saw our first flying fish today, they are about 8” [20cm] long and bluish in colour; also saw a porpoise. Sun very hot, otherwise day was uneventful.

[This bald entry belies our delight at seeing the flying fish. They flew away from the ship’s side at right angles and would flap and glide close to the surface for quite long distances - perhaps up to ten metres. It also fails to mention another Dutch royal birthday for which we received, inter alia, a complimentary bottle of red wine served at Red Sea room temperature; there are times when it’s quite legitimate to cool red wines!]


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By Don Donovan