Wednesday, December 19, 2007

24 October 1944

This morning when we went on deck land was sighted off the starboard bow. It was the island of New Caledonia and we prepared to put in to the port of Noumea. We had the first feeling of excitement and anticipation since leaving SF. Navy planes flew over the ship on patrol. The harbor at Noumea is protected by a large coral reef to the south. It is marked by a small lighthouse. Just inside the reef is a small island with a large lighthouse flying the French tricolor. We passed a minesweeper in the channel and a launch brought the Port Inspector aboard. About 10:00 AM we dropped anchor in the harbor. The afternoon was spent transporting troops which were disembarking here. Also some Red Cross workers, army nurses, Royal New Zealand Air Force men and sailors. We will not leave the ship here. Do not know how long we will remain here, but as there seems to be considerable cargo we will probably he hare for a couple of days. Both passengers and cargo must be transported to shore on huge power driven rafts or barges. The coast of New Caledonia at this point is quite similar to Northern California. Mountainous and hilly with lots of green foliage, but no palms or other tropical vegetation. The water is a brilliant green instead of the deep blue so predominant on the ocean. Some of the crew tried fishing off the stern of the ship without noticeable success.

This evening there was no blackout for the first time. Loudspeakers were rigged out on the starboard side of A deck promenade and they danced until 10*. Heard we are loading some troops tomorrow and leaving about 2:00 PM.

* Presumably, the WACs and nurses were still aboard.

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