are the most friendly people I have ever met. Cigarettes and gasoline are very high priced and unplentiful, while labor is very inexpensive and plentiful. When the steamer arrived from Bombay, I was expecting the usual customs trouble, especially since I had all the radio gear. Surprisingly enough they didn't open a single package; they didn't even ask what the boxes contained. Harvey, VQ9HB met me at the dock as the ship arrived and asked me when I wanted to leave for the Aldabras. I, of course, replied, "yesterday."

Preparations For Aldabra

Even with a license and transportation, one very important point still remained, that of receiving permission from the owner of the island to land and operate. Without that all important letter of introduction to the island manager, landing permission is not obtainable even after you arrive. The owner of Aldabra, who is a business man in the Seychelles, was introduced to me. After many hours of talking, he gave me the all-important letter of introduction. This letter requested that I be their guest as long as I wanted to stay. After all these matters were attended to we were all set to go. As soon as the news got out that someone was going to the Aldabras we were given mail to deliver to a few of the lesser islands enroute.

Anchors Away

Usual island slowness began to crop up, but on the fourth day after my arrival, the Lua-Lua put to sea. There were three of us aboard; Ben, the owner of the boat, Harvey, and myself. The Lua-Lua is 35 feet long and has a beam of 10 feet. It was designed and built by the owner and I must say every inch of space is used. It sleeps three very comfortably and can sleep five in a pinch. It has an eating table, gasoline cooking stove, diesel engine and three sails. The pantry was loaded with food, the diesel tanks were filled with oil, 80 gallons of water was aboard and I had 52 gallons of high-test gasoline for the generator spread all over the deck. The gasoline, by the way, cost me one buck per gallon. The 75S-3 and 32S-1 were strapped to the eating table and the all-band (7-28 mc) vertical was mounted two feet from the sail mast. The feed line was only 5 feet long and should have been 52-ohm coax instead of the 72-ohm cable I had. This was probably the cause of the high s.w.r. It wouldn't load on 40 at all but certainly worked fine on 15 and 20 meters. Until the halfway point to Aldabra, I signed VQ9A/MM and from there VQ9AA/MM. Many contacts were made during the voyage and the schedule with Ack clicked every day. The arrival of a ship, any ship, is something the natives look forward to and is cause in Des Roaches of much jubilation. One such stop was an Island where we decided to spend the night in the lagoon aboard the Lua-Lua.

A Funny Thing Happened To Me ...

After staying up for the long path opening to the U. S. which was 4:00 AM local time, I intended sleeping on a small bunk at the rear of the boat. After lying down for a while and wondering about the 5-9 plus 20 db signal that signs W3CRA when all the others on the band are S7, I came to the conclusion that Frank must have the world's best QTH. When the band is dead he's always S7 and when the W-boys are S7 Frank is always over S9. This just isn't once in a while, it's an every day occurrence.

Just then I heard a sloshing noise about eight feet from my bunk. I opened my eyes and the moon was up. As I looked in the direction of the noise I saw a long, black, wet, shining, sort of thing which looked like a l-o-n-g elephant trunk entering the boat from the sea. I jumped up hollering bloody murder and some unprintable stuff too. Harvey and Ben came tearing out from below decks and one of them had a flashlight in his hand. He pointed it at the thing which seemed to be coming on board and Harvey quickly spotted it as an octopus. He grabbed the lifeboat paddle and started pounding on the tentacle to pry it loose. Finally, it dropped back into the lagoon.

Ben and Harvey went back to their bunks. I suppose to sleep. As for me, this time I went to another bunk, inside the boat It was a long time before I fell asleep, for it seemed every time the boat rocked, I heard that same sloshing noise. I still wonder what would have happened if that octopus' tentacle had reached around me. It was an eerie feeling, believe me, and I was beginning to wonder if Aldabra was really worth all the trouble.

Off Again To VQ9

The next morning bright and early we were again under sail for Aldabra. It was quite a sight to see Harvey's cat pounce on flying fish as they landed on deck. That cat of Harvey's was a real flying fish catcher. At each of our additional island stops we were given two or three cooked chickens when we departed. This was about the darndest chicken-eating DXpedition I ever heard of. After about three days of real smooth sailing

February, 1964 CQ 34

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