the ocean got rough. Harvey told me this was due to the Mozambique and Madagascar ocean currents as well as the gradual build-up of the monsoon winds. We did some fishing and caught a few big ones, I guess 35 to 60 pounds. We would hook a pretty big one and then, wham-bang, the line was ripped apart by one of the many sharks which were our constant companions. At one of the islands, I think it was Alphonse, I was shown exactly how a Copra plantation was run. This is a story within itself and I hope to describe it in a book I'm going to write when this DXpedition is completed. The swells at this point were running about 10 to 15 feet. The boat and its passengers took a beating on those last few days and it was a good thing the Collins equipment was strapped down on the eating table. It was also good that I had a small, transistorized bug that Ed, W3KVQ, built especially for this trip. A regular mechanical bug would have been utterly useless with the boat pitching and tossing as it was. My c.w. would have been a mess and it is enough of a mess as it is now. I soon learned to go along with the pitching and tossing of the boat. I really became part of the boat and this is quite hard in itself. You fellows sitting back in the States in fancy office chairs in your air conditioned apartments could not possibly picture me on that boat operating under those trying conditions. An enjoyable sight was Harvey and Ben With their sextants trying to shoot a star on that tossing and pitching boat. First they would assume our position by dead reckoning which was by a water-speed meter and estimates of currents and winds. Then they would prove to themselves, with their sextants, that they were right. Many times they proved that we were in the middle Atlantic or the South Pacific. All they could do was to take a new shot and do a lot of calculating until each of them came up with the same answer. All this time I was listening to WWV or H and calling out the exact time. The exact time of each spot is just as important as the sextant shot. A second or two of time means miles and miles. All of this was quite interesting to me. The islands around Aldabra can only be seen five to seven miles away even in the daytime. A mistake of a few miles means that you may completely miss an island and brother, it might mean it's another story. You can very easily get shipwrecked on the coral reefs around the islands. You always plan to arrive at the island in the daytime. I said you plan to do this but it is dark 50% of the time and we arrived at some of these islands at night. We saw quite a few remains of wrecked ships. As I have said earlier, departing time came, and by now the Southeast Monsoon had started. We had a devil of a time getting the equipment from the island into the Lua-Lua. The boat was anchored about 600 feet from Aldabra, well beyond the 'reef. In deep water the swells were about 10 feet and each wave was breaking with a white cap. Can you imagine trying to transfer equipment from a twelve foot native boat and putting it aboard the Lua-Lua under these conditions while at the same time keeping it dry? I thought it was absolutely impossible but we managed to do it.

And Now, Back "Home"

At last we were on our way back to Mahe in the Seychelles. Aldabra and VQ9AA were now ancient ham history. I thought coming down was a rough trip but that was a Sunday afternoon outing compared to the return trip. When we were a few miles from Aldabra the seas really began to get mean. The first wave completely washed over the boat and I mean completely. It hit from stem to stern and dumped about five gallons of sea water right smack on the radio equipment. For the next eight days everything in the boat, including us, got completely and thoroughly soaked. There was no chance of drying out the equipment. My Collins gear was completely soused. Those waves were 25 to 35 feet high and we were in a 35 foot boat. We were almost in a vertical position at times. Sometimes the wind velocity would be as high as 40 to 50 m.p.h. A terrible time was had by all. This was a most trying experience. I did not have time to worry; I was too busy trying to stay put. After eight days, we finally saw VQ9 in the distance. What a relief that was. The return trip had been very trying on everyone and we were extremely glad to know it was over. It took me five days and nights and one gallon of carbon tet to get all the sea water and salt from the radio gear. Now you can see why I have predicted that it will be a long time before anyone operates an Aldabra station again. In closing, I would like to personally thank everyone who has made this "round the World" DXpedition possible. The list is much too long to mention them all. No. 1 - I would like to thank my wife, Peggy, for being so nice and letting me go. Boys, this proves that you must train them early, hi. No. 2 - I would like to thank Ack for the 1000 or more things he has done and is still doing. I am sure he will be cussing me before the QSLs for those 7280 QSOs are sent out. No. 3 - I would like to thank Collins for the fine equipment. At future stops, please, no more than one QSO per band per mode and please remember that I have no place in my log for names, QTHS, power, etc. All I want is a signal report and please QRQ. I could go on and on thanking all who made this trip possible. You all know what you did so I would like to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my Coca-Cola drinking heart.

February, 1964 CQ 35

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