Monday 5 September
0740 Russian pilot aboard. No more pictures allowed until arrival Murmansk. Two Russian ‗liaison‘ officers aboard who will be aboard almost all of the time, 0900-2400. We must station a few guards, without guns, at the gangway. Manned the rail and passed a Russian naval and seaplane base on the way in the channel. There were burlap screens erected to prevent us from seeing their submarines. We had to wear our uniforms on liberty.
1050 Arrived Murmansk. Very quiet city; lots of people on the dock. Docked at coal pier just forward of a ship from London.
1400 Departed on a bus tour of the city. Only 34 of us went in two buses; the Russians expected five busloads. The city is mostly old apartment buildings and many outlying slums. There was no restriction on taking pictures/movies in town. Toured a museum. A young student approached us in the museum and was very inquisitive about our activities here. He seemed very interested in us and said he was happy to be talking to Americans. During evening chow, Bob Glynn said he was walking along a street this afternoon when a drunk guy approached him and said in broken English that he had been to America and was glad to see Americans here. He wanted to shake Bob‘s hand and then a policeman came along and pulled him away from Bob. Bob said he‘s convinced that the Russian people are friendly, but that they live in a police state.
1900 Went by bus to the Seaman‘s Club party. Saw movies on Russian life, collected some free propaganda books, enjoyed the dance band and master of ceremonies. Had a sing-along and there was much camaraderie evident. The girls, mostly good looking, were mostly from the local institute where they are studying English. Some of them spoke very well; others not. Talked to Irina Sergoya, one of our lady tour interpreters from this afternoon. She was very nice and friendly and enjoyed the opportunity to practice her English. I was talking to a girl through an interpreter and asked him to tell her that she should come down to see our ship tomorrow afternoon if she wanted to. He said she couldn‘t because ‗she didn‘t have enough certificates.‘ He said many people wanted to see the ship, but they could only let a certain number come in organized groups. Bob Gravino said that this afternoon the Russian liaison officer asked him if the ship was ready for open house. Bob said yes, the Russian made a phone call, and five minutes later a group of about 100 people came marching down the dock. I wonder if they volunteered. I was talking with an Army Lt. Col. up from Moscow for our visit. He said that all of these activities were arranged especially for us and it was a very special occasion to have an American ship here. He said that when a Russian wants to buy a car, he pays for it, gets on a list, and then gets delivery about three years later. There are only two types of cars made in Russia and one costs about $2,500.00.
2300 Returned to Southwind.
Sunday, 6 September
1110 Went on a walking tour of the town with some shipmates. Looked in shop windows. Shopped in souvenir store and bakery. Took pictures. Several kids approached us for chewing gum. Some other guys were approached for American dollars. The Russians were offering up to 10 Rubles for one dollar. One Ruble equals about $1.05.
1430 Returned to Southwind.
1900 Departed for party at House of Culture. Same type of affair as last night. Lots of girls there; some with the same dresses they had on the night before. Some of the girls were dancing together and holding hands; not too unusual, but some of the Russian guys were doing it too! Watched movie of a Russian singer performing. Left at 2100 and went to a hotel bar. When we first walked in, they thought we wanted to use the head, but we finally conveyed that we wanted a table. We got that; the next problem was how to order. We were pondering that when a guy at the next table said hello to us in Russian. Since we didn‘t speak Russian, we finally found German as a common language. He ordered for us. He was a seaman who was leaving the next day for