I forgot to mention this about taking the Thala Dan into Wilkes. They were right behind us, and we had to back down for some ice, but they kept coming and the top of Thala Dan’s bow plowed into our flight deck and crumpled it. Out came the duty D.C.s.
27 February to 4 March 1969 Perth, Australia
Perth was nice and hot the day we pulled in. About 100 degrees. It was really welcome to me after being in all that ice for so long. I don‘t mind cold weather, matter of fact, I like it, that is, if I‘m in the swamps and marshes back home, not at the South Pole.
Perth is the nearest thing to the States so far as being a foreign country that I have seen in the 2-1/2 years I‘ve been on here. It wasn‘t some rinky-dink honcharican country like South America or even Wellington. It was a regular, civilized place.
I went shopping the first day and got the general layout of the place. I went to a place called London Court. It was a narrow street, filled with 17th Century shops. I reckon like London was supposed to have had. It was very quaint anyway.
Saturday, myself and 4 other guys went to the beach at Cottlesloe. They had a big shark come in a couple days before, but we didn‘t see it when we went. It was really nice just to lay on the beach and go swimming. The water seemed a little on the cold side, considering the atmospheric temperature. We stayed all afternoon and got good and burnt, then went back to the ship.
Sunday I went on a bus tour, myself and 32 other guys off the ship. We went to a park about 30 miles from the ship. It was country all the way. They do a lot of truck farming around here, at least on the way to the park. All the farms I saw had irrigation systems, because they can‘t rely on the rain.
The countryside reminded me of Texas with all the brush country and scrub woods. And kangaroos are suppose to be as thick as jack rabbits are in Texas, although I didn‘t see any.
We went to two caves at the park, like the Carlsbad Caverns, only much smaller. We had dinner in a restaurant and I found the answer to something I‘d been wondering about. And that is why most of the people are lean. Well, when our food came I found out. They don‘t eat anything. When I finished my dinner I was still starved, I don‘t see what keeps the people dying from starvation.
That afternoon we went to see the zoo - part of the park - the main attraction being the Koala Bears and Kangaroos. We even got to go in the cages with the bears and take close up pictures of them. On the way back we went through Perth, and saw all the sights from the bus windows.
The last day in Perth the duty section spent all day, and part of the night, cleaning out the anti-roll tanks so we could take on more water because the evaporator was all in pieces. Somebody forgot to fill the tanks, and it was discovered about an hour before we sailed. Rather than spend another 4 or 5 hours topping off the tanks we left, and for the next two weeks we ate off paper plates and couldn‘t take a shower, or have our clothes washed.