the hook came out, but I grabbed him before he got away. He was about 15-inches long and 3 to 4 pounds. I don‘t know what kind it was, but it sure tasted good.
While we were at Heard Island we had to fill our water tanks because they were just about empty. We found a waterfall, and dammed it up and used a P-250 fire pump to pump the water in rubber lifeboats. The lifeboats were then towed to the ship and the water was pumped into the water tanks. It was a slow process, but we got our water.
The progress of the station continued, and our departure date was March 17th. This station is only going to be used for a year then everything torn down and hauled away.
There were a lot of injuries during the time we were at Heard Island. The worst one was suffered by our Damage Control Officer, LTJG Heavilin. It was on the last day, and the water was rough so that the men had to be hoisted on the ship out of the small boats by a harness. Mr. Heavilin had just begun to be raised up when a swell came up and raised the small boat and Mr. Heavilin got caught between the small boat and ship. He suffered a severe dislocated left hip, but he‘s well on his way to recovery thanks to our Public Health Service physician, Lt. Tarrant. I reckon Mr. Heavilin will be flown back to the states when we get to Mauritius, but what a way to go.
About the second or third day we received a message from the Thala Dan saying she was in trouble again trying to resupply the French Station Dumont d‘Urville. We were all tensed up about this because if we had to, it would put us back in the states around June 1st, and we were the only icebreaker left that hadn‘t gone home. So we waited and cursed the French and cursed the Australians. The part that gets me the most is that the Captain sent a message to the Commandant saying we were ready to go. Everything in engineering was in top shape and we had plenty of fuel and water. Everything in engineering wasn‘t in top shape. We only had 5 engines, the evaporator wasn‘t working and we had enough fuel to get down there, but not enough to get back. As for the water, nobody had taken a shower since we left Perth, and no clothes had been washed.
We left Heard Island on the night of the 17th. Since we had filled some of our water tanks a Hollywood Shower was to be had before we left. We set our course for Mauritius, not knowing if we would get there, or be called to help the Thala Dan.
17 March to 25 March 1969 Heard Island to Mauritius
It was rough as usual at sea, and we all stood by for heavy rolls. That night, Ray Soler, an FNDC was thrown right out of his rack on his face when the ship took a heavy roll. In a way it was comical. I remember hearing him yell, and then a big thud. He‘s one of those Maine lobstermen, and weighs 240 so I don‘t reckon it was a soft landing.
The next day we got the message we‘d all been waiting for. The Thala Dan didn‘t need us after all because her sister ship the Nella Dan was going to her assistance. There was a big sigh of relief all over the ship and morale rose again.
The weather started getting warmer, and so did the Engine Room. Three days out of Mauritius it was about 125 degrees in my Engine Room, B-3. B-2 was not running because they blew a hole in a piston, and B-1 was barely running. They tried to take our engines off the line so we could do a