“O WHAT A LIFE”

Con­tin­u­a­tion of ex­cerpts from the di­ary of John Bar­clay MAYON on his 1939 visit to his 80 year old mother for the first time since they em­i­grated from Liver­pool UK in 1910, he to Syd­ney and his mother to Van­cou­ver BC.

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Memories With Ivor Jones & Friends -

My stay in Van­cou­ver came to an end on Au­gust 30 when I set sail again – headed for Aus­tralia aboard the SS Ao­rangi af­ter the sad­dest part of my trip, hav­ing the say Good­bye to my 80 year old mother know­ing I would not see her again – but worth it be­cause of the plea­sure of see­ing her again af­ter 30 years. God Bless Her. The boat cleared the wharf at 10.45 am af­ter bid­ding farewell to a great num­ber of friends both old and new. Af­ter a pleas­ant jour­ney through the nar­rows, Vic­to­ria, Van­cou­ver Is­land, was reached at 4.30pm. I was met at the boat by my nephew and niece, also my old cabin mate on the out­ward trip. Just enough time was avail­able to run into town and have din­ner and back to the boat to sail again at 6.30pm. The re­main­ing hours of day­light was very pleas­ant sail­ing through the Straits of Juan-de-Fuca then to bed af­ter a very event­ful day. Au­gust 31 was spent mainly get­ting to know the pas­sen­gers and this junc­ture I do not think that they will be as happy a crowd as the ones on the “Ni­a­gara”. The “Ao­rangi” is a much more mod­ern ship than the “Ni­a­gara” but I think I pre­fer the lat­ter. The usual games and danc­ing on deck were par­taken of. Land­ing pa­pers were filled in for Honolulu also boat in­struc­tions – th­ese were more strict ow­ing to the anx­ious war mo­ments. On this day I re­ceived mes­sages aboard, wish­ing me Bon Voy­age from my peo­ple in B.C.

Fri­day, Septem­ber 1

Quite a stir this morn­ing on read­ing the Daily News­pa­per re hos­til­i­ties be­tween Ger­many and Poland – it be­came the topic of the ship for some hours. The sea, so far, has been like a mill pond but not much ac­tiv­ity amongst the pas­sen­gers. A pic­ture was shown at night “Damsel in Dis­tress” fea­tur­ing Burns and Allen, Fred As­taire and Joan Fon­taine, not much chop. Danc­ing on deck till 11pm.

Satur­day, Septem­ber 2

Looks like an­other quiet day – the morn­ing opened up in call­ing to­gether a meet­ing re a Sports Com­mit­tee to be held later in the day. A party of young girls trav­el­ling to Honolulu are hold­ing a sports com­pe­ti­tion this evening. Ships’ crew are now busy shield­ing deck lights so as to have a blackout dur­ing the night. Ru­moured that the ship is un­der ad­mi­ralty or­ders – all pre­cau­tions are be­ing taken.

Mon­day, Septem­ber 4

Com­pany gave spe­cial din­ner – Sou­venir Menu. Saloon nicely dec­o­rated flats, bal­loons, bunt­ing. Fancy Dress Ball at night in semi-dark­ness. Ship now trav­el­ing through­out night with­out light of any de­scrip­tion to be seen. All pas­sen­gers have been re­quested to re­frain from smok­ing on open decks and also asked to ob­scure any lights seen or to re­port to ships’ of­fi­cers.

Tues­day, Septem­ber 5

Very warm night. Weather now trop­i­cal. Have learnt that ship has been miles off usual course, zig-zag­ging in all di­rec­tions. 12 mid­day. Land of the Hawai­ian group now sighted. Great to see land again. Pass­ing sev­eral small is­lands 3.30pm. Near­ing Honolulu now – quite close to land. Now turn­ing around Di­a­mond Head – said to be the sec­ond Gibraltar. Palace and Hawai­ian Ho­tels can been seen in the back­ground of Waikiki Beach. Not many break­ers to­day, the wa­ter is very quiet. 4pm Pi­lot com­ing aboard now, also two Cus­toms boats to fol­low ship in as usual. Im­mi­gra­tion Of­fi­cials are also aboard – ship is al­most at a stand­still. All pass­ports to be stamped prior to land­ing. The wa­ter­front of Honolulu now very plain – all the usual land­marks are to be seen – be­ing my sec­ond visit, I am able to ex­plain same to oth­ers. Tied up 5pm. Spe­cial pre­cau­tions are be­ing taken – no vis­i­tors al­lowed on board. Great rush to buy pa­pers. Took walk ashore, sail­ing time not spec­i­fied but re­quest­ing all pas­sen­gers to be aboard by 11am fol­low­ing day. Sail­ing time left to dis­cre­tion of Cap­tain. Saw all shops clos­ing so re­turned to ship for din­ner. At night, drove over to see the Punch Bowl vol­cano – still ac­tive, but very quiet – the heat is quite eas­ily felt. Re­turned to city and saw Honolulu again at night time Won­der­ful. Back to ship – many lei sell­ers were en­coun­tered and the fumes of Frangi­pani al­most be­came sick­en­ing.

Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 6

Up to see Honolulu at dawn. Its sit­u­a­tion is grand. Ev­ery­thing is so peace­ful. Ship tak­ing on its oil and wa­ter. Break­fast 7.30am. Ashore again, away to Waikiki for a surf – back to town and rushed about to do some shop­ping, then back to ship 10.50am, feel­ing very warm. Many new pas­sen­gers bound for Aus­tralia and New Zealand can­celled their pas­sages pre­fer­ring to travel on Amer­i­can ships. Jim Lon­dos – World’s Heavy­weight Cham­pion Wrestler also re­mained be­hind in­stead of trav­el­ing through to Aussie. Very few send offs took place ow­ing to the un­cer­tainty of sail­ing, how­ever the ship slipped out very qui­etly at 12.10pm. The usual wel­come to Honolulu by the won­der­ful Silver Band and Singers did not take place ow­ing to them – the play­ers – be­ing on va­ca­tion – sadly missed by all. 3pm now out of sight of land and headed for the Fiji Is­lands. Ru­moured that the Aus­tralian Cruiser “Perth” is to pick us up as con­voy. Re­mains to be seen. To be con­tin­ued Don’t for­get to con­trib­ute your mem­o­ries and also any old pho­to­graphs that you would like to see pub­lished in this magazine’s “AS WE WERE” sec­tion.

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