Diary of Alfred Burton Welch

Thursday 11-24-98

Made 265.4. Awake early, and a poor tired land bird about the size of a robin was flying around decks, so we are near land. Breakfast of “breast of sow, served with bubby’s.” Had a great dinner in stateroom 104 with Sergt. Coombs, Burtt, Witherspoon and Herman, and Corps. Wilbon & Welch.

Menu — Salads… Potatoes with lim. vin., Split Pea, Oyster con can [concasse].

Entrees… Vienna –imported from San. Fran., Tamales –Ala Kapp & Street, Cranberry sauce.

Roasts… Beef ala P.D. Armour, Bobom of Swine.

Vegetables… Potatoes, mashed. Tomatoes –stewed. Sweet Corn.

Fruit… Pears –Bartlets, Peaches.

Dessert… Plum Pudding ala duff –brandy sauce, fruit cake, Jellies.

Ices… Limes ala Honolulu, Tea, Lemonade.

Cigars… comliments Col. Wholley.

Lat. 19° 30º, Long 123° east from Greenwich. Band played in a.m. & p.m.

At 4:20 p.m. the for’ard lookout sung out; “Land HO!” … from the bridge came the answer: “Where away?” “Off the port bow, Sir!” and soon we could see it thro’ the heat rays, then more on the starboard. Land! Oh!

How it rested our restless eyes and what a relief from the tumbling and tossing horizons of the past 18 days. These islands were a surprise to me in that they were very high and along the coral keys, several great tall rocks rose like barren tree trunks to a great height. We were not close enough to distinguish foliage but they are known to be heavily covered.

Here is land for the explorer — for man’s foot, so far as known, has never touched the shore. They were left astern at 8 p.m. We are off the regular course and feel like explorers indeed. The band and quartette gave a good concert in eve. on officer’s saloon deck. After program Col. Wholley sent cigars and we lingered late over them and ices.

At 10 o’clock (4 bells) more land. High like the western coast of U.S.A. but more rolling was sighted at port now. “Luzon.” At six bells we changed course from W. to S. and with Polaris astern, started on last stretch of H²O: the treacherous China Sea. We are off the coast of “Formosa” about 100 miles S., with China 400 mi. W. Sea smooth. To sleep with smell of spices wafted to me westward from “Luzon” 30 mi. away.