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Excerpts from the Personal Log of Mr. and Mrs. Albert V. Moore

 

 

Their Voyage Aboard the SS MORMACREY from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles via the Straits of Magellan and Smyth Channel

 

Their Voyage Aboard the SS MORMACREY from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles via the Straits of Magellan and Sm... just before we departed ...yth Channel – November 18 to December 8, 1951

On November 18th Mrs. Moore and I boarded the MORMACREY at La Quimica Dock in Buenos Aires to find friends and guests aboard waiting to see us off on the new route -  returning to the States through the Straits of Magellan, up the West Coast of South America on the blue Pacific to California.  We held an informal cocktail party for our visitors prior to bidding them an exciting farewell just before we departed at 4:55 p.m.

#  #  #  #"Ernest Hemingway," "Groucho Marx" and "Herbert Hoover"

It was Thanksgiving Day [November 23] and what more fitting than to enjoy a typically delicious Thanksgiving dinner prepared by our very excellent Chef.  Never anywhere have we enjoyed a more juicy, more tender or more beautifully cooked turkey.  We were served by waiters known to us as "Herbert Hoover" and "Groucho Marx."  They were, in turn, assisted - in the background - by "Ernest Hemingway," the Assistant Chef.

Incidentally, that Thanksgiving morning at 7:14 we reached the southernmost point we made on this voyage, when we were Mr. McMurray snaps Captain Vargasabeam of Cape Froward.

Our pilotage through these waterways was in the capable hands of Captain Pedro Vargas, senior Chilean Straits Pilot with over 21 years of piloting experience.  Captain Vargas normally only supervises the assignment and disposition of Chilean pilots but, finding that he would have had to assign an apprentice pilot to the MORMACREY, decided to make the trip himself.  His interest was heightened in this respect by the remarkable coincidence that his first piloting experience through the Straits was with the SS COMMERCIAL GUIDE of Moore-McCormack, Capt. Thor Sorenson commanding, in 1926.  This vessel was the largest of the Company fleet at the time, about 9,000 tons total deadweight, formerly belonging to the Germans, and at the time of that passage, about twenty years old.

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Part of the enjoyment of travelling is in knowing with whom you travel.  The officers of the MORMACREY proved to be generally a congenial group with interesting histories which we have in part set down to rCapt. Ingvald Molaug, master of the SS MORMACREYound out our log.

Captain Ingvald Molaug, Master of the MORMACREY, a native of Norway who came to the United States in 1927, settled in San Francisco and became a United States citizen in 1933.  He has been a seafaring man ever since that time, having joined with Moore-McCormack Lines in 1941.  He sailed in both troop ships and cargo vessels during the war.  He attained the position of Master in 1944, served in this capacity in various Mooremack ships on the South American routes from the East and West Coasts of the United States.  With him he has brought "Solid Scandinavian Seamanship" to guide us safely throughout this delightful voyage towards his home town of San Francisco, where he will enjoy a well-earned vacation he has looked forward to for some time.

Jerry W. Mitchell, Chief Mate, was born December 20th, 1925 at Delta, Utah, of Mormon parents and in a faith in which he takes justifiable pride.  He graduated from Mabton High School in May 1943, then spent the following summer season on Kodiak Island, Alaska, working for a salmon cannery.

Jerry joined the Maritime Service at Catalina Island, California as Apprentice Seaman in September 1943, transferred to the Merchant Marine Cadet Corps at San Mateo, California in January 1944, completed his basic training in May, then spent the following seven months at sea with the United Fruit Company.  Thereafter he transferred to the Merchant Marine Academy at King‘s Point in January of 1945 to graduate in February 1946.

Jerry was very active in the "Windjammer Sailing Club" at the Academy and took part in several Long Island yacht races aboard the 65' schooner "Sealove."  Yachting today is still his favorite hobby (when the opportunity presents itself).  He is also fond of hunting, fishing, photography and music, and claims these are enough to keep him broke!

Mr. Mirchells‘ first berthsOur first day out we held fire and boat drill as 3rd Mate were with the United Fruit Company and the Pacific Atlantic S.S. Company, respectively, until July 1946, when he joined Mooremack as Jr. 3rd Mate of the DOTHAN VICTORY at Norfolk, Va.  He has earned his promotions since that time in the MORMACREED and the MORMACGULF until April 1951, when at the ripe old age of 25, he was commissioned as Chief Officer of the good ship MORMACREY in which capacity he is presently sailing.  Mr. Mitchell furnished some very excellent phonograph records for the enjoyment of passengers while they gathered on deck after dinner to enjoy the glory and grandeur of the sunsets during our trip.

Eric O. Anderson, Chief Engineer, was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and emigrated to the U.S.A. with his parents prior to World War I.  He was educated in Chicago, began his sea career in the Lighthouse Service out of Ketchikan, Alaska in 1935.  He alternated between printshops and the sea until 1940 when he began his commercial shipping.  He joined Mooremack in 1945 as 2nd Asst. Engineer aboard the MORMACSEA.  He has since sailed in various company ships, lastly assigned to the REY as 1st. Asst. Engineer on February 1st, 1948 with subsequent promotion to the top berth of "Chief" in May 1950.

Hans Herzberg, Purser, was born in Shanghai, China, of German-Russian parents, educated in an English school, came to the United States in 1930 to become an American citizen.  He was Amateur Boxing Champion in Shanghai, a "Gentleman Jockey" and all-around sportsman.  Hans' grandfather was a Chief Engineer on the China Coast, and his father a steamship agent for some 33 years.

Mr. Herzberg joined the old Dollar Steamship Lines at Shanghai in 1927, spending three years there working in the Freight, Claims, Passenger and Operating Departments.  He transferred to San Francisco in 1930 and started his sea-going career after a hitch on the dock checking cargo, mail and stores.  After completing three ‘round-the-world trips as Stewards‘ Storekeeper, he transferred to the Purser‘s Department, took the Junior Baggage Clerk‘s job and worked up to the position of Chief Purser within three years.  In this position he sailed for the following 15 years.  He has shipped out as Chief Purser of the following passenger liners:  SS PRESIDENTS HAYES, HARRISON, POLK, GARFIELD, MONROE, VAN BUREN, ADAMS, PIERCE, JACKSON, GENERAL GORDON, GENERAL MEIGS, and the new luxury liners PRESIDENT WILSON and PRESIDENT CLEVELAND.  He made the Maiden Voyages on the PRESIDENT JACKSON (first C-3 passenger ship) and PRESIDENT WILSON (P-2).  The SS MORMACREY at La Quimica dockHe left the sea in 1949 to own and operate a 96-room hotel with cocktail lounge and restaurant, banquet hall facilities, etc.  He sold his interest this year and is making his first trip back to sea aboard the MORMACREY, having visited relatives in Rio.

I should like to add here that Mr. Herzberg, our Purser, has been perfectly wonderful to both Mrs. Moore and myself.  He helped me dispose of my correspondence and has been of the greatest aid to us in piecing together this informal log of our trip.  He is a very fine Purser indeed.  Just the kind we need on our ships.  We hope he will continue in our employment and that we may keep him with the Line for many years to come.

Gordon W. McMurray, Radio Officer, was born in San Rafael, California in 1924, and brought up in the Bay region.  His radio experience started by way of training as a "ham" operator during high school days.  He graduated from high school as World War II began and commenced going to sea a few months later.  He has followed the sea ever since except for short breaks of working ashore and two semesters at the University of California at Berkeley where "Mac" met a certain Srta. Ines Chinchilla (now Mrs. McMurray) of Valparaiso [Chile].  He was passing out cigars after our departure from Valparaiso, thanks to his wife‘s thoughtfulness in presenting their first-born to the world on the day that "Daddy" was to anchor aboard the MORMACREY in "Mama‘s" home town of Valparaiso.  "Sparks" has sailed to the Orient, East and West Coasts of South America.  He is an enthusiastic amateur photographer, speaks Spanish very fluently and is quite an authority on points of interest in South America.

Having ascertained the diversified backgrounds of some of our ship's officers, we thought it would be interesting to learn more about the passengers aboard our stout vessel.  There were six besides ourselves, a congenial group which usually gathered just before luncheon for a "mild libation" and also enjoyed occasional stimulations of "liquid transfusions" before dinner in an atmosphere of friendly informality.

Mr. Melvin Chase of Los Angeles; teacher in the Pasadena, California schools for 30 years in Physical Education and Counseling, is now on sabbatical leave for the first semester of school year 1951-1952.  This gentleman is a veteran of both wars.  In World War I he spent a year and a half with the A.E.F. attached to the French Army.  In World War II he spent two years in India as Field Director with the American Red Cross.  While he has completed a trip around the world, made during A cocktail party on the boat deckthe war, this was his first visit to South America.

Mrs. Josephine Heinemann of Richmond, California, who as a child left her native country, Argentina, and recently returned to locate relatives, and Mrs. Betty Dudlext of Los Angeles, retired business woman . . . .

Mr. Orville A. Rogers of Los Angeles, a native Californian, attended the University of California at Los Angeles and also the University of Southern California, College of Law.  He was admitted to practice before the California Bar in 1926, also admitted to practice before all Federal Courts including the Supreme Court of the U.S.  Senior member of the law firm of Rogers, Carnes and Cook . . . .

Dr. Alberto Varela Feijoo of Montevideo, a physician from "The British Hospital" of Montevideo, is acompanying Mrs. Moore and me, and will be visiting the United States briefly to see, at first hand, the progress made in the American field of medicine . . . .

Mr. William Wagner of Hollywood, is a retired actor of stage and screen . . . .  Under the management of Cecil B. deMille, Mr. Wagner came to Hollywood, California where he appeared in many brilliant screen productions including "The Plainsman," "Lloyds of London," "Maid of Salem," "The Buccaneer," "May Time," "Joan of Arc" and others.

Two days before arriving in Callao, we were pleasantly surprised to receive the following radiogram:

IN VIEW YOUR TEL FROM VALPARAISO ADVISING CHANGE VESSELS ITINERARY OBLIGED CANCEL COCKTAIL ON BOARD STOP REVISED PROGRAMME FOR YOURSELF AND MRS MOORE WILL BE WEDNESDAY EVENING INVITATION TO PRESIDENTIAL STATE BANQUET HONOUR CARDINAL SPELLMAN WHITE TIE AND DECORATIONS STOP THURSDAY BUSINESS LUNCH ALSO POSSIBLE SEPARATE LADIES LUNCH FOR MRS MOORE STOP THURSDAY NINETEEN TO TWENTY ONE HOURS INVITATION FOR YOURSELF AND MRS MOORE COCKTAILS OFFERED BY AMERICAN AMBASSADOR FOR VISITING U S CONGRESSMEN HOPE THIS PROGRAMME MEETS YOUR SATISFACTION STOP YOUR SUITE HAS BEEN ARRANGED AT HOTEL BOLIVAR STOP WILL MEET YOU IMMEDIATELY ON ARRIVAL STOP PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE

                                              MARITIMA

. . . It shortly dawned upon both of us that I did not have the proper "equipment" with me for this formal affair.  But we decided to take a chance that some good fortune would provide for me upon arrival all of which appeared in the very able and comely form of Mrs. Gerard Roessink and her lovely and equally capable daughter Lilly.  They were the wife and daughter of the senior partner of our agents in Peru.

. . . I went into conference with the gentlemen while Miss Roessink took Mrs. Moore to the hairdresser  and Mrs. Roessink went to the Hotel Bolivar in Lima where she would arrange to have Mrs. Moore's dress unpacked and pressed for the party.  Before they left the ship I told Mrs. Roessink of my dilemma.  Without hesitation she said "That is nothing.  You are about the same size as my husband and you can wear his coat, vest, tie and gloves.  I will buy you a shirt and collar."  Just like that I was outfitted!

After my press conference, the gentlemen from Maritima and I repaired to the Hotel Bolivar where we met the ladies for tea and further discussion as to the program for the evening.  Mrs. Roessink had all my paraphernalia available, and Mrs. Moore's dress taken care of properly.  The maid who was to have pressed the dress insisted (at the beginning) that it was after hours and was stubbornly unwilling.  Mrs. Roessink surmounted this difficulty by pretending that Mrs. Moore was a cousin of Cardinal Spellman and that her handiwork was to be viewed personally by the President and Mrs. Odria and the Cardinal himself - all of which electrified her into the most interested activity.

We had almost an hour, after our good friends left us at the Hotel, to make ready for the affair of the evening.  Then came the discovery that all was well with my outfit except that there was a slight variance in the distance around my mid-section and that of the tall and rather slender Mr. Roessink!  Mrs. Moore, however, had an idea!  With the aid of numerous "Didy Pins" she fastened me together, all with the result that no one other than ourselves would ever have guessed that I was (in truth) just what she dubbed me, "Her Perfect Pin-Up Boy!"  It was all good fun.  I felt comfortable and perfectly assured that I would not - at some crucial moment during the evening - begin to pop apart.

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We were privileged to spend a few moments with Cardinal Spellman.  He is really a remarkable individual.  Although he had travelled thousands of miles, he showed no visible signs of fatigue and had a pleasant word for everyone.  The Peruvians, like all Latins, found him a sincere spiritual leader, also fully aware of Inter-American trade relations and their importance in combating the forces of evil.

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One of the points of interest during the progress of this last portion of our voyage was the many schools of fish we invariably seemed to meet during the evening sunset hours.  Captain Molaug would blow one blast on the whistle when they appeared on the port side, two blasts on the starboard and three blasts when they were on both sides.  This afforded keen amusement and interest for us all.  We encountered numerous schools of tuna and porpoises, who seemed to scurry away at our approach.  In contrast, some dolphins seemed to enjoy our company and would nose right alongside of the ship, jumping into the air and swimming even with us for hours on end.

During many of the ensuing evenings, Mrs. Moore and I sat on deck with the other passengers to enjoy lovely music broadcast from the excellent record collection of our Chief Officer, Mr. Mitchell, and drink in the splendor of the sunsets, some of which were the most beautiful we have ever seen.We left the ship at Los Angeles for San Francisco where we were "grilled" by a friendly group of newspapermen.

We arrived at Los Angeles bright and early on the morning of December 8th.  The sight of the familiar harbor and our friends from the West Coast awaiting us - the Tripps, the Smiths, Mr. Gravesen from Seattle, Mr. Fenger from Portland, and others from the office in Los Angeles, told us that this was the end of one of the most delightful trips Mrs. Moore and I have ever taken together.

ALBERT V. MOORE

 

 

     

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