National Geographic : 1961 Jun
Mans, and even sent a helicopter to pick me up at Martha's Vineyard Airport. The trip gave me a view of the Vineyard that I hadn't had before - and am not sure I want again. Tilting off the runway, the four-man Pia secki lowered its head and charged across the island, skimming just above the trees. In minutes we were over Gay Head, whose stained clay ramparts suggested a garish In dian blanket flung rakishly over the island's shoulder. We toured No Mans' 628 barren acres, and Lt. (jg.) Robert Sterling, an information officer, showed me the battered targets. "The more those targets get torn up, the better I sleep at night," Sterling smiled. Later we met Chief Engineman William D. Huggett, then in charge of the 16-man crew that operates the range. "It's not a bad life," Huggett anticipated my question. "We stand one week's duty on the island and one week off. It gets a little monotonous, but we have good quarters, good food, and a movie now and then. "The library's pretty thin, though." He picked up a cruelly mauled popular novel. "I've gotten to where I'll read anything at all." He brightened. "Why don't you send us the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC?" "Anything at all, is that it?" I laughed. The smile faded. "Mister," Huggett said, "I was reading GEOGRAPHICS before you were look ing at the pictures. Ever try getting a mag azine to follow you around in the Navy?" And that's why each month now the mail boat delivers the GEOGRAPHIC to an island called No Mans. Voyage Back to America Back on the Vineyard I made plans for home. At the last I went to see Captain Poole, finding him surrounded by a mountain ous pile of seaweed-plastered pots and buoys -a winter's work in repairs and painting. "Good luck in America," he grinned, shak ing my hand. "Have to get over there some time myself and see what the place is like." Then I was on the steamer, standing by the rail with a group of summer visitors from Nantucket. They were all enthusiasm about a museum there, or maybe it was an inn that had a seafaring flavor. I don't remember. Just then the sun was setting over Vine yard Sound, and I was looking back toward Menemsha. A potter's dream, the garish clays of Gay Head cliffs lure a beachcomber in search of samples. Vineyard Indians still fashion sou venirs from the clay, and fossil hunters sift the eroded banks for shark teeth and whale bones millions of years old. Colorful cataract in motionless grandeur streams forever down Gay Head's slopes. To Daniel Webster, a visitor, the Gay Head cliffs seemed "an iridescent Niagara." Ero sion's steady gnawing threatens Gay Head Light and square lookout tower KODACHROME(ABOVE) BY MARYS. GRISWOLD, NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC 808 STAFF, AND HS EKTACHROMEBY JAMES P. BLAIR © N.G .S.