National Geographic : 1948 Jun
Alexander G. B. Grosvenor Chow Time Knows No Slackers; Every Man Aboard Ship Does His Duty Nobly Performance is especially noteworthy whenever the Navy serves a tasty dessert; then some men go through the cafeteria line twice (page 714). Even in hot weather, many of these lads drink a dozen cups of coffee a day. The most treacherous spot is a narrow, ever shifting belt where the 7-knot current from the North Sea clashes with tides moving in from the Atlantic. The rocky coasts of north ern Scotland and the Orkneys act as a funnel, causing the waters to converge in the Firth. This belt of water is marked with violent eddies and treacherous whirlpools. Even with such splendid weather as we enjoyed, our 45,000-ton ship was twisted like a small steamer. Steering was difficult; standing re quired a balancing act. Next morning we entered the Firth of Forth, the main estuary on the east coast of Scot land. Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson sang the praises of the view from the Highlands, where the Forth lies spread out "like a blue floor," bordered by golden sands and green fields. Task Force 81 entered the Firth on a gray, rainy day. We saw, not the golden sands or blue floor, but only a cold gray blanket, spotted here and there by brownish hamlets and dark, sleeping ships. Ahead arched the Forth's famed cantilever bridge (Plate XVII). As we sailed below, our mast almost brush ing the span, five hooky-playing Scottish chil dren leaned out and waved a large American flag. So slight was our clearance that they could almost have stepped down into our lookout tower. Those smiling youngsters typified the Scot land we saw during our visit. Scotland to us was a land of rugged scenery and never shining sun. Its fiercely proud, liberty-loving people made us feel at home in this, our first port of call (Plates XVIII to XXV).* Oslo Welcomes the Middies Just before breakfast on June 30, two days out of Rosyth, our two battleships swung north into Oslofjord, leaving the Skagerrak astern. The other ships of our squadron had * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, "Bonnie Scotland, Postwar Style," by Isobel Wylie Hutchison, May, 1946.