National Geographic : 1943 Jul
Aboard a Blimp Hunting U-boats like a gull. Their life depends upon their mo tors. If ours fail, our ship becomes a free balloon, with pilots trained to manage one. Fog may keep planes ashore, but pea soup is duck soup to us. We could switch off our motors and drift in fog for days, the radio sending our bearings. Clouds, which have created spotty photo graphic conditions, lift a trifle, and Mr. Culver decides to try for pic tures of the convoy (page 86). He asks the skipper to edge closer. "Can't do," replies the latter. "Though we carry bombs and guns, our orders are not to step across a 500-yard limit sur rounding the convoy. If we do, they have the right to challenge, then to shoot us." But our captain, obliging within bounds of duty, writes the mes sage: "We have official permission to take pic tures of convoy and He Listens as you." The radioman Let Like the housewife flashes the sentence to on an electric stove wh the other blimp over an have many of the comf electric lamp blinked ration. Note heavy ga through a window. The reply, likewise blinked, says: "Carry on." But the photographer is unable to catch the K-ship hovering over her charges in a course parallel to theirs. So we send another message: "Will you hover over convoy each time you pass south?" Blinkers Flash Insults, Polite and Otherwise Somehow in our eagerness for a close-up we have trespassed the 500-yard radius. When the blimp's reply dot-dashes in, it reads, "Are you the training ship?" The enlisted man is manifestly amazed as he writes out the message and hands it to the captain. The latter explains, "Certainly he knows U. . Navy. omtcal He Cooks Navy Beans in a Navy Airship busy at both roast and radio, "Sparks" stirs the meal Lile keeping ears alert for wireless signals. Blimp crews orts of home, and how they do eat! Beans are a winter rments. we're the training ship! He's just being sar castic. What he means is: 'Keep your dis tance, Mister.' He is not going to be very obliging. If he should get off position for our sake and a sub should sink one of his ships, it would be his neck." Meanwhile a cutter, swinging close, has blinked an insult less subtle. We missed a part of it, but the whole might have read, decoded: "*****# # #XXX!!!!" 12 noon (mealtime). The odor of coffee fills the cabin. An electric percolator, se curely fastened, is spouting merrily. The radio operator-"Sparks" above sea as well as on it-is scrambling eggs on the hot plate; he is wearing earphones lest he miss a signal.