National Geographic : 1955 Dec
he recalled between furious puffs on the pipe he was trying to light, "turned into Wilkins burg and came back to the city." Lydon threw his charred match into the fire. "So you want a hooker to sail you into the islands, do you? I'll find you one. Yep," he smiled, "as long as you're Yanks I will." Hookers are stubby, heavily beamed little sailing ships that vary in length from 25 to 50 feet. A fleet of perhaps a dozen carries peat to the Aran Islands, 10 miles out in the Atlantic off Carraroe (page 742). Century-old Craft Showed Her Age In the vernacular, we would sail "into," not "out to," Aran. True to his word, Bartly made arrangements with Patrick O'Malley, master of the good ship Fancy, to take us. The captain wore a comfortably contoured suit of blanket-thick homespun tweed, rein forced with patches at knees and elbows. Heavy brogues, pipe, battered sou'easter hat, and a stoic, stubbled countenance made him look as if he had stepped out of Emile Renouf's painting, "The Helping Hand." Texas Tower Moves into the Atlantic with Its Legs in the Air First in a chain of radar stations to rise in the Atlantic between Virginia and Newfoundland, this 6,000-ton adaptation of a Texas offshore oil-drilling rig was towed 150 miles from a Boston shipyard to Georges Bank. There, on the brink of the Conti nental Shelf, it lowered its caissons to a solid footing 95 feet below the surface. Then the platform shinnied up the legs by means of powerful air jacks. Today the man-made island stands rock-solid 82 feet in the air, safe from the highest seas. Con vinced of its safety, part of its construction crew of 100 refused to flee 1955's hurricane Connie, despite its threatening approach. Tied into the continent's civil-defense warning system, the tower will unceasingly probe the sky for bombers bent on sneak attack. The radar island's inhabitants will enjoy movies and may also have a fair-weather tennis court and an abbreviated golf course. Helicopters will land supplies and remove ill men in stormy weather. U. S. Navy, Official We could have gone to Aran in the com fort of the SS Dun Aengus, as most people do. But the Fancy seemed a more suitable vessel in which to visit men who struggle with the elements for life on these wild At lantic isles. Captain O'Malley's Fancy was fancy in name only. Her bulbous hull was blackened by tar without and by peat within. Her can vas, a mainsail and jib, was potato-sack brown. In the center of her tiny cabin a peat fire smoldered on a slab of concrete. O'Malley put the craft's age at 100 years, and she looked every day of it. But when the wind billowed her sails she was young again and sprightly. With a favorable wind the 10 miles between the mainland and Aran take less than two hours for the Fancy. This day, bucking head winds, she took five and a half and probably traveled 20 miles in the process. When Captain O'Malley put us ashore on Inishmore, it was raining and the wind was blowing a gale. But there was no time to lose; we had chartered the Fancy for only 24 hours. The driver of a dump cart showed us a path to the inn and then clucked his horse in another direction with our bags top ping his load of sand. We walked to the inn and were beginning to wonder where our baggage was when a jaunting cart pulled up. Holding the reins was the dump-cart driver-with a change of clothing. And between the shafts stood the same horse-with a change of harness. But, thank heaven, the same luggage. Thus smiling Bernard Kilmartin became our guide.