National Geographic : 1968 Jan
With a mighty windup, a sail or on shore leave from the cruis er U.S.S. Newport News hurls a ball at weighted bottles. Bal loon-blowing belle will score his hits. In holiday mood, throngs jam Carnival Village in Charlotte Amalie on the 50th anniversary of Transfer Day. "Jump in the middle o' the line, wiggle when the steel band chime." * Truck-borne drum mers beat out the calypso tune in the Transfer Day parade. Merrymakers jammed shoulder to shoulder on the sidewalk en joy the river of color and noise flowing down the capital's Main Street. *FROM"CARNIVALIN ST. THOMAS"; WORDSAND MUSIC BY BILL LAMOTTA© 1964 WESTINDYMUSICCO. with almost 30,000 inhabitants. Roads twisting up mountain sides offer a new vista at every turn, and houses perched like ospreys' nests command breath-stopping panoramas. The waters around the island, seen from the heights, are magical. Always on St. Thomas a visitor is aware of the sea, the broad highway of history and adventure that bore the flow of life from the Old World to the New. Now that same ancient bridge may help man on his way to the planets. At a small is land lying a few miles off Charlotte Amalie harbor, I donned scuba gear to visit an underwater structure built by General Electric Company's Missile and Space Division. My companion, project diver Tom Carlin, was assigned to an experiment in weightlessness (pages 94-5). Tom wore a suit balanced with weights that neutralized his buoyancy, so that under water he hung suspended like a man in space. The exer cise was aimed to test how well future astronauts could learn to work with the bulky equipment involved in the next genera tion of manned spacecraft. Fascinated, I watched Tom enter an underwater mock-up of a rocket-booster fuel tank. In the future, a genuine fuel tank will be used as an orbiting space platform after its hydrogen pro pellant has burned. Astronauts will rendezvous from a smaller capsule and install equipment for living aboard. The tank then will become a base for the exploration of our solar system.