Jan. 23, 1942 (Friday)

SS President Polk, Timor Sea

Pick up another American freighter similar to this one and a slow (12 knots) Navy tanker, the latter I suspect being full of aviation gasoline. They were in charge of a destroyer, which, upon arrival, took itself off in the southeasterly direction towards Darwin. Almost everyone was pleased to have skipped Darwin — as I hear it is very crowded, and much resembles its condition during the Australian gold rush.

The Houston has been keeping an air patrol above the convoy steadily. Had a submarine scare in the afternoon. Also inspected twice by Lockheed Hudsons from Darwin.

Finished a collection of Gogol’s “Tales” including “The Mysterious Portrait” and the classic “Taras Bulba,” the latter being, for Russian tale, excellently composed. A moving story of Cossack life in the 16th century — would be excellent conjunction with some of Sienkiewicz’s stories of early Poland.

The Navy tanker is the USS Pecos. The freighter is the Hawaiian Planter.

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