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-74- if they ventured out. We were told that one Polish ship had made a dash for it one night, taking its chances on the mines (one exploded a few nights ago for no good reason - just blew up all by itself). A French cruiser pursued it for a while, but had to turn back when it reached the thirty mile limit and the British patrol. These ships are having a bad time provisioning their crews. Every day the captain of each ship has to row ashore where he is permitted to buy supplies for one day only. Being in the harbor meant a blackout for the ship, which is a nuisance. Our portholes are painted black, and if the ports are closed we can have the light on, but that makes the air too hot for comfort. So we left most of the ports open and stumbled around in the dark. Fortunately there was a full moon, and the decks were as bright as day, and all our neighbor ships - British, Norwegian, Swedish, Greek, French - were silhouettes against a light sky and a brilliant rippling ocean. Bill called it the Sargasso Sea, the gathering place of derelict ships from the whole world. July 20 - All morning we flew the flag that calls for a pilot, and all morning the captain got angrier and angrier (his name is Sendles, and he is a dour Norwegian). It was actually noon before we got under way and saw Dakar the desolate fade into the distance, pathetic Dakar, not knowing where its next meal is coming from, or even to whom it owes allegiance. It sits waiting for the new Governor General to arrive and make up its mind for it. An hour and a half out, a French patrol plane flew directly over us, low enough to get a good look at the American flags painted on our boat deck. At ten-thirty tonight, three British ships, two cruisers and a battleship, hailed us, warning us first to put out our lights. Sparks signalled them "West Irmo - New York" and they then let us proceed without any further remarks. The British are certainly watching that harbor and making sure that nobody comes in or goes out without their knowledge. ^[[George, our steward, passed out cold on the deck to-night, after sampling the Berger, gin and cognac that Gustafson + Jones brought on at Dakar. He lay with his head hanging out over the water for some time before two sailors carried him back to his quarters]]
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