Tuesday. Nov. 27/17
My Dear Mother:-
I have just shaved and cleaned myself up a trifle and while we are waiting for the dinner gong I will give you a few lines of our experiences so far. We left Halifax yesterday afternoon about 1:30 and, after staying in the Basin for six days unable to get to shore, we were mighty glad to be on our way. Now we are out on the boundless ocean and it is certainly [a] grand experience. The day is fine, the sun shining and the ocean quite calm. For a time after leaving, the rocking of the boat made me rather dizzy, but one soon gets used to that. With us are eight other troop ships and an auxiliary cruiser which, I presume, is along to direct our course. The troops along are Americans and New Zealanders. The New Zealanders, there are two boat loads of them, I think came via the Panama canal and joined us at Halifax. On it's last trip this boat carried Yankees and the boat crews evidently have a poor opinion of them, as they do too much bragging and have too high an opinion of themselves and how quickly they'll finish up the war. "I'd much sooner carry Chinks" said one member of the crew and he evidently meant it.
Now that we are out at sea they are more strict, no gambling, no smoking on deck after sun-down and at all times we have to wear our "Corsets", the life-belt. It is an affair, cloth-filled with rectangular pieces of cork. It fits around the chest and must be worn or carried everywhere we go. We eat dinner with them, promenade the decks with them, do our morning drill with them and when we sleep, keep them at our heads ready to seize at first notice. [The] order is to remain absolutely where you are for four minutes. That gives you time to collect yourself and also enables the life boat crews time to man the boats. Then we are to file out in order to our usual place on the deck.
With nothing to do and three meals a day you can imagine we are all getting fat. I weigh over 160 lb. myself and soon I'll be too lazy to do anything strenuous. We will, however, get lots to keep us going when we reach England.
Well, I must close now.