The New Zealanders at Gallipoli
The Monotony of the Voyage
The Monotony of the Voyage.
In a sense this was the most wearisome stage of the journey, although there was a little to interest. By day, shoals of flying fish leaped ahead of the ships, shimmered in the sunlight, and splashed again into the depths; and in the hours of darkness the stable picket gazing out of the porthole marvelled at the mass of gleaming phosphorescence. But the monotony of the warm weather and a placid sea, together with the reaction after the glorious taste of freedom at Colombo, did not make for tranquility of spirit. Even the civilian passenger in the first saloon tires of marvellous seascapes, and ship's food, however daintily served, becomes repugnant. Pity, then, the poor soldier cramped up in a transport; necessarily living on monotonous food which he must help to prepare; tending horses and cleaning up the ship; stiff from the inoculations designed to protect him in the future, and steaming steadily on (at a rate of nine knots per hour!) to a destination only vaguely guessed at. So it was a relief to reach that rocky outpost, Aden, and to learn page 28 that just on the horizon hostile Arabs and Turks were bent on making trouble. Dicomforts were quickly forgotten in the thrill of nearing battle grounds. Away on those red sands we could picture Turk and Teuton scheming and planning to get possession of those priceless water cisterns.
No one was allowed ashore, but the harbour was full of interest. Nine big vessels packed with South Wales Borderers and Middlesex Territorials were coaling, on their way to India. The “Ibuki” here wished us good-bye and steamed away to join the Southern Japanese squadron.
The voyage from Aden to Suez was commenced on Thursday, November 26, with the “Hampshire” escorting the entire Australian and New Zealand fleet in five divisions, the five leading ships all being in line. We passed Perim at 2.30 in the afternoon, the New Zealand ships having been ordered to steam five miles ahead of the Australians.page 29
It was anticipated that the horses would be severely tried in the Red Sea. When a following wind got up the troopers were more apprehensive, but the horses seemed determined to do honour to their native land, and there was little sickness.