capt log #11 2010

PT109

Now I know how sir Hillary felt on the mountain top. How John Glen felt when he stepped into the space capsule. I'm talking about the emotional high that comes to anyone who completes a life long goal. After months on the high seas, many countries, much paper work, tsunamis, escapes from pirates, sharks, and crocodiles; we made it to where John Kennedy's PT109 WWII saga took place.

For the very young reader the story went like this; Young John Kennedy was captain of the boat PT109 that was charged with disrupting the resupply of of the Japs during the WWII in the Solomon Islands. Unfortunately his boat was sunk and several guys killed, but most ended up on a small island in Jap held territory. John was able to swim from island to island until he met a friendly Solomon Islander who took him by canoe to an American base. The crew on the Island was then rescued. In later years John's brother tried this same “swim for help” technique without good results.  During John Kennedy's Presidency the Pt 109 story was told and retold, books written, movies made, and a tee shirt or two printed. There can be no doubt that young John Kennedy was a true WWII war hero.

It was with great excitement that I noticed a small island had been renamed Kennedy Island, and it was right on the way to Gizo, home of the famous Yacht Club and Shrine to PT109. As we maneuvered Special Blend in close for the best photo of the island, we noticed that right off the island was 50 Frigit Birds circling. Two thoughts occurred; how neat to catch a fish off Kennedy Island and how appropriate!!! For none fishermen these birds usually mean big fish, in this case all we saw in the water was a puffed up dead dog. Martha got some great shots that are suitable for framing, they will be posted here or her facebook.

In Gizo we anchored right in front of the PT 109 Yacht club. An inconvenience to visiting the PT109 Yacht Club is that the locals steal all your stuff off your boat while you are eating dinner and drinking beer. After posting armed guards/carvers we went in and met the proprietor of the bar/restaurant/ yacht club, and had an excellent dinner. It was thrilling to see the huge mural that consumes one wall, we all had our pics taken in front of it. One of our guards/carvers' grandfather had been the local man that put young John in his canoe, covered him with palm leaves, and paddled him to USA controlled islands.  His family was sent an autographed  photo from President John Kennedy and a PT109 medal. He said nothing about a “thank you" or anything prior to that, makes you wonder why John waited to become president before sending stuff to say thanks??? Of course young John, the war hero was really busy after the war getting a job, chasing Jackie, raising kids, and running for office. I know it's easy to get caught up in those things, and time slips by.  At least he or someone around him remembered, and I am here to tell you, the entire extended Solomon Island family is very very proud.  

jim