Arriving in Aden in the morning- hours and planning to depart that night after refueling, there was time for two liberty parties of about 5 hours each. But, because Aden is a small place, it was ample time to see what was there to be seen.
Among the highlights of Aden is the "Old Aden" where there are to be found two items dating back to biblical times. They are Solomon's Tunnel and the Queen of Sheba Well. The outstanding feature of these landmarks is the skillful masonry that has stayed almost perfect through so many ages.
After feeding our ship a belly full of "the stuff that makes her go", we left the harbor and headed into the Red Sea and on up to the Gulf of Suez.
Arriving at the Southern entrance on the 22nd of July we dropped the anchor until 0900, at which time we were to start transit.
At 0900 the USS LAFFEY led off with the LOWRY in second place, followed by the rest of DesDiv 261 and several merchant ships. Keep your eyes open boys, this is going to be worth seeing.
Entering the canal we see on the left a beautiful stone monument built in the honor of the Australian soldiers who fought to protect the canal from the Turks way back when. Transit from this entrance is started between 0700 and 0900, and between 1800 and 2000. It is started from the opposite end at 1200 and 2400. This makes the traffic meet at a passing point approximately in the middle.
Any vegetation to be found was on the East side due to irrigation from the Nile. The entire West side was nothing but sand, sand, and more sand; all of it looking as smooth as silk.
Just before reaching the half way point at Lake Timsah, we passed another and more beautiful monument. This monument was raised in the honor of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers that had so gallantly defended the canal from the Turks in the First World War. The beauty of this monument came from the contrast in which it arose from the flat lowly deserts reaching toward the sky. It's true beauty and magnificence can only be seen and not described.
The wind erosion is terrific and Egyptian natives are constantly kept busy moving the sand back from the canal by hand in small carts mounted on portable tracks. In the spots where nature offered no help whatsoever, the sides are solid stone and concrete.
Because of the immense length of the canal, it is dark as we are gliding up the passage and see lights dead ahead. This is Port Said. There was no liberty here because of the lack of time.
Pulling out of Port Said the next morning we passed down a canal that passed right through this fabulous city. At the end of the channel is a statue of a frenchman named Ferdinand De Lessup. Beneath the statue is the inscription "APIRIRE TERRUM CENTIBUS" (To open the world to people). This is the man to whom we are indebted for the magnificent engineering feat through which we just traveled.
After passing through the very narrow, very beautiful, very historic Dardanelles, we pulled into Istanbul and dropped anchor in the Bosporus. This is the channel which connects the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea.
We were well aware of the history of this city and its people as we gazed at the spires and temple-domes that dotted the thickly-inhabited hillsides. Among these outstanding shrines is the "Aya Sophia", the oldest religious building in the city. This building, representing the Turkish religion, was originally built as a memorial to the wife of Constantine. Through the years and wars this building was burned and rebuilt three times. The third time it was rebuilt is the building which still stands and was a Christian Church until the Turks took over and made it into a Mosque. It is now a museum given as a gesture of friendliness to Europe's Christianity by the Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk.
Other spots of importance that were here to be seen were the Blue Mosque, given this name because of the blue porcelain decorations covering the building; the Hippodrome, an old sports arena; the Archeological museum displaying examples of ancient handiwork; the Sarcophagus or tomb of Alexander the Great and the Sea Palace from where Justinian once tried to run away from his people.
During our stay in Istanbul we had aboard some orphans for a tour of the ship, movies and of course, ice cream and cake. No matter what country you are in or what color the skin of the children, their faces all light up just like Christmas trees when you set them down in front of a big bowl of delicacies like that.
July 27, 1952 mustered crew at quarters, no absentees. 0755 underway in accordance with ComDesDiv 261 Operation Order #3-53. The Captain at the conn, the Navigator on the bridge and we are off. Next stop Athens Greece.
Dropping anchor in the early morning of the 28th we found ourselves in Phaleron Bay just a few miles from Athens. This is the place from where nearly all of the Greek Mythology stemmed. Moving around in this vicinity we find that we are surrounded by temples, monuments, tombs and many other items we read about in our high school history class. Hoping that the pictures will give you a better story on these highlights than we could in writing, we will proceed to tell you just how Athens came to be known as Athens.
It all began when Athens was originally built on the plateau of the sacred rock of the Acropolis. This rock was supposed to have possessed human life prior to the 16th century, B. C. King Cecrops was its founder, hence, it received the name "Cecropia". When the small states of Attica were united into a single state, Cecropia became its capitol and was renamed "Athena" or Athens, in honor of the goddess protectoress of the city.
The peak attraction here was a tour to Rome and an audience with the Pope at his summer palace at Castel Gandolfo. Also there were tours to the isle in that beautiful song, Capri. Of course along with all this beauty we must handle in a diplomatic way, all the "this is a good deal Joe" boys with most of them selling items imported from the U.S. in the first place. Of course if we wanted something really made in Napoli, we could climb to the top of the big hill behind the city and purchase some of their very famous cameos, truly pieces of beauty.
For the lover of Italian foods this was of course the place to be. Ravioli, spaghetti, pizza pie, and wines of any type, vintage and color. And it was also a treat to be waited on by a beautiful dark haired Italian girl. Remember boys the next port is France. And we're off.
We are off at a fast gait with the bow pointed toward Cannes, France, with most of the "swabs" standing on the forecastle trying to be the first to get there. One side "Jack" I was here first.
It is nine minutes after eight in the morning of the 6th of August; the anchor is dropped and we are here to stay for two full days. There is absolutely nothing along the life-line on the side facing shore, but a solid white mass of romping, stomping, howling, goggle-eyed bluejackets. Straining at the reins like a wild untamed stallion. Well this is the Riviera right in the middle of the tourist season so what are we waiting for stop - shoving, I want to make that boat too--did you see that Bikini?
We were on the beach and our highest expectations were fully justified. Right-smack-dab in the middle of this rich man's playground with its sidewalk restaurants, dressed up waiters, everyone in a celebrating mood, spouting that soft purring language of love, a luxurious sandy beach, a beautiful sea, a balmy breeze and Bikinis, Bikinis, and still more (hubba hubba) Bikinis. Break out the shipping-over papers boys I'm here to stay.
In a serious light this is actually one of the best swimming beaches in the world and most of us spent our time right there just lying there in the sun watching those gently rolling curves (of the sea--what else).
For the more risky sailor there is a few gambling casinos, and Nice is just up the beach a few miles. For those home-loving men that could think of the wife at a time like this, there is the perfume factory offering the best in the world for a reasonable price and in quantities to flutter the heart of any lass.
Yes, it was really nice and we shall never forget the good times and fun that we had there. But it is next to the last stop before home and we really must go. Let's hope that we meet again sometime.
Stopping at Gibraltar just long enough to refuel and a little rest before the long trip across the Atlantic we did have enough time to give the "Rock" the once-over. One thing we can say, it is all rock and plenty solid We sort of doubt if it will be moved for a few years yet. As we pull away we take a last look at our trek through these foreign waters and countries and wonder if our paths will ever lead us this way again.
The following paragraphs contain a resume of a few of the necessities in making a world cruise and patrolling in war zone waters.
During the period from 22 January 1952 to 19 August 1952 the LOWRY steamed 59,057 miles, more than twice the distance around the world, in a total of 3,490 hours underway. She burned 2,895,167 gallons of fuel oil and distilled 2,289,490 gallons of fresh water.
During the course of the cruise, the crew drank 6,067 pounds of coffee, sweetened with 15,039 pounds of sugar, and those who used canned milk, used 9,544 pounds. Fresh meat lovers consumed 36,658 pounds of their favorite dish, along with 53,988 eggs. The flour used in baking fresh bread- totaled 24,395 pounds. During the seven and one half months the ship was away from home, the crew drew a mere $199,197 on paydays which were held every 15 days.
Although it is impossible to report exactly the amount of hits made during the operations in the forward area, the Gunnery Department computes a total of 2,537 5"/38 and 2,092 40MM rounds fired during exercises and actual bombardment. All of these rounds were fired without a single major casualty to either the mounts or the gun-crews.
After reading these interesting facts we are sure that everyone agrees with the old saying that, "a fighting unit travels on its stomach". Probably after reading the amount of fuel the LUCKY LOWRY consumed we might add, that goes for "her" too.