20 November 1955
Here it is the witching hour again, & another grain of sand has been dropped onto the Desert of Eternity. As is usual about this time, I am hungry—a sandwich of dried bread & Spam did little to fill me up. Though I will probably never be able to taste anything again—at least not with the tip of my tongue, which has had all the taste buds scalded off. For lunch today, we had cocoa—while waiting for the chow line to open, suddenly great clouds of steam rolled around the turn in the passageway leading to the mess decks. It was a very wet steam, & I could feel it on my arms, even through my blues. It also smelled deliciously like cocoa. A swab brigade was formed & rushed into the fog, returning shortly to report that a sea of cocoa was washing across the mess deck, having boiled out of the copper (the 45 gallon ones). I thought no more of it, & when the line filed past the cup racks, I took one & filled it with cocoa. The first thing I did upon sitting down was to take a big swig of cocoa, which differed from lava only in color. That was at ten this morning. It is now almost ten at night, & I have an annoying void-of-taste spot on the tip of my tongue.
Today being Sunday, we were permitted to work a little less hurriedly than usual, & I got a chance to go & get a close-up view of Sardinia which, if it is an island, is an awfully big island. It seems to be entirely mountainous, with several mountains (my term for mountains being awfully large hills & on up) going half-way up & dropping suddenly off. It was a very cloudy day, with sheets of clouds rather than puffs—occasional holes in them let the sun leak through in long slender rays. The harbor, which this must be, as we are almost completely surrounded by land, contains a good portion of the United States Mediterranean fleet. We found the Lake Champlain again, & boats have been running back & forth between us & all the other ships all day. The crew of the Lake Champlain wear identification tags on their left sleeve, near the shoulder. They look quite nice—wish we had them.
Taps again. Because of replenishment tomorrow (which promises to be a madhouse) reveille is at 0400—what an ungodly hour!