Special Itasca Edition
Mermaid Vigilance was not the first vessel to have a daily newspaper. Meridian Passages was published on the R/V Mount Mitchell and an earlier incarnation on the R/V Davidson in previous Amelia search expeditions. But the tradition of a ship’s newspaper goes way back. In fact, the Coast Guard Cutter Itasca, the vessel waiting for Amelia Earhart in July, 1937, published a paper with a hauntingly familiar theme. Reprinted here (with errors intact) is the June 29th, 1937 Evening Edition of the Tropical Tribune, from Howland Island, just days before the famous flyer disappeared. The tongue-in cheek humor is made poignant by the retrospective knowledge that the special guest they are waiting for will never arrive.
AMELIA EXPECTED TOMORROW
Balta Bitchell’s Column
Miss Lotta Gall, Dean of Bassar, swank eastern college for women is credited for the script of welcoming musical pageant at Howland Island in anticipation of Ladybird Earhart. When questioned by a T.T scribe, she coyly admitted a primal urge to pioneer over dangerous air or water routes but her duties as dean prevented this chance of escape from a humdrum existence – however feeling the throes of composition stirring within her conceived and wrote the playlet recently published by the Pollywog paper. In a sudden burst of confidence she acknowledged that DONALD DUCK was the creator of the musical scores and blushingly admitted “that they were that way about each other.”
Sgt. Thacher, U.S.A. BATTLES MANEATING SHARK. “No Fish Story”
3 pts. off Starboard Bow, ITASCA.
Early this afternoon Sgt. Thacher cast his line over the side using as a bait 2 pounds of raw meat and was very shortly rewarded with a terrific yank on his line. Thacher was pulled half way through [the] life chain before he was seized by quick witted Oscar Yoos and hauled back to safety. Slater Royal Police Chief saved the Sgt’s haul by quickly tying the line around the capstan. The fish was so large and powerful and made such a noise pounding against the ship’s sides that all the watch standers were awakened and hurried to the top sides. Steam was requested via bridge for the capstan to pull the fish in but was immediately belayed when Battling Perry, the “ ____ where angels fear to tread” struck the huge monster of the deep squarely b-tween eyes with a 8 pound bivit*. At this juncture of the proceedings James feinted [sic] and was dragged from the scene of conflict.
* We don’t know what the heck a “bivit” is. – M.P. ed.