"Chicago", "Boston" & "New Orleans"
fly to Dutch Harbor, Unalaska Island
by Lt. L.P. Arnold, Chicago Mechanic
Again we made preparations to leave and this time the weather reports were favorable. There was a stiff wind in the harbor and in casting off from the buoys it was necessary to lay flat on the pontoons & with the spray & waves going all over us we all got pretty wet & consequently were cold all the rest of the day.
Just before eleven everything was in readiness & at 10:58 #2 took off, closely followed by 3 & 4. The rough water and heavy wind made it possible to get off in 38 seconds, whereas in calm water it has often taken two minutes.
Ay 11:02 Chignik passed out of sight as we headed up the lagoon and cut through a pass in the mountains to Kuinkta Bay, thus saving about 15 miles. From here on we followed the coast line which looked just about the same as the country previously passed, the only difference being that there was not quite as much snow which made the country look even more barren and desolate, if such a thing is possible.
In Unga Straits we saw a whale splashing & playing around, on Unimak Island saw some goats running up the beach, and at Ikatan saw two tugs that belong to one of the canneries near there, otherwise there was no life at all.
All of the way we bucked a head wind of from 30 to 35 miles velocity. There were snow squalls that struck us & we bounced and tossed around like corks, gaining and losing a thousand feet altitude at the will of the wind. Our ground speed was 55 miles an hours & happy indeed were the cold, tired & hungry gang that landed in Dutch Harbor at 6:15 after 7 hours & 20 minutes of flying.
The Coast Guard cutter Haida was there & there boats took us off & to the cutter, where after warming up we had a wonderful roast turkey dinner, words could never express our appreciation of it.
[Lt.] Bissell [Division I advance officer] was also on hand & after dinner took us in tow & escorted us to the hotel where all arrangements had been made, and after four nights of fishermen's cots to climb into a nice bed was a great feeling.
by Lt. L.H. Smith "Chicago" Pilot
No attempt was made to leave on April 16th because of the absence of the "Seattle". However, upon receiving word of its having been towed to safety at Kanatak, and inasmuch as it would require several days for repairs to be made on the plane, it was decided best for the "Chicago", "Boston" and "New Orleans" to proceed to Dutch Harbor, which was a main supply base furnishing a much more secure anchorage for the planes than the harbor at Chignik, the latter being open to storms coming from several directions.
Severe weather prevented the flight from continuing until April 19th. On this date, difficulties were encountered in starting the flight caused by strong winds and rough sea, making it almost impossible to cast off from the moorings, but at 11:01 the flight took off for Dutch Harbor, flying up Chignik Lagoon, over a very narrow portage to Kuinkta Bay; over Fox Cape along the southern edge of the Alaskan Peninsula, Unimak Island and Akutan Island into Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island, landing at 6:25.
At this point, we were met by Lieut. Bissell, Major William R. Blair, meteorological officer, and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Haida, commanded by Capt. J.F. Hottell.
At Kanatak, Alaska
by Maj. F.L. Martin Commanding
Among those to greet us were Mr. Phil. B. Reed, Superintendent of the Standard Oil Company, in charge of drilling an oil well 17 miles distant from Kanatak. From Mr. Charles Madsen, Proprietor of the General Store in the village, it was learned that Mr. Reed had heard over their radio of our trouble at about 7:30 on the evening of the 15th and immediately started to Kanatak on horseback where he hoped to find the launch, the Pilgrim, belonging to the Standard Oil Company which was expected to return from Kodiak. His travel was made very difficult on account of the excessive amount of snow on the trail. It had been snowing north of the mountains all day, during the 15th, which, with the accumulation during the winter, made the snow many feet deep, in places as much as 20 feet. While tractors had been over the trail previous to the last snowfall, the trail was by no means well broken. He arrived at Kanatak at 1:30 a.m., on April 16th, to find that the launch which he hoped to use had not as yet returned from Kodiak. A letter of appreciation of his efforts was sent to the Standard Oil Company of San Francisco.
After eating lunch, Sergeant Harvey and I went to sleep with instructions to be called at 10:00 p.m., to assist in bringing the "Seattle" into the creek. We had been provided with beds in the living room belonging to Mr. Charles Madsen which he had vacated for our convenience. But meager accommodations were available in the little village as all the houses were but temporarily constructed shacks. At high tide that night, the "Seattle" was towed up the creek and made fast in the small pond about 100 feet in diameter and having a depth of approximately two and one-half feet at low tide. This was barely possible as the creek was very narrow and it required skillful maneuvering to protect the plane from damage.