Overnight to Hawaii

Resting alongside the floating pier, ready for departure, the Clipper looks gigantic. Uniformed attendants are stowing into her forward holds bulging sacks of mail, rushed at the last minute from other airports where overland airliners had sped it from every section of the country. Then boxes of air express - winged envoys for America's billion-dollar trade with the Orient. One bell rings out. The Captain and his five flight officers file up the gangway. One by one the big engines start, turning their propellers in glistening arcs. Two bells. Passengers aboard! Past a wall of waving handkerchiefs, a chorus of shouted farewells, the Clipper moves slowly out into the bay. A turn into the wind. A muffled roar of the powerful engines. Suddenly, so smoothly that the break is imperceptible, the giant rises easily into the sky. Hawaii - the next stop! Hawaii - twenty-five hundred miles across the ocean - for breakfast! Below you, immediately, the whole, colorful panorama of San Francisco - the great bridges, the Golden Gate, the Marina, as the Clipper moves out to sea, and you are cruising a mile or more above the ocean - cruising steadily toward the flaming rays of a setting sun into a world of infinite blue. Your fellow passengers begin to move about the great airliner, to explore its big compartments, to look through the curtained door into the Navigation Office - and beyond, where the flight officers are going about their many duties with that confident precision gained from long experience that testifies to the complete mastery of their art. Over tea the steward makes you acquainted with any fellow passengers you have not already met, tells you interesting bits about the ship, the course, the remarkable flight routine. Swiftly, and interestingly, the hours race on. Through your window priceless panoramas of sea and sky are constantly parading for your excited gaze. Fantastic patterns of clouds against the background of sea or sky. Sunset - and, who would not thrill to their first flying sunset a mile or more above the sea? Or to the brilliant canopy of flashing stars just overhead. Or to the flood of moonbeams dancing on the mottled surface of the sea far below. Or to the glittering outline of a steamer overtaken in mid-ocean, her lights full on, her decks crowded with thrilled spectators, her powerful searchlight sending up a shaft of dazzling blue-white light in greeting, as you swiftly pass her by. Then dinner - served on tables gay with spotless linen, flashing china and silver - in the Dining-Lounge. A game of bridge. A chapter in your favorite book. All too quickly the evening passes. As drowsiness steals over you, the steward arranges your cabin, makes ready your berth, brings your bag to the dressing room. Soon you have slipped into a restful, unbroken night's slumber. Broad daylight again, when you are awakened. Time to dress, for a cup of coffee, before your first, thrilling glimpse of the Hawaiian Islands! From beyond a blue horizon the majestic form of Mauai first rises out of the sea! Then the mountains of Molokai. Through the purple distance the big island of Hawaii suddenly looms. Ahead, Oahu quickly grows into sharp focus - vivid green mountains, mottled fields, patches of reddish brown earth, glistening white beach set off by rich foliage, all in sharp contrast to the delicate shading of rapidly shallowing waters. Beyond one wing is Makapu, the famous lighthouse, and the powerful Direction-Finding station that has been drawing the Clipper steadily through the night. Beyond the other wing, famed Diamond Head. Waikiki Beach and its rolling surf. The picture city of Honolulu itself. The Pali. Pearl Harbor, as the Clipper circles gracefully toward her landing channel. Another moment and colorful, fragrant leis of exotic island flowers, soft, rhythmic music of guitars, and soft-sung songs of dancing Hula girls bid you Aloha - the age-old welcome to Hawaii, island paradise of the Pacific. But who can describe the alluring charm of these lovely islands? They are now just overnight from California - but one day and one night from any city in the United States - on the skyroad to the Orient!

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