Along the Islands to Midway

From Honolulu westward to speed into a travel world where, until the coming of the flying clipper ships, scarcely a hundred white men, in all recorded history, ever set adventurous foot. As you leave Honolulu on your second day's aerial voyage of discovery, the Clipper's course affords a colorful panorama of the western and northern sections of the island of Oahu - lovelier than ever from the air with its mottled fields of sugar-cane, its forests of stately palms, its foliage-covered hills and glistening arcs of beach. Then through the morning a score of islands pass in review below - each different, each in a magnificent setting of brilliant iridescent waters, crystal clear to the shelving ocean's floor beneath. Nihoa, where the crumbling walls of a prehistoric settlement add an intriguing element of age-old mystery to your exciting exploration ... one - a private domain, where one family through generations has ruled like the royal dynasties of old, where radio, telephone, motion pictures and automobiles are unknown - and unwanted. Smaller and smaller the islands become. Gardiner Pinnacles, that passengers so often - and excitedly - hail as a sailing vessel, so much like a tall-masted schooner do these perfectly shaped rocks, with their pure white crests, appear from a distance. French Frigate shoals - a wide arc of barrier reef where the pounding surf hurls up sprays of foam. Then, not long after luncheon, off in the distance there comes into view a circle of white with two dark spots within the ring - Midway Islands! Soon the Clipper is circling over the little atoll - a circular lake, eighteen miles in circumference, astoundingly set here in the middle of the ocean. Against white coral sand and clumps of green magnolia trees, the neat, sturdy buildings of the Pan American Base stand out. There is a golf course in the sand! Beyond, a dozen buildings - quarters for the staff, a power house, a refrigeration plant and warehouse, the well-kept compound of the cable relay station. Tall windmills. The substantial-looking V-shaped hotel. A long pier. A launch standing beside the mooring line at the landing float, waiting to take passengers ashore. Automobiles at the end of the pier to transport you to the hotel. And thousands of beautiful broad-winged birds wheel excitedly over the island to bid you a noisy welcome. At the hotel - astonishingly well appointed - you are assigned to your private room and bath while uniformed attendants care for you luggage. With the early start from Honolulu, and the short nine-hour flight, you are probably ready for a second luncheon - since, with the change in time, it is scarcely two o'clock by the time you reach the islands. From then on there are a hundred lures for your time. Perhaps a swim in the sheltered, crystal-clear water ... a stretch under the sun on the finest beach in the world - soft, porous, always cool coral sand, as smooth as a table and as soft as a feather mattress. Or a tour of exploration around the island itself. Perhaps to search for a memento of one of the ancient wrecks ... it was on Midway that the Wandering Minstrel, which inspired Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Wrecker," crashed herself on the reefs - as have other luckless sailing vessels in days gone by. Or a round of golf on the Pacific Cable Company's unique gold course, measured out in the sand, with carpet tees and red golf balls. Or an hour or two of fishing in the lagoon or out on the open sea beyond the reefs. As small as it is, there is enough to do on Midway Islands to keep you pleasantly engaged for two exciting weeks. Your afternoon enables you to sample a few of its many attractions. Even if you do elect to spend the entire time in the company of the interesting - and always interested - Gooney Birds, famous for their song-and-dance act, you are sure of an unforgettable experience.

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