M.V. Tolten
May 11, 1938

Dear Mom, Dad, & Family,

One letter, I'm afraid, will have to do for everyone. I can't seem to get the ambition to write personally to each one. Seeing as how they would all say the same, everyone will just have to read this. O.K.?

How is everyone at home? Still in high spirits, I hope. I wish I were. If you all think seasickness is fun, try it sometime. This letter is being written second day out on the ocean. (about 300 mi) Darn old tub won't do over 12 knots per hour! I am lying in my bunk now, following a light lunch. I really had to force it down, but so far it is still there, hope it stays.

For three hours of the first day, I laughed at the thought of getting sick. Shucks! This boat is too heavy (5348 gross tons) to sway much. Then we hit some pretty rough sea. Spray crashed over the top deck and kept going. I found a clean place on the rail, (someone else had already been there) and proceeded to heave and pitch right along with the ship. My! but you feel better when it's all gone! I just "skipped" lunch that day, and for dinner I ate an orange; that lasted about seven minutes... "gone with the wind!"

Today I feel much better. I ate rather slowly at breakfast, just testing out my motor again. I fed it lightly and it stayed. For lunch I indulged a bit more heavily; its still down. My appetite is still all right and aiming for dinner tonite.

On board we have quite a number of things to keep us busy. Reading, writing, playing shuffle-board, deck tennis, Quoits, eating and sleeping. As long as my stomach feels good, I think I'll enjoy the ocean trip. More tomorrow.

Wolf, Ezra, and Me on board Tolten 3 days out. May 12, 1938

May 12, 3rd Day. Still heading Southwest. Feel much better today. Played deck games & read all day.

May 13, 4th Day. Gee, its hard to keep tract of days and dates. Still feeling fine. Good appetite and everything. My face is quite blistered... sunburned. This sun is hard to judge. Same Routine as yesterday.

Sat. May 14, 5th Day. Still traveling S.W. The ocean is beginning to get monotonous. Water everywhere. Everything as usual today except that we had life-boat drill, and Oh yes! I beat the German, who has held the shuffle-board championship on board ship since we started. That puts me on top now. Hope I stay there. I already have the tennis and Quoits championship reputation. No telling for how long though. Cloudy weather. Ocean quite calm. Weigh 141 lbs.

Sunday May 15. 6th Day. Sunday makes no difference to the ocean or English seamen. The only difference was a little better variety of food and ice cream. At 8:00 P.M. the engine broke down. We are stalled about 1,200 miles from land. They had an extra piston (that is what broke) so it is under repair now. The ship can't be steered so we are just drifting off our course.

Monday. 16, 7th Day. After 21 hours of steady labor, they finally fixed things; we are on our way once again. An interesting thing happened this morning. One of the passengers hooked a big shark estimated around 250 lbs. After 2 hrs & 35 min. he had just about had it when his line broke. This may sound like "the one that got away," but 20 witnesses can't be wrong. He got it to the surface three times, and we were able to see it plainly and also the "pilot" fish. That was the only thing that made the delay worth-while. (Don't mind this small writing, but I must say as much as I can in small space because everything over 2 ounces in postage costs heavily.)

May 17th Tuesday 8th Day. I signed off yesterday too soon. I wrote just after we had started again, and two minutes later three more pistons went "out". We have been delayed ever since five o'clock yesterday with them. Last night another shark was hooked. The line was only a 25 lb test and a guy has to take his time to land anything with it. After 3 hrs & 45 min (way into mid-nite) the line broke again. This time they lost about 100 yds of line. No more staying up watching like that again for me.

The freighter and its cargo of Lumber

This morning I saw a monstrous sized swordfish swim by the stern. It was about 15 ft long. (Estimation by other people that saw it.) A sight like that once in awhile breaks the monotony of the trip.

We are once again on our way. Can't do over 10 knots an hour.

May 18, Wednesday.9th Day. Raining today. I stayed in my cabin and read Doc. & Cov. and slept. Hitting on 5 pistons out of 8. Made 235 mi. last 24 hrs. Very monotonous.

May 19, Thursday.Mis-judged tropical sun and I surely sunburned my legs. My face, arms, and back are brown but my legs can't take it yet. Made 219 mi. today. Read I and II Nephi in B. of J., 20 Sec. of Doc. & Cov., and chapters of Ess. of Church History. (Tell Mrs. Tanner I think a lot of that book. Very swell!)And that covers the diary for today.

May 20, Fri. 11th Day. Today we crossed the Equator. They surely took us and ducked us for our initiation, but the sailors got smeared with paint, grease, and soap, and then ducked. No more seasickness; still feeling great even though I am very tired of water.

May 21, Sat.Another life-boat drill was all that broke the monotony of today, and that didn't help. Surely be glad when we see land again. 257 mi. today.

May 22, Sunday.Still hold championships even though closely contested lately. Today has been awful. I just stayed in my cabin and read. It is awfully hot; worst yet. Have read 400 pages of Ess. of Ch. History now. Sure a swell book; can't leave it alone.

May 23, Monday 14th Day. Today we made 281 mi, leaving only 320 to do. Hope to get in by tomorrow at 4:00 P.M. About time, I'd say. Today passed rather quickly and pleasantly. Lost and won shuffle board champ. for last time. Also did a little more reading.

Believe it or not, I still haven't thought of a single thing that I could use that I forgot to bring. The only possible thing would have been a pair of those light washable pants for everyday use; they would be handy.

May 24, Tuesday 15th Day. After 15 days of travel, we are finally here. It was really worth it too! This place is one paradisical place if ever I saw one! It's just plain beautiful and I can't say more. (I'll write more tomorrow after I calm down.)

Te Misioni Tahiti
Ua haamatahia i te matahiti 1844 e ua opanihia e te Ekalesia i te matahiti 1940. 

Landing Wharf at Papeete from the deck of the "Tolten".
Te tapaeraa pahi. 

May 25, Yes, tonite I am more myself. I really don't feel like doing anything either. We held a farewell party for two of the returning Missionarys. The program consisted of Tahitian so you can about tell what we (threee of us) got out of it. There were about 10 Saints present. (All saints in Papeete) After the program, we had to walk down the isle greeting everyone and shaking hands. I increased my vocabulary more ways than one. Then everyone was served ice-cream. Who said we wouldn't get ice cream in Tahiti? The Saints were all given some and then they went home. That left just eight Miss. here. We ate all the ice cream & cake we could possibly hold. In fact there was over a gallon left. Today I have eaten besides the ice cream, eight large bananas, an avacodo, a half pinapple (practically) three oranges, besides breakfast and a large dinner.

This afternoon we ordered our clothes. I ordered, (with the assistance of Elder Palmer, who is in charge, one white suit with two pairs of pants, one cream-colored suit with two pair of pants, two brown coats with three pair of pants to match. The brown suits are for everyday wear and travel and the two light ones are for Sunday. This all came to 720 francs, with a possible discount. (In American money it is about $20 or $22 for all. Not bad for three (?) years clothing, do you think? Best quality too. (All but for linen.) Well, that is all for tonite. The Island is still swell!

May 26.
Tonite I'll mail this letter so that it will go out on tomorrow's ship. Well, this will give you a fair description of what has taken place each day, and what I think of my field of labor. No telling when the next letter will be. If you really get a good chance to speak to Pres. Stevens and he asks if there is anything he can bring me, get about two or three pair of canvas shoes, just the half shoe in white. (I don't need them yet, but the Elders all say they wish they had them. Also you might send another stationery tablet or two with envelopes. I guess that's all.

Well take care of yourselves, all of you. Don't worry about me; I bet I get along better and feel better than I have felt for a long time. You be good; I have to be.

Love from one who loves you, Rutena (Tahitian name, for Rudeen)