Cleve Bovee

Life on Atoll Described by Seabee Bovee
CLEVE BOVEE, SEABEE
C
leve Bovee, of Fairchild, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Bovee, formerly of Eau Claire, now of International Falls, MN and a member of the Seabees, is somewhere in the South Pacific.

In a letter, dated March 14 and written to his parents, he tells of being on this atoll for more than a month, which he says is quite a change from Honolulu, where be had evidently been stationed before that.

He also tells of having rifle ammunition issued to the force there and was intrigued to find that it came from the Eau Claire Ordnance Plant and pronounced it "good stuff."

He also tells of the great variety of fish which abounds there, some of which he has caught. 

Bovee's Letter
The text of his letter follows:

"March 14, 1944

"Dear Mother, Dad and Twins:

"Please excuse this long overdue letter. . . We have been out on this atoll now for over a month and it is quite a change from Honolulu. We have been working 12 hours a day since we landed here but are beginning to get caught up a little now, so it isn't so bad. 

"This is a very pretty place here, or at least it was until we came, mostly coconut palms with some bread fruit and Lahala trees, but that's about all. 

"I bought a diving mask in Honolulu and made me a gig spear that is shot with rubber bands, like a sling shot, and have become quite a goggle fisherman. There are just about all the tropical fish in existence here, including shark, porpoises and stingrays. The porpoises are very large; some of them must be twenty feet long. The big sharks never come into the shallow water, only the small sand sharks. But you have to watch out for the stingrays which are as big as a wash tub. It isn't hard to do with the glasses. The reason glass is necessary is that they make everything clear and keep the salt water out of your eyes. 

"'I have got some nice-sized tuna and Bonita, which are a silver-colored fish and very good eating. I have seen a couple of small octopus about six feet across but no large ones. They are more or less harmless, if you leave them alone.

"I would sure like to bring home some of the small angel and butterfly fish for a fish bowl but that would be impossible, I guess. There is a goat fish, which has a beard, and a parrot fish with a mouth like a parrot's bill, a trigger fish with a head as big as his body, zebra fish and about a million more I don't know the names of. There are no mosquitoes here and a good trade wind from the northeast all the time. The average temperature is 85 degrees, which is pretty warm, if it wasn't for the trades or if the island was wider.  The sun is very intense, as we are practically on the equator."