James Smith looked out from the rail of the M.S. Acoma at San Diego. He had always found the Mexican practice of naming ships for inland towns and cities curious, and this was no exception. He’d never been to Nuevo Mexico, but from the gazetteer he’d consulted it seemed that Acoma was the name of an Indian pueblo somewhere out in the deserts west of Santa Fe. Today the ship would call at San Diego and this evening it would depart for San Francisco. By the following Tuesday he should be in Vancouver and begin his work for his father’s firm. The Acoma cleared the barrier island of Coronado and was guided to its pier in the civilian port, while across the bay much of the Mexican Pacific fleet lay at anchor at its base on Coronado. Messengers ran up the gangplanks before the offloading process began. A few minutes later the ship’s captain came over the loudspeaker announcing in Spanish the shocking news that earlier that day there had been a volcanic eruption in Nicaragua and that conditions in the eruption zone were not yet known. Smith had not intended to go ashore but now joined the crush at the gangway hoping to transmit telegrams to let family know they were ok, to receive new instructions or check on their own families.
After waiting more than two hours Smith finally had the opportunity to send two telegraphs, the telegraph company having chosen to limit the number of transmissions a person was able to send to reduce traffic.
Father have reached San Diego safely STOP Proceeding to San Francisco if any change in plans send to SF STOP
The second was sent to the current president of the Havana Club
In San Diego nine birds missing from exhibit STOP Not seen between Cent Am and here STOP Delivering others to Canada STOP