Fairchild Tropical Garden Expedition aboard the Cheng Ho 1939-1940
NOVEMBER 1939
 
 
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
DECEMBER 1939
 
 
 
 
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
JANUARY 1940
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
FEBRUARY 1940
 
 
 
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
NOV 1939
24

Honolulu to Midway.

Written by Edward Beckwith on Friday, November 24, 1939

Midway Atoll

Midway Atoll. By Midway Journey
White Tern on Midway

White Tern on Midway. By Midway Journey
Laysan Albatross on Midway

Laysan Albatross on Midway. By libraryman
Midway Cable Station

Ruins of Midway Cable Station, photographed in 2009 by Midway Journey
Called at 5:30 for flight 1300 miles to Midway. Many passengers got on here making 18 in all which filled all seats on the plane. Seven of these were bound for Midway in connection with fortification work.

All baggage was examined again for explosives. This has been done since the disappearance of the Clipper between Guam and Manila.

The entire flight was above broken clouds and nothing but clouds and ocean the whole way and no boats or steamers at any time. I remarked to Gauss that if we had to come down it would be a long time before a steamer arrived. Mrs. Gauss remonstrated with me for speaking of such a thing. I said it might be a good idea to see if the life preservers fitted properly.

On approaching Midway at 3:30 PM corrected time the plane reduced altitude very slowly, long before the island was in sight.

The first view of Midway was a beautiful sight. Two portions covered with green and connected by an almost perfect semicircular lagoon. The plane was moored and the passengers landed in a launch.

The Pan Am Small inn was very clean and attractive. Boys in white uniforms. It was surrounded by numbers of large gooney birds the Laysan albatross, many of whom were sitting on a single large egg. They were quite tame and I stroked one sitting on an egg, but on trying to catch another later I got a good bite on the wrist, quite red and bloody. The noises these birds made were extraordinary, snapping their beaks, croaking and whistling, also carrying on elaborate dance ceremonies opposite each other.

There is an Army and Navy base here and a cable station with about 35 employees.

Met a Mr. Hadden through Meyers who is a plant and bug expert. He asked me to request Fairchild to send him seeds of plants which would grow in coral limestone sand to keep the sand from drifting on the island. He wrote on a slip:

“Fred C. Hadden, Midway Islands, N.P.O., U.S.A. desires seeds plants that will grow in pure coral CaCo3 (limestone) sand or rubble. Seeds may be shipped to Dr. H.L. Lyon, Director Experimental Station, Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association, P.O. Box 411, Honolulu. T.H. so he will forward them to F.C. Hadden.”

Had dinner with three of the crew, one of them Capt. Hamilton of the Clipper. Interesting talk and I told them about my Alaska experiences with planes. [Ned participated in the ill-fated Cosmic Ray Expedition to Mt. McKinley. See page 48 of A History of Mount McKinley National Park.]

Took walk in evening with Doria and Gauss along the pure white beach bordering the very opalescent water. The island is small, about 5 miles around it.

A stay of one night is included in the trip but in case of delay or voluntary stay the charge is $10 a day.

Also took a short walk with Mr. Eddison, an Englishman going from Honolulu to Hong Kong.

There is a small bird, about the size of a pigeon which can fly but seems disinclined to leave the ground. I caught two without difficulty. There are also pure white love birds. I saw them flying but did not catch any.

Went to bed at 9:30 with the goonies snapping their beaks and croaking outside the window.

Submit a comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>