Fairchild Tropical Garden Expedition aboard the Cheng Ho 1939-1940
NOVEMBER 1939
 
 
 
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DECEMBER 1939
 
 
 
 
 
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JANUARY 1940
 
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FEBRUARY 1940
 
 
 
 
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FEB 1940
23

Gorontalo to Marisa, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Written by Edward Beckwith on Friday, February 23, 1940

John Fant with a coconut crab (Birgus latro)
John Fant with a coconut crab (Birgus latro) off the coast of Marisa, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photographed by Edward Beckwith
Coconut crab (Birgus latro)
Coconut crab (Birgus latro) photographed in 2006 by fearlessRich
We started at 4 A.M. Heard later that Anne came on the upper deck and made a row, and that Fant told her “we are on vacation and don’t have to pick everything up.” Anne did not turn up till 10 AM which was unusual. She was indignant at Fant.

In hoisting the mainsail some of the guys to a batten got caught and the engine hoist broke the gaff. There will be no more sailing for sometime.

David has bad cramps in his legs at night and Marian said they have been getting worse.

We followed the coast line rather closely. It was of little interest. Some reefs and interesting small islands; but the coast consisted of hills where the wood had been cut in places. One of the Togian Islands was visible in the distance. Passed through a very active school of fish and finally caught one.

At 2:30 we were very close to the small island settlement of Marisa, which is off the coast beyond Bumbulan when we ran aground on a sand bar. We were off by backing the engines in about 15 min. Finally we anchored near the settlement of a few native huts. David wanted to come here because he had heard in Gorontalo that Maleos were here. I stayed on board to photograph some specimens while the others went ashore in the launch.

We have a very vicious land crab on board which I photographed. This crab can crush a piece of hard wood in its pincers and is said to eat coconuts. They  are found mainly on a single island off this coast. Their method of eating coconuts is to climb a tree, drop the coconut, and return to the ground to crack and eat the pieces.

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