Fairchild Tropical Garden Expedition aboard the Cheng Ho 1939-1940
JANUARY 1940
 
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FEBRUARY 1940
 
 
 
 
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MARCH 1940
 
 
 
 
 
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APRIL 1940
 
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APR 1940
7

Departing Donggala for Makassar, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Written by Edward Beckwith on Sunday, April 7, 1940

I was up before daylight as we had ordered the car at 6 to take us to the steamer bound for Makassar. We were curious to see our 2nd class accommodations. There were few passengers and we each had a large stateroom with three berths in each in the mid section. The 1st class had a more airy dining room and writing room and better deck space with more comfortable chairs. We then looked over the steerage, which was quite full of natives. The smell there was mainly of copra and not nearly as bad as that on the Poigar. It was in general much better than the Poigar. I think Hugo would like to have taken it and saved 31 guilders.

We are now comfortably bound for Makassar and near the end of our trip. It has been highly successful as an interesting experience and especially, I should think, satisfactory from the collecting angle.

Hugo has accumulated 53 specimens, most of which he has been unable to identify. They were obtained mainly in a dry country and should therefore have a good chance of growing in Florida. He will wait to see David before shipping the seeds to Coconut Grove by air mail. I have learned that the shipping of seeds so that they will germinate on arrival is a somewhat uncertain matter. They must first be carefully cleaned to prevent rotting and then packed so as to preserve the proper amount of moisture. This is done by enclosing them in a packing of sphagnum or peat moss. Even with the best care there is much question of their arrival with vitality unimpaired. The difficulty is greater in the case of seeds from tropical trees and plants which are more difficult to preserve than those from the temperate zones, and in general have a shorter term of vitality.

Photographically the trip has been very satisfactory. The specimens which Hugo has collected have been completely covered in color and black and white, both in the field and later through close ups. The fact that we were able to work independently with individual cameras was of considerable advantage. I have developed and filed on the trip to date 181 negatives and have 108 more to develop as soon as there is an opportunity. This does not include the stills in color, which have all been, or will be, shipped by air mail to Eastman in Rochester, N.Y. The total number of these to date is 160. The success of these color films has somewhat the same elements of uncertainty as the shipment of seeds. The film is sensitive to tropical conditions and may have deteriorated before exposure or the time between exposure and development may be have been too long when shipment is made from remote points. In addition to this it has been my experience that a certain number of films are spoiled in processing.

In addition to botanical subjects, a number of views in color and black and white should prove of much interest. Outstanding of these were 24 color stills of native men and women in brilliant native costume at Kulawi, and 100 ft of 16 mm Kodachrome of native dance.

We developed films twice, once at Poso and again at Kulawi, in each case putting through about 10 rolls or 120 films in one to one and a half days time. The operation was satisfactory both times although we used up all the water at the pasang grande at Kulawi. It was possible to keep the temperature of the water below 85 degrees. At Poso some ice was necessary, but at Kulawi, owing to the greater altitude none was needed. The water at Poso was cleaner than that at Kulawi, so that it was easier there to produce clean film.

Hugo and I kept in excellent health during the entire trip and I enjoyed every bit of it. There was no occasion when we were obliged to alter our plans on account of any disability. My worst ailment was a severe sun burn and Hugo’s a sprained and scratched leg through taking a header on a bicycle.

A fellow passenger on the Speelman was a young missionary from Borneo, an American named John Willfinger. He was going to Macassar after several months of severe malaria and had been stationed 100 miles inland on a river at the place named Long Barang . He talked interestingly about it and told us about the difficulties in getting in and out by shooting the rapids on the river. With regard to malaria, he said that atabrine did not agree with him and he had had the best results from quinine, taking as many as 6 pills a day for 5 days. He looked rather pale and ill.

We had to give our cameras to the steward on leaving Donggala.

Sea was smooth with a slight roll toward evening.

Makassar Strait
Makassar Strait, off the west coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photographed in 2004 by de_ar.

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