Fairchild Tropical Garden Expedition aboard the Cheng Ho 1939-1940
FEBRUARY 1940
 
 
 
 
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MARCH 1940
 
 
 
 
 
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APRIL 1940
 
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MAY 1940
 
 
 
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MAY 1940
28

Pajahi to Gita, Halmahera, Indonesia

Written by Edward Beckwith on Tuesday, May 28, 1940

We moved (about an hour’s sail) to another anchorage near the small village of Gita and inside the small islands of Woda and Rodja. The sail was among reefs and shoals some of which were marked on the chart and some were not. I am now official navigator so had the responsibility of getting the Cheng Ho safely through. We anchored at about 9:15. The anchorage was good, with a very fine view of the volcanic islands, Makian, Moti, Mare and especially Tidore, whose beautiful volcanic cone rose above the low island. There were none of the fine white coral beaches in sight which made the northern Batjan coast so attractive. Most of the coast appeared to be mangrove.

It looked like rain and Anne immediately became active in getting the awning arranged to drain water into the tanks. She has made me her expert adviser on how to do this. This time I made her leave the awning over the chart table and upper deck unchanged. She ordered a large bamboo and had it split. I had this arranged in gutters along the edge of the awning so that water would drain into the deck tanks.

Areca specimen collected at Pajahi Bay, Halmahera
Areca specimen collected at Pajahi Bay, Halmahera. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Areca specimen collected at Pajahi Bay, Halmahera
Areca specimen collected at Pajahi Bay, Halmahera. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Areca specimen collected at Pajahi Bay, Halmahera
Areca specimen collected at Pajahi Bay, Halmahera. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
I was just in the middle of photographing some specimens when the rains came. It was heavy for a short time and plenty of water went into the tanks. Anne seemed to enjoy running around the deck and getting wet giving directions to Ah Fook and Ah Gun about draining the water.

In the afternoon David, Anne Hugo, Fenton and I took the small launch and went in search of a river which we had heard was near the town. We did not find it, although we went for some distance into the mangrove inlet, and later found that it was further up the coast. We then landed at the village on the small island of Woda, where Anne and Marian were with the large launch gathering shells. Marian was very active and and had waded out in the water where Hugo joined her. I investigated the town and returned to the boats where I waited for the others to get through with their prolonged shell hunting. There was a very beautiful sunset over the crater of Moti.

Twenty six rolls of undeveloped film have accumulated and I wanted to look up a stream somewhere and develop them, as in spite of the rains, we are conserving fresh water. David did not wish me to do this, with his usual apprehensive and cautious attitude he was afraid something might happen to the film.

We all discussed future plans after leaving here, and they remained rather indefinite.

There are two radios on board, one in the deck house and one in the dining room. Anne operates the one in the deck house and Hugo usually the one in the dining room. Their principal use is to get war news, and tonight came word of the surrender of Belgium to the Germans and the serious position of the English and French force on the continent.

Collecting shells on the beach at Woda Island
Collecting shells on the beach at Woda Island. Photographed by David Fairchild.
Sun setting behind Moti volcano
Sun setting behind Moti volcano, photographed from Woda Island by Edward Beckwith.
Sunset on the beach at Woda Island
Sunset on the beach at Woda Island. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Sunset on the beach at Woda Island
Sunset on the beach at Woda Island. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.

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