I thought I would stay on board being rather tired after navigation responsibilities since 5 A.M., but David wanted me to go along with him, Anne, Fenton and Hugo up one of the rivers which was marked on the chart. I took some bearings to show where the entrance to the two rivers marked should be located. The one we tried, after getting directions from a native in a prau, was not very near the spot I had located as the correct one and I will check up to see if the chart is inaccurate, as it is quite possible. The river went in about 3 miles, when it became too shallow for the launch. The first part was mangrove. David found nothing whatever of interest botanically, but collected a good many tree snails to take back to his friend Manley who is studying evolution .
We stopped at a native landing and walked inland to a native settlement which was quite interesting, some of the houses having a form of architecture which I had not seen before. The men were friendly but the women kept very much in the background. It must be extremely seldom that these people ever see a white person. Suspicion was evident in some cases, the general one being that we are Japanese or German.
There were an unusual number of large lizards on the banks and we saw two medium sized crocodiles disappear in the water.
Hugo and Fenton were very active in hunting butterflies and caught some beautiful specimens. They each had a green butterfly net and each would blame the other when he missed one. I steered and ran the launch but could not get excited over these activities. The river was interesting and beautiful. The natives at the village were greatly amused by Hugo and Fenton’s butterfly catching. It must have appeared to them as the most ridiculous thing imaginable.
We came to a sort of pool at the side of the stream with a small waterfall. Anne and David got out and David got into the mud, getting wet and dirty. Anne made the rest go out of sight while she took a swim in the pool. When she came out she looked more dirty than when she went in. My Rolleiflex went out of order and I spent some time and spoiled some film in fixing it. The complex devices on this camera make it more likely to get out of order than a more simple one.
We had lunch in the launch and returned at 5.
Marian and Kilkenney had been off all morning in the large launch exploring the surrounding islands. They found a cave filled with bats and were very enthusiastic about the beautiful shores. Ted spoke of it as a “photographer’s paradise.”
Ted thought this bay was an air base for sea planes but a native we asked said none came here. My impression is that this is the most remote and safe spot we have been to.