Fairchild Tropical Garden Expedition aboard the Cheng Ho 1939-1940
MARCH 1940
 
 
 
 
 
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APRIL 1940
 
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MAY 1940
 
 
 
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JUNE 1940
 
 
 
 
 
 
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JUN 1940
7

Dagasuli Island, Halmahera, Indonesia

Written by Edward Beckwith on Friday, June 7, 1940

The patrol boat had not appeared by 7 A.M. and in fact could not be distinguished with glasses off the coast. Possibly it was a small KPM power boat, but the fact remained that they signaled us with a powerful light which is not usually a part of such equipment.

The patrol boat did not turn up. We learned later that it was a patrol boat and that they had signaled to the village to know whether we were Japanese. When they learned we were American they did not investigate.

Soon after breakfast all of the party except Fenton went out for the day in the large launch. The plan was to investigate the shoals surrounding the southernmost island, Salangadeke . We started with two native guides and helpers but decided that one was enough. When we dismissed one they both went. Why one would not come without the other was unexplained.

We stopped at a very pretty small native settlement to find others. I saw a very fine fish net they were making there and at one side was some sort of good luck charm consisting of an egg in a bowl of rice.

Coast of Salangdeke Island, north Halmahera
Coast of Salangdeke Island, north Halmahera, Indonesia. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Salangdeke Island, north Halmahera
Salangdeke Island, north Halmahera. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Thatched homes on Salangdeke Island, north Halmahera
Thatched homes on Salangdeke Island, north Halmahera. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
 
We went over the beautiful coral shoals to some very small islands named Toco Toco? , which we landed on and on which David found a palm in fruit which I photographed. He asked me to choose which of the three islands I wanted to settle down on. I chose one which was partly jungle, partly grass.

The tide was going out and we had to get off the reef, going to a beach on Salangadeke, where we had lunch under the shade of a cliff. Afterwards there was the usual shell hunting and photographing. David wanted me to take a close up of hermit crabs with their great variety of shells. I set the camera on a tripod, focused on the sand, and he then released the crabs just below the lens. I photographed them as they spread out. Hugo found a flat tropical fish which looked like a dull yellow butterfly and which he could catch in his hand at will. I photographed this also.

Nearly everyone went to sleep on the sand and had a lazy and pleasant time. There were some thirty natives who watched us intently during lunch, carrying on an undertone of comment. Before leaving, Marian gave each of the women a bottle of perfume and David gave marbles to the boys. They were all delighted, but became most excited over a piece of ice from the thermos jug. They had probably never seen any before. We stopped at another beach on Dagasuli and Hugo walked across the island while the rest returned.

I found that David favoured sailing tomorrow for the Talaud Islands and that Hugo thought we had exhausted the possibilities here. I have acted as intermediary on decisions since the feud started between Anne and David, so I told Anne that David was in favor of sailing north. She immediately vetoed this plan and said we would go to the island of Morotai instead. This island is of considerable size, about 25 miles distant, and off the north coast of Halmahera.

I told David and he agreed and there was not much else to be done, — although he would like to get to Zamboanga to make some seed shipments.

Anne called to me to come to the upper deck to look at the stars. She said she hated to leave the Dutch East Indies. I was sorry that she wanted to go to Morotai because I would like to get to Zamboanga to develop the large number of films which have accumulated.

Anne has a very unpleasant attitude towards men, of assuming that they are rather thick headed and need a bright, quick thinking woman like she is to tell them what to do.

Drymophloeus specimen collected on Dagasuli Island
Drymophloeus specimen collected on Dagasuli Island. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Bikkia specimen collected on Dagasuli Island
Bikkia specimen collected on Dagasuli Island. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
 

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