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
8

Dagasuli and Morotai, north Halmahera, Indonesia

Written by Edward Beckwith on Saturday, June 8, 1940

Beach in northern Halmahera
Beach in northern Halmahera. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Beach in northern Halmahera
Beach in northern Halmahera. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
There were a few activities before starting for Morotai Island; photographing specimens took almost an hour and Anne and Marian went ashore.

We raised anchor at 10:30 and steered for the north end of Halmahera. As we were about to round the point and take a straight course for Morotai we sighted a steamer off the port bow going north. Ted identified it as the patrol boat he had seen while we were at our last anchorage. He thought they would surely apprehend us this time and in fact they turned around and came towards us apparently to head us off. Fenton and I hid the cameras and films in the bilge. As the boat approached we distinguished the name “Ahrend” on the bow. We could see through glasses that they uncovered the bow gun and then the stern gun. It certainly looked as though we were to be investigated. Ted ordered one engine stopped so as to support his story that we were proceeding slowly with one engine out of order. The “Ahrend” circled us but did not raise any signals. She then turned and continued on her course. They were apparently satisfied. We all went down to lunch feeling relieved but somewhat let down as we were prepared for an interesting incident.

As we entered the Rao Strait there was the largest tide rip ahead I had ever seen and the large launch which was in tow was almost capsized.

We anchored at 3 P.M. off the native village of Toetoehoe. The beach was black with volcanic sand and did not look particularly interesting.

The names of some of the small islands to the south were amusing. A few samples were, Ngelengele, Giligili, Sungasunga, Rocke Rockete, Bobogongo, and Sumusumu.

I did not go ashore with the others as the coast did not look interesting.

Two green parrots have been acquired by one of the crew, making 3 aboard.

Later I went ashore with Fenton who reported that some sort of celebration was going on in the village. In the middle of the small, dirty but rather picturesque village a group of natives were having a feast, beating gongs and drums, and a few individuals did some solo dancing with a spear and shield. They had all been drinking palm wine which I sampled. It was quite alcoholic but not very good. Fenton would have done some dancing himself with very little encouragement.

The natives were friendly and did not seem as impressed with the novelty of seeing white men as some others.

 

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