Fairchild Tropical Garden Expedition aboard the Cheng Ho 1939-1940
APRIL 1940
 
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MAY 1940
 
 
 
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JUNE 1940
 
 
 
 
 
 
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JULY 1940
 
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JUL 1940
4

Manila, Philippines

Written by Edward Beckwith on Thursday, July 4, 1940

Ted came in late and took the other bed in my room. Very heavy rain all night. Undecided still about best way to go home. Fenton came in at noon. He had a young girl with him. Stayed in hotel all day and rested. Mrs. McKay called up at four and asked me to dinner.

This seems to be a good time to summarize the trip since leaving Macassar on April 25. The most important feature of this part of the trip was our visit to the Molucca Islands, the original objective of the expedition and in fact the islands around which the entire trip had been planned. What was seen of them fully justified David’s interest of many years standing. In beauty and from a botanical standpoint they could hardly have been excelled. It was unfortunate that so much time was spent in other parts before reaching them, but it could hardly have been foreseen that the European War would be the cause of shortening the time that is possible to spend there. We were obliged to leave without visiting Ceram, Misool, Banda, the Kei and Aru islands and a large part of Halmahera and Bacan.

The stops were as follows:

  • Left Macassar – April 25, 1940
  • Raba off SE coast of Celebes – April 27
  • Wowoni Island – April 28
  • Buru Island – May 1
  • Manipa Island – May 5
  • Ambon – May 7
  • Mandioli Island – May 18
  • Kasiruta Island – May 20
  • Batjan – Salipogot Island anchorage – May 22
  • Batjan – Noesa Raloid Island anchorage – May 24
  • Pajahi Bay, Halmahera – May 26
  • Off town of Gita, Halmahera – May 28
  • Makian Island – May 30
  • South Loloda Bay, Halmahera – May 31
  • North Loloda Islands,Halmahera – June 6
  • Morotai Island – June 8
  • Arangkaa, Karakelong Island, Talaud Islands – June 11
  • Zamboanga P.I. – June 16
  • Cebu, P.I. – June 29

Of these anchorages, the two outstanding for beauty of scenery were Buru on May 1, and South Loloda Bay, Halmahera May 31. The Buru anchorage was almost at the foot of a 7000 ft. peak and was in a small bay surrounded by island which extended on all sides. The shore on the Buru side was steep and at our point a strong current of cold fresh water came from the rocks directly into the bay. The surroundings were all beautiful and interesting, wonderfully colored coral reefs under water, and several small islands nearby. There was a small native settlement some distance beyond. Cajaput oil was made on one of the islands in primitive stills.

The South Loloda Bay anchorage was also protected by small islands. One of these was especially interesting on account of its steep rocky and pinnacled shores at the base of which were caves filled with bats and swallows. There were tunnels completely through some of the small islands through which the launch could go. A pinnacle of rock with vegetation on top came out of the sea nearby reaching a height of 827 feet. There were two rivers, both of which were explored in the launch. Distant about 20 miles, was a volcano apparently just entering an active period.

Other anchorages which less marked for beauty of surroundings, were also extremely interesting. North Loloda Islands off northern Halmahera were surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and a very picturesque native settlement on one of the islands. It was here that Ted saw signals from a Dutch patrol boat which later circled the junk with guns uncovered.

At the small native settlement of Toetoehoe on Morotai Island I had planned to take photographs of the celebration which was going on when we were sent on our way by a native official. The settlement and natives were unusually picturesque.

Hugo spent a night out on Batjan and caused a good deal of anxiety although he was actually in no danger.

The tragic news of the invasion of Holland by Germany came while we were at Ambon. The first news we had that something was wrong was when David and I were prevented by a policeman from leaving my hotel. No explanation was offered and we found later that it was because all the Germans were being arrested and placed in jail. The intense depression of the Dutch officials, most of whom had families in Holland, was evident everywhere. Another result of the invasion was the jailing of all those who were suspected of Nazi sympathies. Among them was the commandant whom we had seen very often. By order from Batavia the junk was held for a week, five guards put on board, and all firearms taken ashore.

Anne’s decision to turn the Cheng Ho to Ellis Schofield, the Baptist missionary, for transfer to Tahiti, was arrived at without advice and without much information regarding him, except what he gave himself. Schofield has promised to write me. It seems very uncertain as to whether the whole plan will work out eventually.

I dined at the George Fairchilds. David and Marian were still visiting them. Mrs. Fairchild, Mr. and Mrs. McKay, Blanquita Hildago, and young Lydia were there. “Baby” was in Bagio.

We had a pleasant evening and I stayed up till twelve with Mr. and Mrs. McKay and Blanquita recounting incidents of the trip, and talking about Anne. Mrs. McKay suggested that I go up to their house in Bagio with the Fairchilds, but I was non committal. Finally drove home with Blanquita who is much interested in photography and I have promised to help her.

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