"By Aeroplane to Pygmyland" Accounts of the 1926 Smithsonian-Dutch Expedition to New Guinea

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Journal of Matthew Stirling
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August 15, 1926 : Head Camp (Lower & Upper) ; Rouffaer River

August 15

This morning Anji Ipoei with 8 Dyaks was [sic] dispatched upstream to see what has happened to Le Roux and Jordans. He has orders to return this evening in any event so that if something is wrong we should know it before dark today. Van Leeuwen is down this morning with a high fever and is feeling very ill. About 2 P.M. we heard the chant of the Dyaks on the river and two canoes came around the turn at express speed. Le Roux was in the canoe with Anji and Jordans was in the other. The stream was so bad with the high water that the Dyaks thought it too dangerous to return. Jordans was out on a patrol when Le Roux arrived and returned on the second day. The Dyaks still thought it too dangerous to return down the river so Le Roux said that they would {p. 214} then return by land. The Dyaks decided then to try the river anyway. Ipoei met them about half way. Jordans and Le Roux reported it a hair raising trip down the stream. The water is shallow and swift and the waves very high. Tomalinda shot a couple of crowned pigeons today and gave one to Le Roux and me. They are as big as a turkey and a welcome change of diet from rice and deng deng [sic]. The Dyaks finished the three pandanus covered houses they have been working on. Van Leeuwen is in one, Posthumous and Jordans in another and Le Roux and I in a third. They are quite comfortable. The overland trip into the mountains from here is going to be very difficult. The jungle is very dense, the trees of hard wood and the moss underfoot very thick and heavy. Jordans yesterday walked back in half an hour over the trail it had taken him two days to cut. Jordans has just recovered from a severe attack of fever which incapacitated him for two weeks.

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