"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 26, 1926 : Head Camp (Lower & Upper) ; Rouffaer River

August 26

Early this morning Le Roux and I brought what was left of our luggage in the canoe and went up to the Upper Camp. Le Roux'[s] convict, Sian, went with us, there being no room for Shorty, who will come up with the next transport in a few days. Saleh will follow up the next day or so slowly, measuring the river as he comes. There are some bad places in the river between the two camps, as the river here enters the gorge and is very swift and the water very rough. It makes heavy and skilful going for the Dyaks. Coming down is more dangerous as the canoes are tossed like chips on the big waves and the water is shallow enough that there is always the menace of sunken rocks. The upper camp is situated on a bench at the point on the west side formed by the junction of the River "C" with the Rouffaer.

"The upper camp is situated on a bench at the point on the west side formed by the junction of the River "C" with the Rouffaer."

Across the river entering from the other side is another small river of about the same size as River "C". These two small rivers have fine clear water and right by the Camp, River "C" with its clean sand bottom and big clean boulders makes a wonderful bathing place after the muddy waters we have been accustomed to. River "C" evidently does not come from {p. 223} as high altitudes as the Rouffaer as its waters are much warmer. This point marks the end of Doorman's exploration of the Rouffaer in 1912 and from here on the river is absolutely unknown. As from here on the river is impassible for canoes, we are starting now cutting our overland trail along the west side of the river. As the mountains are very rough, this promises to be a difficult task and one that will, unless we have unexpected good luck, progress slowly. There are no fish in the clear waters of these small streams and for that matter no fish in the Rouffaer here, the water being too strong for the catfish. These small streams would make wonderful trout streams with their crystal pure waters and boulder beds, the water too is cold enough, I think.

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