"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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December 15, 1926 : Manokwari

December 15

Spent some time today talking about the "Badjo laut"[,] the Malay sea rovers who have no fixed place of abode but live {p. 309} all over the Archipelago in their canoes. They are real sea gypsies with their own government, customs and language. There are several tribes of them, each tribe with their own head man. Formerly they were pirates but now they just live from the sea. Yesterday noon we pulled into Manokwari, where we went ashore until 5 P.M. I bought a lot of Papuan beadwork and we got a few suits of pajamas to wear on the boat. Schrieber is away in the "Papua" so we did not see him; Engells was the only white man present. At 6 P.M. we sailed again, {*} this time to leave New Guinea for good. About 10 P.M. we ran into a heavy squall and for a couple of hours the rain came down in a regular deluge, flooding the decks and making a miserable night for the Dyaks who had no dry spot where they could take refuge. All morning we have been skirting the mountainous coast of the "Bird's Head", the western part of New Guinea, which offers a splendid mountain panorama.

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