"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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April 9, 1926 : Java (Soerabaia)

April 9th

This morning at daylight we docked at Soerabaia. Dick, Stanley and I went uptown to make a number of necessary purchases and Hans and Prince went to the Navy Flying field to get the plane and bring it to the ship. After we returned to the Fomalhout we found a number of newspaper reporters anxious for interviews, and a little later the governor for Ambon came aboard. He has charge of the whole eastern Dutch Archipelago, including New Guinea.

The plane arrived about 11 A.M. and was hoisted on the after[-]deck without much difficulty. She looked in fine shape and as bright as a new dollar.

"The plane arrived about 11 A.M. and was hoisted on the after[-]deck without much difficulty."

As soon as the Ern was aboard we loaded the rest of our aviation gas from a B.P.M. lighter which came alongside for the purpose - most of it under and around the plane. The ship is now loaded from stem to stern with enough gasoline, kerosine, alcohol and dynamite to blow up half the Celebes sea, and now there is no deck space remaining where we may sit in the evening as before. {p. 5} The custom on board is when we finish luncheon, which takes place about 2 P.M., to take a siesta until four or five. Then everyone roams around the ship in pajamas and sandals until 8:30 P.M. when we all put on our whites for dinner. We have been sitting in deck chairs on the after[-]deck, but tonight there is no place to sit except inside.

At Soerabaia we took aboard our 3 Navy radio operators. They are clean and cool looking in their spotless white uniforms which give them a much neater appearance than the army uniforms permit.

We sailed from Soerabaia and through the Straits of Madoera at 12 P.M. The high mountains of eastern Java were a beautiful sight from our starboard beam and by evening, it being a little hazy, no land was to be seen. The afternoon was spent in a [V1: "a" is crossed out] pajama conference wherein our plans were discussed in considerable detail by all hands.

Since from lack of space we were unable to take on the bulk of our foodstuffs and tools, another ship will leave Soerabaia with them tomorrow and will follow us to Ambon where we will also meet the Albatross.

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