"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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May 11, 1926 : Albatross Camp (Base Camp) ; Mamberamo River

May 11th

This morning the mist hung low over the mountains but cleared away about 9 A.M. It remained clear and hot until about 5 P.M. when a thunder storm came up. This has been the regular routine for the weather ever since we arrived here. There is not very much wind, which is a good thing as it would not take much to wreck our temporary huts. This afternoon the Albatross announced her return with a series of blasts on her siren which awoke the echoes for miles around. She cast anchor at about 4 P.M. Jordan and I went out to meet her on the motor boat and met Captain Posthumous and Lieut. Cortemann, the supply {p. 61} officer. Their arrival will take a lot of work from Jordan's hands. The Albatross is loaded even heavier then she was on our first trip and will probably have to make two more round trips to Seroei. This evening Anji Ipoei came over to our shack and we spent the evening with him telling what the plane could do and describing the wonders of America as illustrated by the "Saturday Evening Post". He told us that the Dyaks call the aeroplane "Kapal Trabang" [sic, = kapal terbang (Malay)], "flying ship" and Hans and Prince are called by them the "orang burm" [sic, = orang burung (Malay) "bird man"] or manbirds.

"..."Moon Mullins" who is our "strong arm" man as chief assistant mechanic."

I think he left us in a bewildered frame of mind, but half an hour later Dick went past the Dyak house, and Anji was sitting on his elevated seat with all of the other Dyaks gathered around, orating with all his might. Hans and Prince have almost completed the float for the plane. They are using Han's convict "Moon Mullins" who is our "strong arm" man as chief assistant mechanic. My boy is mandoer or chief of the boys and also head cook under Stan's able direction. Just heard the story of how my boy happens to be in jail - it's a good one. Le Roux'[s] boy is our only petty criminal. According to his own statement, he found a rope and brought it home. Next morning when he went out to get it, there was a cow attached to it. Our radio has not yet gotten in communication with the outside world. Until the Albatross arrived today they did not know the plane had arrived safely.

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