"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 10, 1926

April 10th

At sea all day. We passed a number of small islands with coral beaches backed up with dense vegetation. They look quite enticing and one cannot help wishing to land.

Telegrams were sent out today announcing the final schedule on which our plans will be carried out. It is certainly a convenience to say the least that the governor of the Moluccas {p. 6} is on board as all orders may be radioed direct. We will now have two bases prior to the Mamberamo - one at Ambon and one on the south of the Island of Japen, at a little bay called Servei. The Albatross will wait for the Camphius at Ambon and will then load with the most necessary articles from the Camphius and the Fomalhout. She will then proceed to Pioneer Camp where she will arrive about May 1. After discharging there she will return to Servei on the 7th of May to reload.

In the meantime the Fomalhout will cruise through several of the islands visiting Ternate and other ports and will also arrive at Japen on the 7th to meet the Albatross. There the Fomalhout will continue her trip after discharging all of her remaining expedition cargo except the plane. The Albatross will probably have to make two more trips to Pioneer camp to bring [it] all. The Fomalhout will continue along the north coast of New Guinea and will return to the mouth of the Mamberamo about the tenth of May. The plane will then be put in the water and will fly to Pioneer Camp.

Today Dick developed a lot of films we took of the unloading of the plane. A hot argument developed this evening after supper among the Dutchmen as to whether missionaries did more good or more harm among the natives. No blood was shed. It appears that missionaries are barred from some of the Dutch Islands - most notably, Bali.

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