"By Aeroplane to Pygmyland" Accounts of the 1926 Smithsonian-Dutch Expedition to New Guinea

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June 7, 1926 : Albatross Camp (Base Camp) ; Mamberamo River ; Airplane Flights ; Papuans of Bisano

June 7th

"The Papuans were all on hand, rather badly scared and ready to bolt if anyone said Boo!"

We were up with the meowing of Korteman's kitten this morning and made preparations to fly again today. At a little before ten Hans took off with Stanley as passenger. The Papuans were all on hand, rather badly scared and ready to bolt if anyone said Boo! But Dick got some good movies of them {p. 116} which should be mighty interesting on the screen. They were palpably uneasy during the whole proceedings. Yesterday 2 Chinese bird hunters appeared from down river in a Papuan canoe. They loan guns to the Papuans for two or three months, then get back their guns and trade with them for the paradise birds they have shot in the meanwhile. The Papuans love the sport of shooting the guns with which they also shoot cassowary and pigs, and the Chinese get the birds for almost nothing. The bird hunters pay the government officials 50 guilders each for the rent of the guns for the season and must return them when the season is over. The guns are old fashioned muzzle loaders. Just before noon Hans and Stanley returned all enthused over a remarkable circular rainbow they had seen beneath them on the mountains. In the afternoon Hans and Dick took off with Dick's movie camera, tent, blankets, gun, etc. and 262 kilos of food. Dick was left at Batavia camp and is to return with the canoe transport down the rapids. Hans flew back alone and reported that he had made the return trip through the most beautiful sky he had ever seen in all his experience in flying. When practical minded, unemotional Hans waxes poetic, one may be sure that it was really something to see. The air was clear and between masses of clouds of all fantastic shapes and colors, he could clearly see the ocean and Romebi [sic, = Rombebai] lake to the north. In the hollows of the jungle-clad mountains beneath and mantling some of the drab green {p. 117} peaks were low clinging clouds of snow-white color. In addition to the food mentioned, the equipment of Dick made the usual load. The Ern has now in 3 days deposited a cargo of 1869 kilos of food at Batavia camp.

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