"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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June 23, 1926 : Albatross Camp (Base Camp) ; Mamberamo River

June 23rd

Early this morning Hans and Prince, with Moon, set out with the transport and 7 canoes for Batavia camp where they will try to repair the damaged pontoon. I again spent most of the morning making prints and find that we have plenty of excellent pictures. Dick went across the river in a canoe and took a picture of the camp from the place on the hill opposite that he and le Roux cleared. This afternoon about 3 o'clock to our surprise, three of Toma Linda's canoes appeared coming downstream. It proved to be Van Leeuwen returning with fever. He was sick between here and Batavia camp and continued to grow worse until 2 days out of Batavia camp he gave up and returned. He reported conditions very difficult on the upper Mamberamo and lower Van der Willigen rivers. The mosquitoes are intolerable and the current of the river, contrary to expectations, is very swift and the progress of the canoes and motor boats above Batavia camp consequently very slow - not more than a kilometer or slightly more per hour. Jordans continued and will go on to Motor camp, where he is to meet Posthumuos. Once more our difficulties are increased, as the progress of the transports will be so slow it will cause further delay in our starting. This again goes to show that the only way to explore this country is by aeroplane. Four planes would eliminate all delay and most of the hardship. {p. 137}

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