Carl I.  Earth Measurer. Excerpt from unpublished
finally received the Philippine orders which I had requested
and used in proposing to Marian. I was detached from the GUIDE
and after a few days preparing for the trip in Aberdeen we
bought a small car, a Ford Model T Coupe second hand for $100.
We had a month before sailing time and decided to take a leisurely
trip to San Francisco from where we were to leave for the
Philippines on the Dollar Liner, the PRESIDENT HARRISON. And
that trip was surely leisurely. One day we traveled only forty
miles. Shortly after we left that morning we found a delightful
spot in the shade near a brook in a scenic valley and we spent
several hours there reading and having a picnic lunch we had
brought with us that morning. Enroute we passed through Sacramento
and looked up Aunt Marie who was the administrative accountant
for a hospital and Marian enjoyed meeting her.
some searching we found a room in San Francisco which we could
rent for a month and we moved in. We used our little car for
some sightseeing while we were waiting to sail.
Bond was in charge of the San Francisco Field Office and we
saw a lot of him. He gave us a despidido (farewell) party
shortly before we left. We first went to a night club which
had a good floor show with a chorus line of ten girls. We
arrived shortly before the show. In that number the chorus
girls danced onto the stage with little clothing and with
their dress hung over their arms and sang a song about their
being rushed on the stage so fast they did not have time to
dress. Then they sang the chorus, the theme of which was,
"Will you button up my dress please?" While singing that chorus
each girl backed up to someone at a table, continuing to sing
the chorus until the man to whom they had backed up finished
the job of hooking her up. I had a seat on the floor and a
cute blond backed up to me. I was somewhat flustered and when
I was through I had a hook left over. I said, "What will I
do? I have a hook left over." The young lady said, "Unhook
it and do it over." That started the entire audience laughing
and I laboriously unhooked all the hooks and started over.
All of the chorus continued to sing "Will you button up my
dress please?" while this was going on.
that embarrassing job completed we began to enjoy ourselves
more and we stayed late. The same show came on again. I saw
the chorus standing in the wings with their dresses on their
arms and turning to Jack Bond I said, "I don't want to go
through that again! Change places with me." Jack moved to
my place and I took his which was on the inside. However that
same girl squeezed between the tables and came back to me
instead of to Jack. I had to go through the hooking up once
more much to Jack's embarrassment.
ended the evening at a famous all night place called Coffee
Dan's. It was a basement eating place where, at that time
of the morning you entered by sliding down a chute. It was
quite a sight to see ladies in evening dresses sliding down
that chute, sometimes with their dresses sliding up to their
waist. At Coffee Dan's it was customary to rap on the table
with a dish for service, especially breakable dishes were
provided for that purpose and the tables were a litter of
broken dishes by the time the patrons left.
TO THE PHILIPPINES ON THE PRESIDENT HARRISON
went to the Philippines via Hawaii, Kobe in Japan, Shanghai
in China, Hongkong, leaving San Francisco in December, 1927.
Before long we disliked the SS President Harrison intensely.
We learned that the Captain was making his last trip before
retiring and probably he and the steward were cleaning up.
No effort was made to accommodate the passengers. The food
was poor. Had it not been for a plentiful supply of artichokes
we would often have gone hungry. For lunch and dinner Marian
and I often ate several orders of artichokes. They seemed
to have an unlimited supply.
the mid-morning serving of bouillon on deck, the crackers
were so stale that soon the passengers were taking large handfuls
and immediately going to the rail and throwing them over the
first port of call was Honolulu to be followed by a stop in
Japan. In Honolulu we did the usual sightseeing that the time
half way to Japan we encountered bad weather for two days
as we ran through the edge of a typhoon. The waves were enormous
but on the first day of the storm we did not realize how lucky
we were not to have been closer to the center of the storm.
On the second day Marian and I were walking on B Deck which
seemed high enough to avoid green water when suddenly as we
were halfway down the deck heading toward the bow I glanced
astern and saw an enormous wave which I felt sure would break
on the deck. Seeing that there was no time to run forward
to shelter, I grabbed Marian around the waist and at the same
time thrust my arm through the hand rail that ran along the
cabins. I had no more than done this than the wave broke overboard,
sweeping both of us off our feet and soaking us to above our
waists. Had I not had a firm grip on the rail and around Marian's
waist we would have been swept down the deck or even overboard.
We had more respect for the violence of the sea after that.
the same day another event occurred that confirmed my new
respect for the violence of the sea. I had gone into the men's
lavatory and was seated very comfortably, when suddenly through
the porthole above me at least a barrel of water poured through
the porthole above me. Someone had not fastened the lugs of
the glass port and a wave sent a stream of water one foot
in diameter through the port. The toilet had a sill one foot
high and water was level with the top of the sill. For the
second time that day I had to change my wet clothes.
same wave carried away twenty feet of heavy oak rail on B
deck and smashed several glass ports of one inch glass below
B deck. From then on until the storm abated the steel porthole
covers were kept fastened.
AND KYOTO JAPAN
were in port Kobe, Japan long enough for Marian and me to
take the train to Kyoto, a fascinating Japanese town where
Marian and I spent the night in a lovely Japanese Hotel. They
served Japanese food which was most delicious and made no
attempt to copy American dishes. We still remember their delicious
green tea ice cream.
Kobe we went to Shanghai where we spent two interesting days.
The water of the Yellow River was so thick with yellow mud
that it looked like soup. Yet Chinese sampans clustered around
the sewage discharge outlets of the ship with nets on poles
like a dip net, eagerly fishing up any edible tidbit that
came out of the outlet. A half eaten apple or orange, a cabbage
or lettuce leaf, a chunk of pineapple and similar edibles
would be scooped up and dumped on a dish on the deck of the
sampan. Occasionally some particularly good piece of garbage
would be rinsed off in the muddy water at once and popped
into their mouths. Even human waste coming out the same outlet
did not deter them from fishing out the goodies.
was our next stop. We saw the old year of 1927 out and the
new year of 1928 coming in at Hongkong. Many of the passengers
went to the Shanghai-Hongkong Hotel to celebrate. They did
not follow the United States pattern of celebration. As midnight
approached the celebrants, the ship's passengers, the British,
the Japanese and Chinese in their native costumes joined hands
in a large ring on the ballroom floor and all joined in singing
Auld Land Syne. As soon as the song was finished everyone
left and went home.
afternoon some of us drove out to Repulse Bay north of Hongkong
where there was a club for the British and the high class
Chinese. We were struck by the beauty of the Chinese women.
They wore highnecked form fitting gowns and had classic features
and beautiful complexions.
arrived in Manila on January 5, 1928, our trip aboard the
PRESIDENT HARRISON having lasted thirty-two days.
ship to which I was to report was the MARINDUQUE which was
in port for her annual overhaul. We remained in Manila until
and I were able to get a room in the Army Navy Annex, a building
not far from the Army and Navy Club, where we took all our
meals. It was a very beautiful club. An Englishman who was
returning to India, was so struck by it that he kept repeating,
"My word! Finest Army and Navy Club in the world!" That was
the ultimate compliment, for the English take great pride
in their clubs. The meals at the Army and Navy Club were excellent
and reasonable. One of the waiters at the table we occupied
was kind to Marian. Whether or not they were on the menu,
he would sometimes whisper to her, "Missy I got chickie livers
for you," he knew she was fond of chicken livers.
other officers on the MARINDUQUE were McCormick who was Executive
Officer, and Riley Sipe. McCormick was a bachelor but Wilder
and Sipe had their wives in Manila. Chief Ely also had a Mrs.
Ely with him but our doctor, Dr. Soule was single.
Army and Navy Club had a large veranda on the second floor
on one side which had a long line of bunks side by side the
length of the veranda. This was known as "drunks row". We
still had prohibition in the United States and when a transport
came in there was sure to be many of the new arrivals who
would imbibe too freely. fellow officers would haul them up
to "drunks row" and let them sleep it off. In the morning
fifteen to twenty officers would wake up on those bunks.
Club had a beautiful swimming pool between the club and the
sea wall which on festive occasions such as New Years Eve
would at times be the recipient of officers and their wives
in evening clothes.
Years Eve was always the occasion for a big celebration at
the Army and Navy Club. First after many drinks, everyone
went over to the Manila Hotel for dinner. This was followed
by going out to the Santa Ana Night Club. The Santa Ana was
actually a huge house of prostitution with what was advertised
as the largest dance floor in the world. At one end of the
floor there was a fencelike partition. The ladies of the night
and their partners for the evening who were usually soldiers
or sailors, were on one side of the partition and the curiosity
seeking guests such as ourselves remained dancing on the other
side. Drinks could be ordered on either side. Also there was
dancing on either side.
a few hours at the Santa Ana it was customary for all to go
to Tom's Dixie Kitchen for breakfast. Tom was a huge American
Negro who originally came from South Carolina. He had been
in the United States Army and when his tour of duty was over
he had remained in Manila and started this restaurant which
was noted for good food.
ended up in the swimming pool in front of the club. If the
ladies went in as many often did, they did not bother to remove
their evening clothes.
working grounds were to be in the vicinity of the island of
Tawi Tawi which was a six hour run from Jolo where our wives
stayed. Jolo was the capital of Sulu and the home of the Sultan
of Sulu. It was a town of 10,000 natives mostly Filipino as
the Moros lived away from the town. Arriving at Jolo in March,
1928, the ladies from our ship, the MARINDUQUE, looked for
places to stay. They were few, but Mrs. Sipe, the wife of
one of our officers, and Mrs. Ely, the wife of the Chief Engineer,
each found small houses. Mrs. Wilder, the Captain's wife,
and Marian succeeded in finding a large, conveniently located,
and comfortable house and took it jointly. There was plenty
of room for the Wilder's and us.
three women were the only white women in Jolo except for the
wife of a German whom we seldom saw and a white girl from
Baltimore who had married Hadjii Guluum Rasuul. He was the
son of a respected Moro, Hadju Butu, a member of the Philippine
legislature and the prime minister of the sultan, but the
son turned out to be a ne'er do well who drank to excess and
was a general nuisance. He had met the girl when he had attended
college in the United States and had proposed to her posing
as a Moro prince. She had been impressed with the title Hadji
which he told her meant "prince". Actually, it is simply an
honorary title that signifies that the person with that title
has made a pilgrimage to Mecca. When he returned to the islands
with his bride she learned that he already had several Moro
wives. Before marrying him she had gone to our State Department
and enquired about Guluum Rasuul and she had received a warning
as to what to expect but failed to heed it.
TAWI AND THE SURROUNDING ISLANDS
largest island on our working grounds was Tawi Tawi. It was
a lovely island about fifteen miles long and six miles wide
with a 1500 foot mountain in the center. Beautiful coral reefs
surrounded much of the island. On the south side there was
a barrier reef and a coral lagoon several miles wide inside
the reef. There were two dangerous channels through the reef
which the ship could negotiate only with a man at the masthead
to spot the coral heads and with leadsmen continually sounding.
Inside the reef were many spectacular islets fifty to eighty
feet in diameter. They were coral heads which now arose well
above the water and were undercut by waves so that they looked
like giant mushrooms with trees growing on the top. On the
north side of Tawi Tawi there was a good bay which could be
used as an anchorage. It had been named Port Dos Amigos (port
two friends) by the Spanish but we later changed the name.
were given the task of finding the true Moro names of all
islands and assigning the proper names. We were required to
see datus, village chiefs and other respected Moros, and ask
them the name. We would have them repeat the name many times
to me and a recorder who had some education. We had rules
for transliteration of the Moro pronunciation to our spelling
so it would sound as nearly alike the Moro word as possible.
In our report we were required to give the names and rank
of our authority. To illustrate how we changed the names some
of them are listed below:
on Spanish Chart
Sibi Sibi Id.
were modified to illustrate comparative size by using the
word dacula (large), sibi (small), and sibi sibi (smallest)
or (very small). Often diki and diki diki were used instead
of sibi. It is interesting that the tiny antelope in Africa
that is the size of a small dog is named dik dik.
coral beds surrounding the islands are indescribably beautiful.
There are large areas of many lovely pastel shades. The color
is given by the live animal. Dead coral bleaches to a pure
white. The fantastic shapes of the coral also were fascinating.
Besides the staghorn coral there were other species teeming
with fish of every color and size imaginable. In the two years
I was out there I never tired of simply looking over the side
at the bottom. The water was so clear that visibility was
good down to ten fathoms (sixty feet).
work consists of plotting the shore line on a topographic
sheet, locating and erecting signals for the hydrographer
to locate the launch or ship from when sounding, and locating
any other prominent object visible from the shoreline. Sometimes
it was not necessary to build a signal. We often found a prominent
tree or a nipa shack that could be located and used as a signal.
Sometimes a prominent rock could be used. In such cases we
often whitewashed the rock. We made our own lime by building
a fire on the beach over a pile of dead coral. When the fire
would finally burn down, the coral would be good lime which
would slack when water was added.
could not use the standard bronze disks that are used to mark
stations in the United States. The metal was too valuable
to the Moros. They would pry them out and use them in some
way such as making spearheads. Therefore we mixed up cement
or concrete, poured it into a hole, and put a round wooden
plug in the center. Eventually the wooden plug would rot away
and the center of the hole would be the mark.
day after marking a station there was considerable concrete
left over and we shoveled it off to one side. A moro had been
watching us and as we pulled away he made a dash for the extra
concrete we had left and was greatly surprised to find it
hardened in a solid piece.
we tried to recover a triangulation station on a small island.
The reference or witness mark for the station was a very large
and tall tree that had had a triangle cut into the side. We
could not find the tree but after we found the station we
could see where the tree had been. Our crew told us that the
Moros thought that by marking the tree we were establishing
a claim to the land. Therefore, they had cut down a tree three
feet in diameter with machetes.
always carried a medical kit ashore for emergency use. To
the Moros we were the great white doctors and they were always
asking for quinine and disinfectant for sores, and asking
us to bandage wounds. We always complied.
one occasion a Moro landed a vinta (outrigger canoe) near
my camp and led another man up to my tent. I was working and
did not notice him until he said, "My brother is sick in the
eyes." I looked up and saw the man he had led up had badly
inflamed eyes that were swollen almost shut. I did not feel
qualified to treat his eyes but had to save face by doing
something. I told him to have his brother sit on the ground
and lean his head back across a log. Meanwhile I looked in
my medicine chest for some boric acid. That one time I had
failed to have any boric acid. I couldn't find anything I
dared put in his eyes. Suddenly I had an inspiration. I took
some Listerine from my toilet kit diluted it, and tried some
in the corner of my eye. It stung a little but not too badly
so I poured some in one of the Moro's eyes. He jumped a foot
in the air but then laid back on the log for me to treat the
other eye. I did so and again he jumped.
week later the two returned. This time the Moro with the bad
eyes did not have to be led. The eyes were certainly better.
The English speaking Moro said, "I have brought my brother
for some more medicine in the eyes." I again put in some weakened
Listerine and the Moros left.
day a week later the same two Moros came up to my camp and
said, "I have brought you fish." I replied that we had just
bought some fish and did not need to buy any more. He drew
himself proudly and said, "I did not bring these fish to sell
to you. I brought them to give to you. You made my brother
well in the eyes." So much for my career as an ophthalmologist.
I accepted the fish with thanks and then gave him some quinine
as he told me his wife was ill with malaria.
costumes of the Moros were very striking on festive occasions.
The higher class Moros, called Tausugs, wore tight fitting
trousers with a slit at the bottom so they could get them
on over their feet. The trousers were often black but sometimes
were of other colors. They wore a tight fitting blouse like
a vest gaped open in front leaving the chest bare. They had
silver or gold buttons on either side of the jacket. Occasionally
the buttons would be of twenty dollar gold pieces. They had
a colorful sash around their waist and another flung over
the right shoulder. The sash around the waist carried their
betel nut box which was made of brass and was very heavy.
The betel nut boxes were very elaborate and were often inlaid
with designs in silver and copper. The box contained pieces
of betel nut, and the lower part contained betel nut leaves.
Preparing a betel nut chew was quite a ceremony. They would
take a leaf, put in some lime paste, some tobacco paste, a
piece of betel nut, carefully fold it all up and then put
it in the front of their mouth. Moros often sat in a ring
talking. The center of the ring would look like the floor
of a slaughter house where they had spat the red juice on
the bleached coral.
as Moros filed their teeth to half length they looked very
strange for the betel nut made the teeth shiny black. It probably
acted as a preservative. Some wealthy Moros would have a Chinese
goldsmith put a gold cap on a front tooth for decorative purposes.
high class Tausugs lived in nipa houses on shore. The second
class Moros were called Samals. Instead of the tight trousers
of the Tausugs they wore wide loose trousers like pajama trousers,
usually of bright colors. They lived on the edge of the water
in nipa shacks on stilts built out over the water, a great
convenience from a sanitary point of view. Both the Tausugs
and the Samals often had the edge of the blouse decorated
with gold filigree tape of a sort. The Bajaos were the "sea
gypsies" who spent their entire lives in their vintas seldom
going ashore except to collect coconuts or wild vegetables
or to be buried when they died.
large percentage of those who have been in tropical areas
become afflicted with the "shell bug". I was no exception.
Thousands of sea shells are found in the Sulu sea where I
was working for nearly two years. At first I only picked up
some of the beachworn but still lovely shells found in the
shore detritus and brought them back to Jolo to show Marian.
One day Captain Link, a South Carolinian who had married a
Moro and gone native, was on the ship and saw my "junk shells."
He said, "Why do you bother with dead shells?" That same day
he returned to the ship and made me a present of a few common
but beautiful shells taken alive. I was struck by the great
difference between the dead and the live shells and from then
on I only collected live shells. However Marian insisted that
I keep a few of my dead shells to show how I had started.
Tawi Tawi and nearby islands the collecting was excellent.
On some of the tidal flats at low tide one would actually
step on shells if he were not looking where he walked.
the animal out of shells taken alive is a problem. There are
many ways to do it but in camp there is really only one method
possible. That consists of letting the mollusk rot and then
rinsing it out. It is not the most pleasant way but is most
efficient. Every night would find me sitting in the stern
of the skiff and rinsing out shells in sea water.
that time I was not aware that in collecting one species of
shell I was often risking my life. Shells of the genus CONUS
have a poison gland and a poisonous sting that can afflict
a painful, and in the case of some species, a deadly sting.
Tucker Abbot is one of many malachologists who has written
and cited authentic cases of death caused by poisonous cone
shells. One of his interesting papers on the subject is entitled,
"Mollusks and Medicine in World War II."
one occasion I may have been stung by a poisonous cone. I
saw a certain species of cowry (CYPRAEA) far back in a hole
in a rock. I reached my hand back to take the cowry and suddenly
I felt a slight sting on the middle finger of my right hand.
I quickly withdrew my hand and within one or two minutes pains
began shooting up my arm all the way to the shoulder. My recorder
of whom I have spoken said, "Never do that! It is dangerous!"
Then he told me to urinate on the finger. He rapidly rowed
out to the launch and returned with a bottle of vinegar. He
told me to thrust my finger into the vinegar. Relief came
so quickly that it was remarkable. I suffered no permanent
injury to my finger or hand. Thereafter I was more careful
in collecting shells.
symptom of immediate excruciating pain is described in literature
and is attributed to the poisonous Cone tulipa, L.; cases
are given in which untreated stings caused death in a matter
of hours. It is possible that my Filipino recorder saved my
life with his native treatment. I wonder why that treatment
is not mentioned in the literature.
shell collection became very large and valuable and included
shells from many parts of the world.
In 1978, realizing that I would be unlikely to continue collecting
I gave my entire collection to Corbin to donate to the Lake
Jackson Junior College Museum which is sponsored by Dow Chemical
CORAL FOR THE PHILIPPINE BUREAU OF SCIENCE
Faustino of the Philippine Bureau of Science asked me to collect
coral (madreporaria) for him in the Sulu Sea. He did not explain
what type of data should be recorded with each specimen so
I listed everything I could think of which might be of interest
to the scientist and had a form I made typed and mimeographed.
I listed the depth of water, both the surface and bottom temperatures,
the salinity, the exact latitude and longitude, the configuration
of the bottom and of course the date.
Faustino said it was the most thorough data he had ever received
which accompanied samples collected. He asked me what service
he could render in return and told me he would be glad to
classify my shells. That was the beginning of my shell classification
and I never used the so-called common names thereafter.
ENCOUNTER A LEPER
I was working at my plane table on one occasion an elderly
Moro approached leading a small boy by the hand. Seeing that
his entire body was covered by ugly sores and lesions I asked
my recorder what disease he had. The recorder replied "That
is the disease for which they send them to Culion." Culion
was the name of the leper colony. The recorder also told me
that everyone on that island as well as the medical authorities
knew of the case but every time the authorities came to take
the leper away his relatives hid him in the jungle.
years previously Jack Bond had been assigned to the MARINDUQUE
and she was working on triangulation in the same area. Jack
was engaged in reconnaissance and took the launch which was
the same one I was using to the head of Port Languyan. He
was making an abrupt turn at the head of the bay when suddenly
an enormous crocodile thrust its head out of the water and
seized Jack's right leg. Fortunately his leg was against a
stanchion of one inch iron pipe which was firmly bolted to
the deck. In our work in Sulu we always had a Constabulary
guard with loaded rifle with us at all times supposedly for
protection against the Moros who were considered dangerous
although I never had any evidence of that. In this case the
Constabulary guard fired an entire clip of five shells into
the water. The launch immediately left for the ship with Jack
whose leg was horribly mangled. As luck would be, the MARINDUQUE
at that time had a young doctor aboard who was a recent graduate
but probably the best the C. & G. S. ever had. He made
an emergency setting of Jack's leg in the field, sutured it
and when they arrived with the ship in Manila, the surgeons
at Sternberg Hospital did not have to reset the leg. Jack
recovered so that he could walk without a limp but carried
horrible scars the rest of his life.
story has a sequel. One day I had my plane table set up in
the water a short distance from shore near the mouth of Port
Languyan when without warning my Constabulary guard fired
his rifle. I turned to berate him for firing so close to my
ear when I saw what he had shot at. An enormous crocodile
was rolling over about fifty yards from us. My guard fired
the rest of the clip and reloaded as we hurriedly climbed
into the skiff. We then rowed out close to the crocodile and
the guard fired a second clip at close range. The animal had
stopped rolling over and lay quietly on the surface. It appeared
to be dead and the Filipinos attempted to put a line on it
to tow it ashore because the skin would have brought them
a good deal of money. It slowly began to sink to the bottom
and fell out of the loop of line around it. As it lay on the
bottom clearly visible in twelve feet of water the crew engaged
in a shouting match about who was brave enough to dive down
and secure a line to it. At the end of a half hour of this
jabbering I insisted on pulling out to get back to work.
particular crocodile was twenty feet long. Our launch was
twenty four feet long and it was only four feet short of the
launch. That is such a large crock that we believed that it
was the same one which attacked Jack Bond and that it had
recovered from the wounds made at that time for they are very
hard to kill.
the south side of Tawi Tawi island the mangrove grew so far
out into the water that the depth was too great to set up
a plane table. I therefore designed a pair of targets at the
ends of a fifteen foot rod which could be held horizontally
and had a sighting arrangement so that the rodman could point
it exactly at the instrument man. Instead of reading a subtended
angle on a plane table rod to obtain distance, I measured
the angle from a skiff with a navigating sextant. For small
angles I read the angle both on and off the arc and averaged
the readings to eliminate index error. I prepared a table
giving the distance in meters for the various angles. It was
necessary to apply a correction for certain small angles because
the theoretical apex of the subtended angle was actually some
distance behind the sextant reader. A table of these corrections
was also prepared. For want of a name for my device I called
it the "Sextometer". Sometime after I returned to the United
States I wrote a report entitled, "Surveying Mangrove Rivers
and Creeks". In the paper I described the use of my "sextometer".
Captain K.T. Adams wrote the new Hydrographic Manuel he ran
across my report and used much of the material I had written.
He even used the name "Sextometer".
BOUT WITH A STING RAY
of my experiences in Sulu I would not care to repeat. My plane
table was set up in water in a cove about thirty meters from
the edge of the mangrove. We had just finished lunch on shore
and I was wading back out to the plane table when I felt a
sting or prick on my right ankle. Looking down I saw a small
stingray swimming away from my foot. After continuing to work
for a few minutes my leg began to pain me severely and I went
out to the launch to examine it. There was a large blue area
on the ankle and a row of what appeared to be blue blood blisters
extending all the way to my toes. I had been wearing low canvas
sneakers and the wounds were above the top of the sneakers.
Within ten minutes the pain became excruciating and I had
the launch take me to the ship. For forty eight hours the
pain persisted and then gradually wore off but the blisters
continued to grow and my leg began to swell badly. Some of
the blisters broke and the area began to ulcerate.
doctor at that time knew little of medicine and his one remedy
for all sores was antiphlogistine so he proceeded to apply
bandages with that ointment on the foot.
injury was obviously very severe, and as we were due to go
to Manila shortly we sailed north, and I was hospitalized
in Sternberg, the Army Hospital. My leg continued to swell
all the way to my hip. It was an endemic swelling and I could
thrust my finger into the leg to the second joint and unless
the leg was elevated the dent would remain. Furthermore the
abscess on my foot refused to heal. Many treatments were tried
all to no avail. I simply had to remain in bed with my foot
elevated above my head.
ship was due to return south to do some work on Mindanao for
a short time and I asked to go with her for hospitalization
in the Army hospital there, because our families were in Zamboanga.
hospital in Zamboanga was small but they had a very capable
doctor, Captain Stammel, whom I liked very much. After a few
days during which time the ulcers showed no improvement Captain
Stammel said, "I don't know what to do. However things like
this happen to the Moros all the time and they usually get
well. Possibly it is because the wounds are exposed to sunlight."
Whereupon a wheel chair was rigged so that my right leg could
be elevated and I was wheeled out daily. Within a few weeks
the swelling started to go down and the ulcers began to heal.
However for several years I experienced some swelling when
I was on my feet for an extended period of time.* Returning
to ship duty I could stand watches as long as my foot was
The above was written before 1977. In the spring of that year
an ulcer appeared on the spot where the sting ray barb had
entered forty-nine years before. A surgeon at the Naval Hospital
in Bethesda hospitalized me for a few days, gave me intravenous
penicillin and sent me home with material for treating the
abscess and some penicillin tablets. The abscess would seem
to heal but after some time a scab would begin to form and
a new abscess would break out. There was considerable pain
at times. In 1979 I still have the abscess which requires
bandaging each day. My surgeon at the Naval hospital has advised
me to make an appointment with a plastic surgeon. I have an
appointment scheduled for October 1979.]
FLOATING ISLANDS OF NORTHERN BORNEO
in the Sulu area we coaled ship at Sandakan, Borneo. It was
an overnight trip from our working grounds to Sandakan. One
night I was standing a bridge watch and enjoying the full
moon which was out which allowed some visibility. I was sure
of my position because I had been taking bearings on a lighthouse
on the Borneo coast. Suddenly a small island loomed up dead
ahead which had a few palm trees on it. I was frightened and
ordered full right and full astern. Then I stopped the ship
and sent for the Captain, he took one look with his binoculars
and said, "Oh that's one of those floating island that you
find off the Borneo coast. It seems that near the mouth of
a jungle river off the north coast of Borneo, driftwood and
logs near shore often get bound together, vines and vegetation
will rot and form a sort of soil, and finally new vegetation
will start growing on the mass. Sometimes often years later,
during the rainy season one of these masses will break away
and float out to sea. It is a very solid mass and could damage
a ship hitting it and I was right in avoiding it, but I would
have appreciated it if the Captain had warned me about them
day when we were coaling in Sandakan, I visited a souvenir
shop run by Chinese and saw some small boxes three to four
inches in length, about an inch wide and 3/4 of an inch high.
They were well made of fine ebony and other tropical wood.
Some were of ivory. All were beautifully carved. I asked the
Chinese clerk what they were for. He replied, "They are coffins,
sir." "Coffins for what?" I asked. "Coffins for a cockroach,"
was his reply. Well I finally elicited the purpose of the
"Coffins". It seems that the Chinese in Sandakan were inveterate
gamblers. One of the sports they gambled on was fighting between
some way they trained the huge cockroaches of that area to
fight. When a cockroach had won a great deal of money for
his owner and was finally killed in battle, the owner buried
it with honors, purchasing one of those coffins to bury it
life in Jolo would not be complete without mention of Marian's
acquaintance with the Princess Tahata Kiram. She was the niece
of the once powerful Sultan Kiram who at one time ruled a
large kingdom of islands in Sulu and Borneo. After Marian
met her, she was appointed first deputy governor of the Turtle
Ids., a group of islands lying between Zamboanga and Borneo
by the Governor Herolas Tulawi. The princess was educated
in the University of Illinois in 1922. She spoke good English
but with the slang of 1922. In explaining to Marian why she
had gone native and chewed betel nut she said, "When you are
in Rome you do as the Romans do." She had married a distant
relative, Datu Tahi, after returning to Sulu. However he was
serving a seven year term of imprisonment for carving up a
Moro in a fight.
princess used to come to Jolo to have Marian and Mrs. Wilder
help her cut patterns to make clothes for her little boy whom
she dressed as an American boy even though she herself dressed
as a native.
as Marian and Mrs. Wilder were usually the official hostesses
whenever junketing trips of officials came to Jolo and one
of the things to do was to call on the Sultan of Sulu, both
of them became well acquainted with him. Both Marian and Mrs.
Wilder attended the wedding of Imam Mali to his fourth wife
which was a gala affair when judged by Moro standards.
said that among other events there was a procession of litters
which contained presents and the curtains on the outside of
the litters was covered with dollar bills pinned to them.
The main feature of the ceremony was the chase during which
the bride, a very young Moro girl, compared to the Imam was
supposed to run away and be chased by the groom. She was dutifully
slow in her running and was caught and carried into the marriage
in the afternoon Mrs. Wilder heard Imam Mali muttering, "Goddam
Christians! Goddam Christians!" Turning to him she said, "Imam,
I am a Christian." Whereupon the Imam replied, "No. You are
no Christian. You American!" Most of the Filipinos who are
the governing officials are Christian and are heartedly hated
by the Moros. Therefore they associate Christianity only with
the Filipinos and not the Americans, who have been liked and
admired by the Moros ever since they signed a peace treaty
with General Wood.
had to leave for Manila in June as the baby was due in about
a month. There was no C. & G.S. ship leaving at that time
so she had to travel on one of the inter-island ships, the
NUESTRA SENORA del PILAR. Her Captain boasted that he always
went into port with one more passenger than he started out
with and that he always officiated at the birth. In Marian's
case she fooled him.
was the typhoon season, but the ship reached Manila without
mishap. Marian found a large house for rent until she entered
the hospital. Captain and Mrs. Colbert arrived at Manila shortly
afterward as he was to be the new Director. Since the house
Marian had rented was too large for her, the Colberts asked
to take over the house. Marian was glad to let them have it
and she kept one room while the Colberts took the rest.
baby was born on August 7, 1928. It was a difficult birth
but Mabel and Ritt arrived on the same ship as the Colberts
and were most helpful. The PATHFINDER was in port and Ritt
was assigned to her. When Corbin was six weeks old the Pathfinder
sailed south for Zamboanga, Mindanao, and Marian and the baby
went as passengers. She had found an Amah (nurse) for the
baby but she was of little use on the trip because she was
always seasick. The Amah was named Patricina Cawagas and she
remained with us to the end of my Philippine assignment. Marian
was also seasick so it was a rough voyage for her. Mrs. Wilder
met Marian at Zamboanga and persuaded the Captain of a cattle
boat to take Marian, herself and the baby down to Jolo. The
Captain let the two women and the baby occupy his primitive
cabin. Had he not done so they would have had to sleep on
deck with the Moros.
time after we had returned to the United States Marian received
a letter from Patricina telling her how she missed her and
the baby. She said, "You were the best master I ever had."
Marian was in Manila, I stayed on the ship. We slept on the
fantail as it was cooler than below decks. One night I heard
McCormick, our Executive Officer come aboard. He staggered
up the gangway, crossed the fantail and fell overboard on
the port side. That sobered him enough so he could call for
help. He couldn't swim but I threw him a life ring and he
was able to climb back aboard slightly more sober than when
he arrived .
LAST MONTH IN JOLO
remained in Jolo until just before Christmas of 1928 when
the MARINDUQUE returned to Manila to enter drydock for routine
repairs. Corbin had thrived in Jolo. As pets we had five monkeys,
a civet cat, a myna bird, and a little spotted English deer.
We had had a large yard with a fence around it and Corbin
was in the yard a great deal. Often the Moros would line the
fence to look at him. His hair was bleached snow white and
was a source of curiosity to the Moros accustomed as they
were to black hair. They called him "Abacacito" or "Little
Hempy" as his hair was the color of hemp. He was active and
crawled very rapidly but one day in the yard he decided he
could not get where he wanted to go fast enough so he simply
stood up and ran across the yard. Then he sat down with a
very surprised look on his face. His first walk was actually
a run of forty feet and he never crawled thereafter.
returned to Manila for a change of command. Patterson replaced
Wilder as skipper. McCormick and Sipe were ordered to return
to the States and were replaced by Sam Grenell and Bruce Gossett.
As senior officer, I now became Executive Officer. Both Mrs.
Gossett and Mrs. Grenell were pregnant and had babies born
in Sternberg. All of the officers found apartments. Ours was
a nice apartment on M.H. del Pilar. A Naval Captain and his
wife lived in the apartment above us. One day his wife became
ill and wanted our Amah, Patricina, to help her dress to go
to the hospital. Marian was horrified to learn that the lady
had been hospitalized with diphtheria.
Patricina what she had done after helping the lady dress,
Patricina replied, "I knew she was very sick so before I went
near the baby I took a bath and used Lysol."
was obviously trying to use some words but we could not understand
him. Patricina took him out on the waterfront each day where
the other Amahs congregated with the babies. It seems that
Corbin had learned some Tagalog words and Patricina interpreted.
She said, "That is a word used in talking to older women.
It is a mark of respect." So we can say that Corbin's first
spoken words were spoken in Tagalog.
this Manila stay, Stimpson, the Governor General was ordered
back to the United States. He had been heartily disliked by
most of the Americans because of his kowtowing to the Filipinos
in all matters. A Despidido was given at the Governors Palace
and Marian and Mrs. Wilder were invited. As she passed through
the receiving line, Marian said to Mrs. Stimpson what she
really thought instead of the appropriate farewell remarks.
Inadvertently she said, "We are so glad you are going." Either
it didn't register or Mrs. Stimpson ignored it for she replied,
"Thank you very much for saying so."
returning to Jolo, the MARINDUQUE was ordered to make some
small surveys in the vicinity of Zamboanga. We spent three
months there and the wives lived in the Plaza Hotel which
was well run by a Filipino gentleman named Bayot. Mr. Bayot
and his wife were very kind to them and they enjoyed the stay.
As a fact which might be published in "Believe It or Not"
there were only forty Americans living in Zamboanga and five
or them including Marian celebrated their birthday on July
the Club in Zamboanga there was often a large party. There
was a retired Philippine Constabulary Colonel named Fletcher
who was always the life of the parties. He would invariably
perform the following stunt at the club parties. He would
place three tables, each one slightly smaller than the previous
one, one on top of the other. On the top table he would place
four beer bottles. He would then climb up, place the four
legs of a chair on the beer bottles and stand on the chair
to lead the singing of, "There's Many a Man Been Murdered
in Luzon" and "The Monkeys Have No Tails in Zamboanga". He
was said never to have fallen during this stunt regardless
of how much he had been drinking. It was a remarkable performance.
On Good Friday we saw the procession of the penitentos walking
barefoot in sack cloth and scattering ashes on their heads.
in Zamboanga, I was sent on a three day trip by a local passenger
boat to Cotabata to acquire some Coast Pilot data. A short
time before an earthquake had occurred in that area and a
man with whom I talked told me of his experience. At the first
tremor he dashed out of a sheet metal building which also
had a sheet metal roof. As he ran from the building a second
shock knocked him on his back. As he lay on the ground the
building fell toward him and the sharp edge of the metal roof
cut into the ground at least six inches and not more than
a foot below his feet. Had he been slightly closer to the
building both feet would have been severed.
were common in the islands and Marian experienced three in
all. One occurred while we were staying in the Lunetta Hotel
in Manila. I was playing golf on the course around the walled
city and was not aware of it. I was much surprised to return
to the hotel and find everybody talking about the quake which
I did not know had occurred. A second quake occurred while
Marian was in Sternberg Army Hospital in Manila awaiting the
birth of our son. She first noticed the light bulbs swinging
from their cords and pointed it out to the nurse who was newly
arrived from the States. The nurse assured her in a superior
tone that it was just her condition. Suddenly the beds and
other furniture began to move and the nurse screamed, "What
shall I do? What shall I do?" Marian was a veteran of the
earlier quake and took it in stride.
that stay in Zamboanga a third quake occurred. I was at sea
and again was not aware of it. Marian was staying in the Plaza
Hotel and first noticed the light bulbs swinging on their
cords and then saw waves in the concrete floor in the dining
stock market crash of 1929 occurred while the ship was based
in Zambo. A sister of Mrs. Wooster, widow of Dean Wooster
and the mother of Fritz Wooster, a prominent business woman
was visiting from the United States and had to rush back to
try to save her fortune.
during that period I was dropped off at Dumanquiles Bay about
sixty miles east of Zambo to resurvey a former inadequate
survey made by the U.S. Navy many years before. One day near
the mouth of the bay I saw a troop of fifty or sixty monkeys
scrambling over the rocks picking and eating mollusks. Those
monkeys seemed almost human. One would gather a handful of
shells and select a rock to sit on which had a flat rock in
front of it. It would then pick up a small stone to use as
a hammer and would crack the shell, pick out the mollusk,
and eat it. It was a case of a monkey using a tool which is
supposed to distinguish human beings from animals.
a monkey would slyly sneak up behind one of the monkeys, seize
a handful of its shells and dash away. The fluent chattering
and gestures of the monkey from whom the shells had been stolen
were the nearest thing to blasphemy that one might expect
from an animal. One day I saw thousands of fruit bats return
at dusk to some trees across the channel from our camp. They
are enormous and when they hang upside down on a branch they
are over a foot long. The trees were apparently the regular
roosting place for those bats and the branches were badly
scratched and most of the leaves torn off by the hooks on
the edge of their wings as they flopped to a landing.
my first night at Dumanquiles Bay the ship dropped me with
my launch and camping gear at the mouth of the bay and then
left for Zamboanga. As we prepared to set up camp a nice looking
Filipino approached and offered to let us stay in his house
nearby for the night. It was late and I was glad to accept.
When we arrived at his house it proved to be a huge one, at
least fifty feet long. I was in one room with a thatched nipa
roof and thatched sides. I was amazed at seeing the floors.
The floors were solid mahogany, about eighteen inches wide
and three inches thick. It is strange that some millionaire
has not bought his house lock stock and barrel just to get
boys and I put up our cots at one end of the house. The Filipino
and his family slept on the floor at the other end. The distance
was so great that we had all the privacy we needed.
we erected our camp the next day, we had a delegation of Moros
at my tent every night seeking some form of medication. Often
it was quinine for malaria, but there were also many infected
sores which I had to bandage. Luckily I had plenty of iodine
and bandage material. I was the great doctor with the ability
to cure all ills.
ship came to Dumanquiles Bay shortly before I finished the
survey. Once the launch broke down near the entrance to the
bay and I chartered a vinta (a Moro outrigger canoe) to get
to the ship. I was amazed at the speed it could travel with
their huge square sails. The body is very deep so that it
acts like a centerboard and they can tack against the wind.
It is hewn from a single tree. There are outriggers on each
side of the struts at the end; the outriggers are made of
four- to six-inch bamboo. The outriggers provide stability
and make the vinta impossible to capsize.
RETURN TO JOLO
September the MARINDUQUE returned to Jolo to complete some
surveys. This time our work was on the south side of Tumbagaan
Island. While we were on the working grounds our wives stayed
in Jolo in the native hotel. Marian had been in the hotel
for a week when the ship came in from the field. We had scarcely
turned off the lights in our room when I jumped up and said,
"I smell bedbugs." Marian had stayed in that room for a week
and didn't know. She is one of those rare persons whom the
bedbugs do not bite. For the following week Marian had the
bed, mattress, and springs taken out each day and scrubbed
with boiling water. Kerosene was used in joints and in the
cracks of the floor and walls. The next time I returned there
were no bedbugs.
that trip to Tawi Tawi a phenomenon occurred which I had never
seen before or since. A rain cloud several miles in diameter
stayed in one area without moving for about three hours. I
was sounding and the edge of the rain cloud was delineated
by the ends of my sounding lines. I would sound up to the
edge of the rain and then run back on another line. I had
to sound the area that was covered by the rain cloud on another
the course of launch and ship hydrography it often became
necessary to establish tide staffs or portable automatic tide
gauges in order to correct the soundings to mean tide. Once
I installed an automatic gauge in the water on a tripod. The
day was overcast and the sun was never visible at any time.
I was working out in the water and removed my shirt. That
night, although I had not seen the sun all day, I had the
worst case of sunburn that I ever had in my life.
often also installed temporary tide staffs at some points
to obtain a correlation in the tidal changes with the automatic
tidal gauge. In those instances it was necessary to send a
man ashore to read the staff every half hour. Once we were
short handed and our Filipino bos'n was sent into a camp to
read a staff. In examining his record of readings when I picked
him up several days later I noticed some peculiar remarks
in the remarks column. One of the remarks was ESTOP KALAK.
I plotted his readings and saw there was a pronounced discontinuity
at the point where that remark occurred. Then in pronouncing
the words as he would have it became clear that he meant STOP
CLOCK. I was able to salvage the record by noticing the time
difference when he restarted the clock and by smoothing out
the tidal curve.
remark which occurred frequently in his record was a notation
"oe" "oe". That was more puzzling but when I plotted the tidal
cure I noticed that the readings were more irregular when
he had made that remark. Pronouncing the "oe" as he would
I realized that he meant "wave". In other words the sea was
rough and the staff difficult to read. Again the record could
be salvaged by smoothing it out.
RETURN TO MANILA FOR THE LAST TIME
few days before Christmas, 1929 we left the Sulu area for
the last time and sailed for Manila. This time we stayed in
the Lunetta Hotel but took our meals at the Army and Navy
Club. Our orders stated that we were to await the arrival
of a transport from the United States and return to San Francisco
in that manner. This was most disappointing for we were hoping
to pay the difference in cost between our per diem and the
commercial cost of the fare and return commercially, taking
one of the around the world ships so that we could complete
our circumnavigation of the globe. However, as you shall see,
we were able to accomplish that.
was little for me to do on the ship while awaiting transportation
and for the first time in my life I played golf every day.
As a result my score gradually became lower and I was playing
day I was playing a round alone when a stranger came up and
asked if he could join me. I saw he was a fine golfer, probably
a professional, and offered to let him through but he said
he would prefer to play a twosome with me. I gave him the
honors and his swing was beautiful. He landed on the green
about six feet from the cup. Then I took my tee shot and could
see the ball land short of the green and bound forward some.
The hole was a 190 yard hole and the path of the ball was
between two stone sections of the wall. In the past I had
often sliced or hooked, hitting one or the other of the walls,
usually losing my ball in the process. When we reached the
green we searched for my ball and could not find it. Finally
my caddy said, "Don't know where it is mistah les it's in
the cup." We went to the cup and there it was, it was my first
and only hole in one. My partner, a fine golfer, had never
seen a hole in one and was as thrilled as I was. He was so
excited that when we went to the bar in the nearby Manila
hotel for drinks he insisted on paying for the drinks, something
usually required of the lucky golfer. I was very lucky. Had
I been playing with someone from one of the services I would
have had to buy drinks for every officer in the Army and Navy
Club. That would have been very rough on my Lieutenant (j.g.)
pay. As a result I refrained from telling of my feat.
collected many prizes from various businesses in Manila. Some
of them were: a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch,
a trophy on which they mounted the winning ball, a certificate
attesting to the event which reposes in one of my scrap books,
a case of San Miguel Beer, and a No. 1 iron (driving iron
in those days).
GIN SLINGS AND SUBMARINE PUNCH
our last days in Manila, the Submariners of the Navy threw
a big party at the Army & Navy Club. It was called a tea
dance. Red Metcalf who was Corbin's Godfather invited us.
I dislike tea dances and decided to fortify myself for the
ordeal by imbibing a few Singapore gin Slings in the bar in
advance. It was hot during the dance and there was a delicious
punch called Submarine Punch which seemed mild and was a good
thirst quencher. I imbibed freely and as dinner time approached
I decided I needed some air. I went first to the lavatory
to cool my head and then went out and sat on the sea wall
near the swimming pool to get the cool sea breezes on my head.
Twice I tried to go back to the dining room where Red had
invited us to dinner and both times I found myself too dizzy
to attempt it. At last I faced the fact and found my way back
to the Army Navy Annex to retire. Red searched for me at the
club and found out that I had been seen in the lavatory and
on the sea wall. He finally asked Marian if I "had the homing
instinct". She said that she thought I had and they went ahead
with the dinner. Red took Marian home and they not only found
me safely in bed, but I even had the mosquito net tucked in.
DAYS IN MANILA AND THE VOYAGE HOME
had always dreamed of going back to the States by continuing
west on one of the Dollar Line President ships but Marian
had sworn that she would rather swim than return on the PRESIDENT
HARRISON. Furthermore our return via Europe seemed doomed
because a transport was due to be in Manila at the time we
were due to leave. Fortunately, Admiral Clobert ordered me
to remain in Manila an extra month. I was glad to do so but
then I learned that the PRESIDENT HARRISON would be the ship
I would have to take back. When I broke the news to Marian
she was philosophical about it.
day of our departure was February 12, 1930. The Manila crowd
was at the ship to see us off. Captain Colbert and another
officer "poured Marian aboard" by carrying her up the gangway.
It was several days before the passengers understood that
it was a joke.
received a pleasant surprise when we found that the PRESIDENT
HARRISON had been completely overhauled and had a fine Captain
and crew. The trip was delightful and lasted fifty pleasant
days. We went sightseeing in Singapore with a young Rabbi
and his wife who were on the ship. We visited a Chinese Hebrew
temple in Singapore. We learned that Chinese Jews were descendants
of the lost tribes of Israel. We went sightseeing in Kuala
Lumpur and saw the Temple of Snakes with thousands of snakes
hanging from all the beams. In Ceylon we took a pleasant drive
to Kandy, the capital of Ceylon. Enroute we saw work elephants
along the road handling logs with their trunks and in Kandy
we saw the mahouts bathing their work elephants in the river.
We also saw the "Temple of the Tooth" where there is a small
box purporting to hold a tooth of the Buddha. In front of
that temple were begging lepers.
left the ship at Suez and drove across the desert to Cairo.
There were four cars in all and believe it or not the day
was very cold although it was bright and sunny. Half way across
the desert many were getting worried about a rest stop although
the drivers assured that there would be a rest stop. There
wasn't a sign of a building. The passengers finally looked
at each other with sheepish grins. We all got out of the cars
and the ladies went to the right and the men went to the left.
After a few hundred feet from the cars there was a slight
drop in the sand dunes. By squatting down only the heads could
be seen. When everyone had returned to the cars, the ladies
were all carrying a sprig of desert vegetation to prove that
they had been out picking wild flowers.
we arrived at the Sheppard Hotel in Cairo where we had reservations,
the desk clerks said, "There is not time to register now.
You can do it after the parade." We asked "What parade?" The
reply was, "Didn't you come to see the King and Queen of Belgium
and King Faud and his Queen?" It was all a surprise to us
but we rushed up to our room which was on the second floor.
It had French windows in front and chairs had been set out
for us on the balcony. We had no more than sat down when there
was a blare of trumpets. The spectacular Egyptian Camel Corps
passed in front of us. It was followed by a carriage with
the king and queen of Belgium and behind them the carriage
of King Faud and his Queen. We visited the museum and saw
the treasure from King Tut's Tomb. There was no security whatsoever;
there was more, but it slips my memory.
Cairo we visited the sphinx and the pyramids. We rode camels
from the pyramids to the sphinx. Camels have a horrible shaky
walk but in trotting they give a smooth ride.
returned by rail to Alexandria where we rejoined the ship
after it had gone through the canal.
visited Naples, Italy, and got a good view of Vesuvius. We
also drove to Pompeii and saw the Roman Baths and the somewhat
obscene statues and fountains.
passed Gibralter in daylight and got a good view of the rock.
Then we headed across the Atlantic to land at New York.
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