All night the weather was increasing and had to keep alert for four hours – an unusual occurrence lately. Wave after wave slapped the Yankee’s port sides and threw its spray over the deck. Time and again the bowsprit would dip under and solid streams of water would rush over and go sluicing aft. I stood bow watch for an hour after spending two at the wheel and I saw the Yankee dip her starboard bow under time after time.
We dropped anchor off Disappointment in the Duff group and went ashore in the dinghy. The island is high and well-wooded and resembles a movie version of the wicked witch’s hangout. The village is on a little island off the end of the main one and was most disappointing (a pun?).
It was our first look at Solomon natives and a not too impressive one at that. They all chew betel nut which turns their lips red and they spit black. Their teeth are hidden behind a veil of purple and at first I thought that they had none. All the women grabbed up their small children and beat it into the houses when we approached. All the kids have big, round stomachs and most of the men have terrible skin diseases.
One poor kid had a badly swollen knee, yaws I suspect, but the father wouldn’t let Doc cut. Ray could do nothing but explain about soaking the knee in hot water, but I am sure they didn’t understand.
The village was extremely small and compact, composed of straw houses and a stone Catholic Church. The houses looked filthy but the Church was very clean and unique. Low-roofed and cool, it had a stone floor and sides, a cement baptismal font, altar all set, stone seats and kneeling benches for the priest and wooden crosses set with buttons and mother-of-pearl.
Trading was poor and very few items were gotten. I looked at an outrigger model but it was a bad one and forget it. Some of the boys got hair combs and earrings and I got a 6’6” bow and some arrows for two sticks of tobacco and a celluloid comb.
We set sail again just before lunch and I had to fight with the dishes for an hour and a half before finally getting them finished. The seas were still increasing and while doing the dishes after supper a terrific one hit the bow. I swear that the bow swayed and Clint says that the spray obliterated the yardarm from his view and that it landed half way up the mainsail.
Tonight Exy got a wire from Dotty Brandon who has just adopted a four-month old baby girl. Dotty is about thirty-five, lives in Toronto and is a friend of Nora, has traveled everywhere on her more-than-sufficient supply of shekels, is unmarried. It is a wonderful idea for her to do this, but I think that the kid will be sort of a millstone. I can’t figure out the social status of a thirty-five year old unmarried woman with a child.
Got a wire from Mother tonight saying that as war conditions made her trip inadvisable she inferred that I am leaving at Port Moresby anyway and that her air letter there explains about the Matson liner leaving Sydney on July 24th. I have almost definitely decided on getting off at Moresby but am leaving myself some leeway in case I want to leave the Yankee at Tulegi. The only thing that would keep me on to Moresby is the mail awaiting me there. Outside of that I have little interest in the islands between the two places.