Stopped this afternoon at Nukunai (Byron) Island. The natives were more primitive than any we have thus far seen – grass skirts, et al. Even some of the women clothing over their breasts. The huts are real huts, too.
Charley, Earl, Doc, and I wanted some shark-tooth spears and we went way down to the end of town asking every native we saw. Then we stopped walking, Charley and I tried unsuccessfully for women. Then we tried again for spears. One fellow on a bicycle, there were some bikes on Arorae too, said that he had two. After much persuasion he left. Doc, meanwhile, also had departed. After about a half hour the native returned, with two rather poor spears. His price was high, but I almost fell when another native came and I traded two shillings for a good one. A third native came with eight and Charley and I each got three for four shillings and two sticks of tobacco. Earl got two.
I wanted some sinnet, also, but the guy who had one wanted two bob and I wouldn’t trade for it. After a lot of haggling around I gave his wife an old bracelet and a cheap pair of hair ornaments for the biggest load of sinnet I have seen. It must have taken years to make it from the coconut fibre. I then got a finely woven mat for one bob, two tobac.
We then moved the Yankee to the other village, Here, the natives came out and wholesale trading was in order. I got another spear for one bob, two tobac. The other fellows got some beauts – Gil’s (Y) capping the honors.Only Charley and Bunny went ashore and Kirb, got a handsome outrigger model.
Yesterday, Doc cleaned my ears and those of Leary, Jop, and Earl. Some of the hunks of wax gotten out were pretty big.
It took Loring an hour and twenty minutes to do the dishes tonight. “Stupid” is certainly slow.
Tonight Exy privately told me that she appreciated my trying to get the canned butter before supper even though it was a hopeless task. It showed the right spirit, she said, much better than Loring’s attitude of forget it, we can’t get it now! That goon has a lot to learn on the Yankee.
Nora’s foot is worse than ever. It is some sort of streptococci infection and her whole ankle is badly swollen. But she is taking it in her usual good humor and Oakes is helping her a lot. I have all the respect in the world for Nora. She deserves a lot of credit.
Last night I checked over my debt to the Skipper and, much to my surprise, I owe him less than $100. I had figured that it would be over twice what it really is. Maybe I won’t have to work my way home from Port Moresby after all.