National Geographic : 1945 Feb
Gilbert Islands in the Wake of Battle ment we drank coco nut water from freshly opened shells. .Crew members showed their apprecia tion of the entertain ment by singing "In the Evening by the Moonlight," "Aloha, Sweetheart" (with ges tures), and the "Maori Battalion Song," much to the enjoyment of the villagers. By starlight we re turned to our ship. Next morning, as we still lay in the lagoon waiting for suitable light to steam out through the coral shoals, outrigger ca noes darted back and forth. A stiff breeze in taut sails was putting them through their best paces. In open sea, beyond the reef, we saw nearly a dozen of the craft riding in from fishing grounds with shortened sail. We rolled and pitched to Marakei, 20 miles away. Ashore on Marakei At Marakei the ship had to drift to the lee ward side of the island, outside the reef. The A Young Abemaman Sets a New Hat Style He wears part of a discarded U. S. Navy gas mask on his shaved head. His suit is an oversize skivvy shirt. Intent upon watching his elders and some American officers, he forgets to munch on the pandanus fruit in his hand. lagoon has only two shallow passages that can be waded across in low tide. The atoll is an almost continuous strip of land encircling a wide central pool. I went ashore in an outrigger after the colonel had been piped over the side and had stood long at attention on the sun-blis tered beach while a mission school band played "God Save the King"-two verses! As soon as I touched the beach I acquired a large assemblage of youngsters who followed me on my picture-taking expedition. I fear I upset the colonel's program, as everywhere I went with my Pied-Piper entourage I unwit tingly crossed the path of his inspection tour. But I had a good time on this trim little island, with its cleanly swept coral streets and rows of thatched houses. In Marakei the dress of the women is partic ularly attractive. Most of them wore skirts and tops made from shredded coconut or pandanus leaves. Some of the pieces with which many of the women covered the upper parts of their bodies were beautifully woven and patterned in differently dyed strands. Skirts, too, are carefully made. Catholic sisters on the island were largely responsible for the adoption of this costume, which seems particularly fitting to the island people. It is but a slight modification of ancient dress, which was revived because of lack of cloth during this wartime isolation. Schoolgirls under the sisters' care began mak ing them, and the rest of the island women have followed (page 150).