National Geographic : 1950 Jan
Shores and Sails in the South Seas from fattening them selves on the only money crop of the island. It takes 5,000 to 6,000 coconuts to make a ton of copra. In July, 1941, copra in the Marquesas brought $4 per ton from the trading schooner calling there. At the time of my visit it was bringing $174 per ton in the Tahiti market. Production in the Marquesas is about 3,000 tons a year, and brings a premium for high quality. The natives barter copra for trade goods and building materials. The skipper checks weights of bags on portable scales, all weights determined in kilos (page 88). Wild Pigeons of Invisible Bay Invisible Bay har bors hundreds of wild pigeons. The skipper, who is a good shot, and I (who imitated his technique as best I could) bagged 18 for eating aboard the schooner. Earlier in the morning he had shot a bird which looked like a raven. It was even Fishing Is Sport, Cleaning Drudgery, the World Over Fish-baked, boiled, or stewed-puts protein into the Marquesan diet. A favorite dish is made by wrapping fish in leaves and baking them over hot stones in outdoor ovens. The wooden bowl is a homemade product of Tahuata. tastier than the others. Sailing along the coast, we saw a large table rock jutting out of the water. Several hun dred yards in diameter, it was separated from the mainland by a deep channel. Sooty terns nested here by thousands. When we were quite close, the schooner's Klaxon sounded. The birds blackened the air as they flew up. "Say," I hinted to the skipper, "this would be a good place to take photographs." "Sure thing," he said obligingly. We cir cled the rock and then continued to Sugar Loaf (Motu Haane) (page 86). This rock resembles Sugar Loaf at Rio de Janeiro. Close as we were to land, we could not anchor, as the water is about 20 fathoms. Lines were put off each end of the schooner and made fast to sharp rocks ashore. More copra was taken aboard, along with horses and cattle (page 87). Led by ropes around their necks, the animals swam un willingly out through the surf to the schooner. The horses were then hauled aboard with a rope sling. All the while they protested by thumping the hull of the vessel with their hoofs. However, they were soon mollified by fresh grass which had been placed aboard for them. As for the cattle, they received less con siderate treatment. A member of the crew would dive down and fasten a rope about one hind leg; by this the animal would then be dragged up to the deck. What bellowing! I thought of this as a possible substitute for the Queen Mary's foghorn, should it ever fail.