National Geographic : 1968 Feb
Rope trick in reverse: Pail hold ing flashlight batteries descends to the hands of a chief of the Oriente's isolated Secoya tribe. Incredibly, the rig is towed by the plane in the distance. A missionary pilot flies the aircraft slowly in tight circles to make the line spiral. Centripetal force-the opposite of centrifugal -causes the weighted end of the line to seek the center of the spiral and dangle almost motionless. Nate Saint, who devised this technique for contacting remote tribes, was one of five missionaries slain by spears of Auca Indians in 1956. Like an oil slick on a sea, the broad Napo River shimmers in trackless jungle before an approaching storm. Conquistador Francisco de Orellana descended its silt-brown waters in 1542 to discover the mighty Amazon and chart its course to the sea. Beneath the Napo's matted jungles, drillers tap vast pools of oil, promising a financial bonanza to Ecuador. "With each telling it grew," the author recalls of this Secoya's story about a boar that fell to his muz zle-loading shotgun. Boar-tusk necklace proves his prowess. Cock of-the-rock feathers thrust from ears and headdress.