National Geographic : 1948 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine Palau Youngsters' Enthusiasm for Baseball Is as Big as Their Fielder's Glove When Americans arrived, they found the islanders keen baseball fans; Japanese had taught them the game. The author saw a native team hold a Navy nine to a 7-6 score (page 77). These Babelthuap Island children attend school in a ruined Japanese radio station. been blasted to bits, were settled in more com fortable quarters. Others, once hungry be cause Japanese occupation troops took their crops and forbade them to fish in the sea, now have plenty of food. As an impromptu guest at native feasts, I often shared potluck of staggering propor tions! Today, the coconut trade has been revived. Again there is leisure and time for celebration. On several islands I saw village festivals. There were weddings, primitive dances, and spirited outrigger canoe races. To get to these pleasant tropical isles I flew first to Guam, which war changed from a lonely American outpost into a busy naval base and a crossroads of the far Pacific.* While the island is not part of the Trust Territory, geographically it lies in the area. Here, for the time being, are located the offices of the Deputy High Commissioner, who has direct charge of civil administration of the Trust Territory. Students from the Trust islands also are brought here for school ing as medical practitioners, nurses, and teachers. Truk Has Nearly 100 Islands "Passengers for Truk will board the plane at Gate 1." I clambered aboard the waiting amphibian. Five hours later we were circling the islands for a landing. Micronesia's islands are of two types. Some are flat coral patches: others are of volcanic origin. Truk has both. Nearly 100 islands dot its encircling barrier reef and vast lagoon, as wide in places as the distance between Washington, D. C., and Baltimore. Fourteen of them are sizable volcanic land lumps. Tol, largest and tallest of the Truk Islands, * See "Guam-Perch of the China Clippers," by Margaret M. Higgins, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHnIC MAGA ZINE, July, 1938.