National Geographic : 1956 Mar
34: ing his way through unknown terrain. For jobs like this, the IAGS employs specialists. In Nicaragua I met one of the specialists. Frank Herbst is a bushman, and looks the part (page 346). He stands well over six feet; his face is weather-beaten from years of living without benefit of wall or roof. He is an expert with pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Trek Across a Continent Once, when he found himself at loose ends in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Herbst decided he would rather be in Georgetown, British Guiana. He set out on foot, switching to cayuco when he could-a trip of over 1,700 miles across part of the high Andes and through the Amazon jungle of Brazil. "It took me about four months," he ad mitted, "but I was in no hurry." When there is particularly rough country to be surveyed, Herbst goes through first, armed with revolver, machete, and high-pow ered rifle, to find the best route for the geo detic engineers as they establish control points. I met Herbst in Puerto Cabezas, a small lumbering town on the Mosquito Coast of the Caribbean (map, page 344). His task was to reconnoiter the wild coastal area from Puerto Cabezas north to the Honduran border. When I arrived, Herbst had already flown along the coast in a small two-seater L-19, one of 45 U. S. Army aircraft authorized to IAGS (page 342). One of his objects was to pick out stations-high points of land visible from one to the next-on which the engineers later would set up their instruments. "Now I have to reconnoiter each station on foot," Herbst said. "I go to the first one tomorrow. Why don't you come along?" We left the next morning at 6:30, Maurice Tewinkel, an IAGS engineer, Herbst, and I. In a rented truck we lurched and bounced the first 10 miles across a dirt track to Crukira, a Mosquito Indian village north of Puerto Cabezas. There, to cross a wide lagoon, we rented a pipante, a dugout canoe. We paid five cordobas (about 70Q) for it. It turned out to be less of a bargain than we thought. A huge leak in the bow almost swamped us before we reached the other side.