National Geographic : 1967 May
on the far island of Pata, in the 30-mile-wide lagoon of Truk, I proposed to two boys that they let me make an underwater photograph of them wrestling with an octopus, the local seafood delicacy. They declined. Fishing was forbidden on the Christian day of rest. American missionary influence, strong throughout all of Micronesia, dates from the 1850's on the island of Kusaie. New England whalers also used to come here for food and water. Reminders of their welcome survive in today's Caucasian faces. Kusaie faded, however, from the American ken. Then, a few years ago, a staff of Trust Territory teachers and an administrator, Fred Muhleman, returned to create a school system and other social services. Fred and his Kusaiean friends led me back a few centuries when they took me fishing for flying fish. At midnight, in moonless dark, low whistles signaled us down to the shore. Cautioned not to speak a word, for fear of alerting ghosts who would warn the fish of our coming, we stumbled into the outrigger canoes and were paddled off silently toward the open sea.