Chapter 13.


What a relief!  At last we had solid going underfoot and to celebrate we managed, with the wax matches, to light a fire near a small creek and have a very welcome mug of tea and some tinned rations.  Next, we attempted to kill two birds with the one stone and to clean ourselves of the mud and leeches by bathing fully clothed in the water but, to our amazement, even the creek was full of leeches and we hastily retreated up the bank!  We found most of the pests so engorged with blood that they were the size of a little finger and quite unable to move and could see why the early physicians had used them for blood letting.  They were most efficient at the job!

After a rest, and a search and destroy operation on the leeches by applying a burning twig or lighted cigarette to their rear ends, we took off again and soon came upon another small creek.  Along the northern bank we found fresh prints, made by bare human feet, and shortly afterwards made contact with two primitive natives who almost died of fright seeing such a gathering of strange people in their bush!  They carried bows and arrows but seemed much too terrified to think of using them!  They looked and dressed (?) the same as the Sepik natives and our police boys got quite excited.

The locals were badly frightened, and wanted to run, but the policemen quickly headed them off and brought them back and we managed to quieten them, after a while, with presents of trade goods.  Surprisingly they seemed to have a smattering of the Malay language and with this, and some sign language, Sam arranged for them to guide us to a small village nearby.  They called the village Lereh.

To Chapter 14 ->