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Camping Adventures on Cannibal Islands

Camping Adventures on Cannibal Islands - Evelyn Cheesman When it comes to white men, Evelyn does not equivocate:

“ 'Maybe they were not bad white men,' Tarlis allowed, 'but some white men were bad. They killed the people of Malekula, they burnt the villages, they stole men and boys, they stole yams and taro from the gardens, they stole sandalwood.' Of course this was the cause of all the trouble between natives and white men. It was all the white men’s fault in the beginning; bad men, who didn’t think there was any harm in killing natives who had only spears and arrows which were useless against guns."

I do not doubt it. There is no doubting a woman who had the wherewithal to survive falling off a cliff and landing in a thicket in which she hung suspended on the cliff side for days before being rescued, subsisting on berries, and with a nail file had cut her way through sheet after sheet of spider webbing draped across a jungle path in such a way that no matter where she turned she was wrapping herself in the equivalent of sheer steel mesh covered in carnivorous spiders, and had got up and gone on after waking to find her sleeping rug erupting in, in her words, millions of loathsome maggots, born from the microscopic millions of eggs of the blue-bottle fly, about which she jotted down this lesson learned: Wool will not do. There is no doubting a woman like that, not at all. She proves brave and resourceful without measure, owing to her insistence that human beings must better understand and treat their natural world, not to mention catalog all of its insects.

An unaccountably obscure but highly recommended account of a grand explore.

I also recommend Evelyn's "Six-Legged Snakes in New Guinea" and "Insects: Their Secret World."