voor de



[Ben Oostdam's
Years 1950-1952]

1952 Training Cruise on the "van Kinsbergen", to New Guinea, part 8

sailing from Singapore to Sorong

Until 1963, the area marked "Irian Jaya" on the map above
was still Netherlands New Guinea;
Indonesia itself became independent in 1949
On March 17, 1952, we sailed through the Java Sea; my diary refers to some personal doubts I experienced which later led to my resignation from the Naval Academy.
We celebrated our crossing of the Equator, and commemorated the Battle of the Java Sea in which our heroic Admiral Karel Doorman died just over 10 years ago.
We did not enter any Indonesian ports because of the tense political situation; for the same reason, our Indonesian classmates had been left behind in Holland.
It was fascinating to pass the various islands of the Moluccas - especially Boeroe (Buru) - with its turbulent history of spices and of faithfulness of Ambonese soldiers of the KNIL (Dutch East Indies Army) to the Dutch Queen - now sorely tested ...(but also see this site, and this one.)
On March 21, 1952 we anchored close to a small island; immediately, the crew produced fishing rods and hooks loaded with ham to fish in the extraordinary clear water. The next morning we sailed through the majestic Street of Sagewin, about 3 miles wide with high and densely forested mountains on both sides, which appeared to have small silvery lakes on them caused by the morning fog. Dark clouds threatened above. We moored along the oil jetty in the beautiful bay near Sorong. The town itself was invisible behind a hill at the end of a sandpath. Two other naval vessels were nearby, the "Buru" and the "Johan Maurits". Five large oil-tanks of the BPM, here known as NNGPM, stood on top of the hill.
We formed an armed guard and I served as bugler, which sounded sensationally here, much superior to the sound in the Den Helder training loft. That evening, dressed in short whites, I served as "haakachter" on the sloop run by Bijkerk, and begged for beer and "bitterballen" from the crew serving at our first shipboard reception party. At 21:00, I produced a rather perfect French tattoo, even receiving applause from the half-deck.
Geography of Moluccas and Irian Jaya...Irian Jaya
The Sorong Fault Zone; tectonic setting...Irian Jaya

Here I am sitting enjoying the jungle near Sorong (except for the mosquitoes)

A carved headrest I bartered for a pack of Douwe Egberts tobacco

Nature reserves...Marine parks...reptiles...biodiversity

BLO fecit 1999-0610 & 0802
to continue to next page:
1952 Training Cruise on the "van Kinsbergen"
to New Guinea, part 9: Netherlands New Guinea