Mysteries Solved!

Mystery Solution by Justin Andrew:

Query: Does anyone know where Joe Carnwath's canoe is? It isn't in the Guam airport anymore. Who ever has it might like to see the
photographs of its construction.   Joe thinks it may have been the last canoe built on Sonsorol and so might represent the end of that line
of technological development.  Perhaps the canoe finally made its way into the ocean. Any ideas?

Justin Andrew: Fortunately Joe's canoe is back at the Guam Airport and it is hanging very visibly from the departure/check in area. It was previously stored under a stair case at the arrival area of the airport on the parking lot level. Justin took this photograph during his last trip to Guam in June 2004.

Joe Carnwath's Canoe at the Guam Airport Look at the larger photograph because Justin's photograph shows what a beautiful canoe it is!

Mystery Solution by Donald Rubinstein:

Stella Patris: What does my middle name, Mauweche, mean?

Donald Rubinstein: I'd volunteer that on Fais the word is a term of endearment and means
something like "buddy, friend, folks". No exact equivalent in English. It's used in phrases like
"Sa bwong re-mawech" ('Goodnight, friends'), "ho sa tamway, mawech?" ('Are you feeling
sick, buddy?'), "Yi sa fahoy re-mawech kawe" ('I feel sorry for those folks'). It's not specific
for gender. And on Fais, it's never (to my knowledge at least) used in personal names.

Partial Mystery Solution by Sebastian Marino (agreed with by Marcus Hangaripaii):

Two mystery photographs: Can anyone tell us about these two photographs from 1972?

Tobi Island  Otong Emilio     

The one on the left
with Mary & James was taken in Araki. Sebas & Marcus agree the woman
sitting with Mary is Regina. Marcus wonders if Andrew Tobias is sitting next to Regina.

The one on the right with Otong was taken on Tobi during Eduardo's funeral.
Who are the other people?
Marcus reports that with Otong are Furmencino (Cino) Samuel in
the middle and Maximo Marcello to Cino's right. In the back on the right can be seen Marcus's
father, Marcello Hangaripaii with baby Nelson.

Partial Mystery Solution
by Justin Andrew and Dave Sapio:

Transit Reef, Pieraurou:   have any of you ever seen it? 
Have you seen a map which shows it?

Justin Andrew: No, I have not see the actual reef, but have seen a map indicating the location and the name of the reef, Transit. On one of my visits to the OIA's field office here in Saipan, I saw a copy of an old, must have been a Navy or TT map, hanging on the wall in the hallway. To my surprise, there was Transit Reef situated South East of Tobi. I thought the Reef was somewhat a mystery since Capt. N. Andrew and his entire crew searched for it during Tobi's first Inaguration and could not find it.

  Transit Reef Map

Dave Sapio sent this map taken from some Indonesians arrested south of Tobi. It shows Tobi, Helen, and Transit Reef. Coordinates for Tobi, Helen, and Pieraurou from the Hatohobei State Constitution. The dotted lines on this map are what the Indonesians consider to be the boundary of Palau's territory.


Mystery Solution by Justin Andrew:

Does anyone know this woman?
Woman in Canoe
Passing a Rock Island, Palau.
Photo 10 from Reel #1870: Slides of Palau. Japanese Era and Economic Activities. (25 Slides) 1914-1978.

Justin Andrew: This was Marcellina, the mother of the current Tobi State Governor, Sabino Sakarias.

Mystery Solutions on the NOAA photographs
Contributed to by
by Justin Andrew, Marcus Hangaripaii, Lorenzo, Dave Sapio:

Image ID: mvey 0077
Small World Collection

Tobi or Sonsorol?
Offshore view of island. Reef edge not apparent but present.

Marcus Hangaripaii solves the mystery: It is a shot of Tobi from the east side. He wasn't sure at first but "when I viewed the solved mystery section, the same photo was shown with an up-close shot [Image ID: mvey0076]." Marcus points out the two tall coconut trees in both photos and the shore line and he thinks they are a match.

Location: Tobi or Sonsorol, Western Caroline Islands
Photographer: Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program
June 1971

View of Island

Image ID: mvey 0053
Small World Collection


Whose canoe was this? Outrigger canoe in storage house.

These canoes aren't Tobian canoes. Justin thinks perhaps they are from the Eastern Carolines--Yap or Chuuk.

Location: Tobi, Western Caroline Islands
Photographer: Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program

Tobi Outrigger Canoe
Image ID: mvey 0054
Small World Collection
Who was this? Micronesian making a paddle with an adze for his outrigger canoe.

The adze is not a Tobian adze and no one recognizes the man.

Location: Tobi, Western Caroline Islands
Photographer: Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program
Tobi paddle
Image ID: mvey 0055
Small World Collection

Who were these people?
Micronesian fishermen greeting the TOWNSEND CROMWELL

Justin says this is not Tobi; the style of the canoes is of Eastern Carolines.

Location: Tobi, Western Caroline Islands
Photographer: Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program

Tobi Canoes
Image ID: mvey 0056
Small World Collection

Who were these people?
Micronesian fishermen greeting the TOWNSEND CROMWELL.

Again, these are not Tobian canoes.

Location: Tobi, Western Caroline Islands
Photographer: Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program

Tobi Canoes
Image ID: mvey 0072
Small World Collection

Who was this family?

Shelley Collins recognized some of her students from Sonsorol. She tells us that the first three identifications here are correct, but the person in the back is a boy, Cisco Pedro, Lucy's big brother and the son of Ben, the school teacher.

This is on Sonsorol. The little boy on the left is Edwin Mario, the girl in the middle is perhaps Lucy Pedro, the girl holding the man's arm is Maxie Theodore, the man is Patris Nestor.

Location: Tobi or Sonsorol, Western Caroline Islands
Photographer: Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program
June 1971

Family Group
Image ID: mvey 0073
Small World Collection

Whose house and boathouse was this?
welling on left - boathouse for outrigger canoe on right.

Probably on Sonsorol.

Location: Tobi or Sonsorol, Western Caroline Islands
Photographer: Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program
June 1971

House and Canoe House
Image ID: mvey 0076
Small World Collection

Who are these people?
Wading ashore after disembarking from small
boat at reef edge.

This is Tobi, on the east side near the pit where the road comes out.

Location: Tobi or Sonsorol, Western Caroline Islands
Photographer: Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program
June 1971


Mystery Solution by Dave Sapio & Marcus Hangaripaii:

Mysterious place: Marcus gave us this picture and we can't figure out where it was taken. Any ideas?
Marcus Sports Photograph

Mystery Solution by Dave Sapio: This is in Echang, across the street from Marcus's house, with Nicholas Aquino's house in the background and near Farisuke with barracks in the background.

Marcus Hangaripaii: This photograph was taken in Eang on the road in front of my father's house toward Sisca and Nicolas's house. People in the photograph are in back, left to right: Erwin, Anita, Wayne; in front: Sodong, Staline, Augustine.

, Yohong? Does anyone know the English names for these fish?

Mystery Solution by Sebastian Marino:
Yohong is called Black Jack in English and its scientific name is Caran lugbris. It has variable color, dark slate to brownish gray to light gray without mych silver sheen.

Ecology: Singly or in small groups along steep outer reef slopes and offshore banks (12-354 m). Large ones may be ciguatoxic which is not true in Tobi. It is seasonal and one of the most precious fish on the island. The first catch of the season normally goes to the chief ( in the old days).

This fish has its traditional taboo. It can't be prepared in any other ways than BBQ or sashimi. It is common with Tobian fishermen to use fish flesh (raw) for bait, but this is one that can't be used. Once someone dishonors this tradition, the fish will be gone, disappear, although it is in season.

Moru is called Squirrelfish or Soldierfish. Both are plentiful in Tobi. They are reddish in color and normally caught at night. Boney but very delicious fish. BBQ is the only common way to prepare it, but it still can be prepared some other ways.

Ecology: In crevices, holes, caves, reef flats and slopes or under over hangings. 5-50m, Solitary or in groups.

Die Karolinen: We have some mysterious pages in German about the Southwest Islands. Neither author nor title appears on those pages. The pages run from 69 through 78. At the top of every other page appears the heading, "Die Karolinen." The facing pages have the heading, "Ethnographischer Teil." Subheads include: Das falumar; Das ferimau; Das Versammlungshaus; Die Mannerarbeitshauser; and Tobi (Lord North, Neville Island). It was obviously written after 1935 since it cites to Eilers. Any ideas?

Mystery Solution by Jane Barnwell: The pages are from the following: Schlesier, Erhard. Die Erscheinungsformen des Männerhauses und das Klubwesen in Mikronesien: Eine Ethno-Soziologische Untersuchung, S-Grafenhage: Muton Co., Den Haag 1953.

Mystery: Do you recognize this laundry?   It dates from 1992 when Roz Hunter-Anderson took this photograph.
laundrytobirha.jpg (65442 bytes)

Mystery Solution by Justin Andrew: It may be my mother's laundry. The water well belongs to my mother or our family.

Mystery:  Does anyone know these two Tobians in this picture from Angaur in Navy times?
Two men from Tobi  (74628 bytes)
Mystery Solution by Sebastian Marino:  While clicking through the mysteries and question page, I notice familiar faces in the mystery picture posted. Yes, it is truly a mystery to many (Tobian) on this list, because those faces look very young. But from what I see in this picture, those two men are Faustino Marup (left) and Florentin Yangilmau (right). I am not guessing. This is truly them. The picture seems to be very old though, maybe taken right after the war. Florentin looks like he was in his late teens or early twenties, so no wonder it is very hard to be identified. Hope mystery solved!

Mystery: Click here to read the article behind this headline:  Palau tourist brochure gave wrong origin.  The name of the author of the article, which was printed in the Pacific Daily News on Monday, July 1, 1991, is a mystery.  Do you know?

Mystery Solution by Huan Hosei.  Author finds his decade-old article while browsing FOTI! Huan wrote this article when he was a senior at UOG. A long time ago, said Huan.

Mystery: Does anyone have any idea who these dancers are?

Mystery Solution by Justin Andrew: Justin did! They are all Sonsorolese. Samuel Bemar is on the right and John Nestor is on the far left. Justin isn't sure who is in the middle--it could be a Palauan. Everyone should have known that Tobian male dancers don't wear flowers on their heads and Tobian dancers would not wear palm leafs (ubut) across their chest. Hands clasped this way should also have been a signal that these men are not Tobian.

Mystery dancers (38257 bytes)

jvitarelli1.jpg (24186 bytes)
Mystery: Photo taken on Tobi in 1974 or 1975 by Janice Vitarelli.   Who are they?
Mystery Solution
by Sebas Marino:  These are three sisters, Faustina, Francisca, and Erica Marcello.  Sebas wonders what was happening in the sky.  An airplane passing by?

Mystery:  Phaeton & Gygis in German; Sok & Giegi in Tobian. 
Does anyone know what birds these are?  They are included in the word
lists from Eilers and were collected by A. Kramer. 

Mystery Solution by Jacob Love & Sebas Marino (in that order): 
Jacob says that Phaethon is the genus name of several tropic birds (in
Samoan, tava'e).  Gygis is the genus name of several terns.  Gygis alba is
the common white tern (in Samoan, manusina).

Sebas says that Sok could be the bird Tobians called Suh (Sooh). 
It is a white bird with a black cap on the head and a long skinny tail. 
Giegi could be the one Tobians called Hiyehie.  It is a white migratory
sea bird commonly seen on the island during Niafangi (winter time). 
Fishermen are always on the look out for them because they are good
tuna fish detectors.  Both birds are both the same size--3/4 to 1 pound.

Updated: September 3, 2020