P-MAN XI Update #06
- More arrivals. Vans. The Red Rooster lives.
The team has been assembling in Koror. Molly Osborne was the first to arrive. Updates are included below by Molly and Flip.
Great day. My first SCUBA trip in Palau….I should ‘retire’ now from SCUBA, my 6th and 7th dives I am told are some of the best in the world. First though, I got to snorkel in Jellyfish lake! Wow, that was really cool….jellyfish everywhere cruising around without a care in the world. It was like a big bowl of gelatin bits.. Then a ‘checkout dive’ that was beautiful w/ lots of fish, turtles, etc. Finally the last dive of the day- Blue Corner. Unbelievable. I don’t know my fish or coral names but boy there was a lot of both. I felt like I was in Finding Nemo, complete with turtles, sharks, a really big tuna, barracuda and heaps of colorful fish. And it's just beautiful everywhere…the water is SO clear and hues of blues and greens.
Then the evening finally arrived after a wonderful day of diving. Joe, Esther and Quint picked me up to go to the airport to greet our next team arrivals, Flip, Paul and Warren, complete with leis and Red Rooster beer. Our arrival celebration continued at Kraemer’s with a couple more rounds of Red Rooster. Yet another day in Paradise- It's great to be in Palau. I have definitely mellowed into the Island pace and lifestyle.
Tomorrow we start with our errands including Food, vehicles, meeting with the HPO (historical preservation office) and relaxing at Sam’s.
After a great breakfast next door- errands start except for Paul, who started his open water course. Of course he did well and gets to swim with the ‘big sharks’ tomorrow. Warren and I decide this is a much better choice to do it here in Warm Water. Warren froze his butt off in LaJolla last month and I froze in Mexico…57-61 degrees vs 80 plus degree weather here and unbelievable visibility. Our first vehicle that we picked up has been lovingly called the Peace mobile…we just need to find some nice shag carpet for the back and a peace sign for the back mirror. Unfortunately, no spare tire yet, oil change or new filters and we can’t seem to open the back hatch. Hmm. So, it went back today after having the peace mobile for about an hour. No worries though, we also got a really nice Van complete with coconut oil scented tree hanging from the rear view mirror to use in addition. It also has seats, many of them…unlike the Peace Mobile. There’s 11 team members this year so two vehicles will be a must!
Grocery shopping went fine of course…and Flip found the SPAM (sigh) But I discovered Tim Tams and Chocolate Mint Slices which I haven’t had since being in Australia…oh what a treat! Immediately a few mint slices where consumed by Warren and meI. I think Flip and Paul liked them too but they seemed less excited.
Our meeting at the HPO went great and they were very helpful offering any assistance regarding the mission this year along with some information from Palauians they passed on to us. Cool. Possible more info or leads to pursue. I am sure Flip will have a more detailed post on this.
Well, after enjoying the sunset, supper and conversations regarding the day and our mission this year, it's time to close for the night. I am gonna try to stay awake to study for my nitrox test tomorrow…but dunno if that’s gonna happen! 6 chapters complete with a study guide…I don’t know how much I will get done on the boat tomorrow! Paul finishes his course over at Sam’s dive center and the rest of us will go out for a fun dive before the project kicks into high gear. Of course, more teammates come in tomorrow- Mark, Katie, Pat, and Wil. I think that’s everyone and Rick comes in on the 20th.
Ok, I have to study now!
Ok, I really haven’t studied. Maybe today. So Flip decides to be an adult and not SCUBA - too much logistics, internet access, planning/permits to start. Warren and I however, need more practice at SCUBA so that’s what we got to do! Paul went back to Sam’s to finish his open water course and of course he passed with flying colors (we went to NECO). So Warren and I both get to dive the Blue Corner and New Drop off today uh…on nitrox. Yeah, that’s the test I am studying for so I can Use nitrox….’no worries, it will be ok!’ one of our dive instructors Nicole say so that’s what I dove. So, uh, why do I need to pay $150 to take a test? (I DO need to study tonight) It was nice to have a real dive buddy today and Warren and I experienced Currents today. Fast….we went thru a mass of really colorful fish dodging gorgeous coral after going thru Blue Hole (a big hole with an outlet at the bottem to a wall that goes to Blue Corner. Vital too, us both getting more dives under our belt for serious project stuff that we can’t wait to start. Again, lots of cool fish (Finding Nemo), sharks and really cool coral. Thanks ‘dad’ (Flip) for lettin’ the kids play today.
When we got back to our West Plaza hotel we ran into Flip and got a duty…time to pick up the Peace Mobile from ‘Meesh’ down at the auto shop (complete with a white lawn chair and a spare tire in the back) Mission Accomplished…..except for the beeping noise that we couldn’t seem to solve once back at the hotel. So off we went back to Meesh’s to ask (we tried all the buttons, think’n did we leave something on? No avail) what’s up w/ that beeping once I took the keys out of the ignition. Really, the Van couldn’t be THAT sophisticated to have Sensors on the Van doors…..Ya, that’s what it was…and the back hatch was open. Cool thing was, the back hatch Works now. Complete with sophisticated sensors to let us know if a door is open. Shocking. But, it was a great excuse to buy coffee from our new palauian friend’s coffee shop and bring back some for Flip and Paul….and we took the survey there- They don’t eat Fruit bat. Nooooo. They wrinkled their noses (oh and plug your nose too they say) at the thought of eating fruit bat. Great. That’s encouraging. Warren and I Can’t Wait to try it.
Then its off to Rene and Jane’s Krämers for supper (Yum) and uh, Red Rooster Beer. Whew…I may need to take a break soon….And Flip is asking why they gain weight in Palau every year?
Well tonight more team members come in! Pat, Mark, Katie and Wil. Again, cold beers will be there to greet them as well as Joe and Esther’s lay’s. Sweet. Another day in Paradise! Tommorrow more planning, permits and meetings J Flips post will have better details on that.
My travel to Palau went just as planned, with just a little scare in Guam. I flew Detroit to Tokyo and did not get a wink of sleep. I spent the night in Tokyo. I stayed up as long as I could and at 9pm, I crashed hard. I thought for sure with no sleep that I would wake up at a reasonable time. At the crack of 2am, I was up.
Now, with a new day and very little sleep, I flew to Guam. In Guam I found out that my flight to Palau was weight restricted and they would block 18 seats. One of those was mine. So I spent some hours in the airport working my mojo. And emailing to Molly the list of things I would not be able to accomplish that needed to be done for the team.
At the last minute, the numbers worked out and they put me on. All those wasted trons flowing through cyberspace. I feel so un-green. Once I was on board, Paul and Warren showed up. They had taken the flight from Honolulu which only gets to Guam with 45 minutes or so to spare.
A quick stop in Yap and we arrived early in Palau. We were met at the airport by Joe, Esther and their son Quint. Great to see Joe and Esther again. I really am back in Palau. However, I had been up for a lot of hours without much sleep since Detroit so I forgot to pull out my camera and take some pictures.
To the hotel, check in and immediately head to Krämers for a hello Red Rooster. Molly had met us at the airport with cold bottled Red Rooster. But a fresh drawn draft sounded so good. We all stayed up late and I for one slept in until 0600. Late for me looking at past years.
Our first full day here was spent doing logistics work. Except for Paul who was in class working on his scuba qual. We had breakfast at The Palm Bistro, picked up our loaner van (same one as last year), went to the grocery store, delivered our scuba gear to Neco Marine, rented a second van, turned in the first van for servicing and repairs, met with folks from the Historic Preservation Office (along with Jolie Liston who is our personal guide to all things ancient Palauan) , went back to the grocery stores for vitamin O (Oreos for after diving), picked up Paul and then had sunset at Sam's.
We had a great first meeting with Dwight Alexander, Director of Bureau of Arts and Culture and Kelly Marsh, Oral Historian. We filled them in on what we do and how we interact with all the government offices in Palau.
Jolie was off island last year and missed out on all of our adventures. So this year she's making up for what she missed last year. She had already set up the meeting we had with HPO and we are set to meet with Vince Blaiyok on Friday. Vince is the historian from Airai who has some stories of an airplane with a painted lady on the nose.
Out to dinner and then I took a nap. For an hour. Really, that was all. Now I'm typing and trying to get this out to you.
We did not get an Internet connection set up yet. That will wait until Friday. We also were unable to go to the state offices for permits. We'll do that on Friday as well. Tomorrow, although we have things we could be doing, we all will be diving. Paul will be finishing his scuba qual and Warren, Molly and I will be getting some fun dives in.
That's what we've done so far. It's great to be back. And I'm sure
we'll have something
I got a mysterious text message about an hour ago on my cell phone from Wil, implying that if we can receive text messages from each other, he'll be sending some updates that way. To me that's kinda like shoving spitball messages through a keyhole, but hey - whatever it takes! Good luck, Wil!