2009 BentProp Progress Report # 21a

P-MAN XI Update #21a - Flip almost catches up with Molly
08 March 2009


From Flip

7 March

I think this message catches you up to today. Tonight, I'll write about today. But first, yesterday.

And then there were five. We lost Rick last night. He had the 0500 flight to Taiwan, then he sits for 15 hours and then off to Seattle. Enroute here, he hung at the airport for a similarly long sit. I think he's going touring this time.

We did split ops again. This time Paul had a hankering to go up and poke around the jungle by himself, and chat with Jolie about surveying stuff and about body decomposition in the soil in Palau. Very different on Babeldaob than in the rest of Palau. Babeldaob has very acidic soil so bones degrade rapidly. She thinks we'll never find bones in a gravesite. Our only hope is that if we ever are allowed to look into a suspect area, we find metal that will last in the soil. But we are a long way from ever being allowed to do that.

But he got some time alone, in which he does his best thinking, to ponder what we have to do to locate these men who are still on Babeldaob.

The rest of us headed to Aimelik by boat. We had a contact who said there is airplane wreckage scattered all over the shallows on the southern coastline between the powerplant and the point. There is an Avenger down somewhere in that area - we have found a wing from one. But we haven't found anything else. So we looked and looked. From the boat, dragging in the water and with SSS. (gluttons for punishment, but it seemed to return a better picture today. Maybe tightening that one allen screw really does make a difference).

We never found anything identifiable, but we did talk to a local fisherman who was out with his wife and child, polling on his bamboo raft. He said he fishes here all the time and has never seen a thing. And with a mask, snorkel and flippers, he probably has seen a lot of the bottom.

However, we did get a SSS hit on something with parallel straight lines that was lying on a sandy bottom. We logged it and will probably drop down on it next year. Then we went to visit Ngarchaol. This is the area Dennis showed us with a wing in a lagoon. We have since found a few parts lying on the rock island to the west of the lagoon. We got some SSS hits with the Navy east of the lagoon. We wanted to show Katie and Molly one of our target areas for next year. Some of the lagoon is deep so we do want to create a plan rather than just drop in.


And that was the end of our work day. Katie went to do a little shopping for the team while the rest of us ate and drank at The Drop Off. Then we went and got cleaned up. Tonight is banquet night at Joe and Esther's. For the past few years, Joe and Esther have invited us into their home for a Palauan feast. I love and dread this each year. Love it because it is so good. Dread because I put on way too many pounds.

Joe and his son Quint

Joe and Esther

The groaning board

As usual, the feast was magnificent. We had cold coconut milk fresh from the nut, grouper sashimi, crab and taro leaf soup, tapioca and land crab crab in a crab shell, clam with onion and garlic, whole mangrove crab, steamed grouper with taro, coconut ball and tapioca cannoli for dessert. I wobbled out to the car.

Joe and Esther have been great friends to The BentProp Project for many, many years. When they say we are family, they mean it. And if it wasn't for the Maldanesang family, we would not be as successful as we are.

Back to the casa and I plopped into bed. I needed to get a good rest as we were having guests for breakfast the next day. The next day is blueberry pancake day! So stay tuned.


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