2011 BentProp Progress Report # 19

P-MAN XIII Update #19 - Bats, swamps, tuna, and chili fries

23 March

Mangrove Bound

As Casey headed off for his last day of Open Water dive training, Derek, Joe, and Warren waited for the tide to go down then headed to a known Corsair crash site to battle the mangroves for the afternoon. We made our way there but stopped to crawl over an old lighthouse that had been destroyed in the war and now houses enough bats to paint the first floor ceiling black. After taking a few photos and watching Joe gracefully open and consume a coconut for some early afternoon refreshment, we trekked on.

Derek admires one of Palau's Golden Orb spiders. Judging from the shadow on
Derek's face, it looks like he's only a foot or so behind it. They're BIG, pretty spiders,
and they like to build their webs in the jungle at just about face level. So given a choice,
you should always try to walk through the jungle behind someone who's taller than you.

After being in the mangroves for about ten minutes, we quickly realized that we were soaked head to toe with rain, sweat, dew, and mangrove goop. We located previous finds from prior years and began a semi-methodical search in a new area. The tough part is staying “methodical” when thick mangrove branches run in every direction maybe every foot or so.

Joe and Warren in the mangroves. Note that the're almost up to their knees in mud.
An afternoon in the mangrove swamp is like an afternoon on a jungle gym
that's suspended over a giant tub of chocolate pudding. Except it doesn't smell
like chocolate, and salt-water crocodiles live there.

As usual, the harder you work, the luckier you get, and after about a half hour we did find a significant piece of what we believe to be a part of that same Corsair. We continued searching but that is all the mangroves revealed to us today. Not bad for the first day back in this area! Casey will be with us in the mangroves tomorrow, and Pat arrives tomorrow night as well!

As is tradition, we stopped by the Drop Off for something to eat and drink after the hike. As we were sitting there some fishermen pulled up with their catch of the day: six yellowfin tuna and a marlin. The catch of the day term is literal here in Palau, not just a menu blurb. The yellowfin was great, by the way.

Catch of the day. Really. Yellowfin sashimi is only a few minutes away.

Casey celebrated finishing his qualification with some chili cheese fries.

Chili cheese fries, skillfully eaten by Casey with chopsticks. No, that's not toothpaste in the
green tube. It's wasabi. Clears the palate. And the sinuses.
Congrats to Casey on completing his open-water checkout dives!

- Derek

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