2013 BentProp Progress Report # 21

P-MAN XV Update #21 - Almost a wrap...

12 April

I think this will be the last update by Flip from the field. Today was an interview day and check-out-a-section-of-the-jungle day. We started with a briefing to the U.S. Ambassador, Helen Reed-Rowe. I'd send you a picture of this but we're not allowed to bring cameras into the embassy compound. They have a beautiful view of a bay and the Rock Islands. The embassy folks took a picture of us with this in the background, but we haven't gotten it yet.

Then we headed over to Ibabong, on the west-central coast of Babeldaob. We wanted to find someone who could tell us about the section of the jungle an elder pointed us to the other day. We found Isidor Ilemelong. He is a hunter who knows the area, but was also a heavy- equipment operator when the cross-island road was improved. Not only did he tell us about the place, he took us there. He definitely narrowed down the area we have to search. Now it's just one half of infinity. We went in on what Joe saw as an old road. It's pretty thick with jungle, but you can make out the flatness of it compared to the rest of the jungle. Whether this is an old Palauan road, or a Japanese road, we don't know. We followed it a ways and came upon a large open field. This is how the elder described what we should be looking for. But, we really don't have enough information to spend the day tromping in the woods so out we went. But at least we got some jungle time this mission.

Right now you're asking yourself, 'How come there's no picture of the jungle?' When I went to document what we were doing, my camera gave me an error message. (I didn't know it could do that.) "No communication between the lens and the camera body." I cleaned the electrical contacts on both the lens and the camera body, but it didn't fix the issue. Therefore, no more photos with this camera from me. Maybe someone else will provide me with some.

One idea we had was to go to the next village to the east. Ibabong is to the west in Ngatpang state. Ngchesar [pronounced n(g)esar] is to the east. Maybe someone there might know about this jungle area. We conducted two interviews. One with Kerngel Adebai who was 20 when the war came and Anastasion Ngiriwelenguul who was 29. We had wonderful conversations, but nothing new that added to our database.

Back to town, out to dinner and our field work is done.

13 April

We had one more pancake breakfast today. Blueberry pancakes, bacon, orange juice and coffee. We ate in as we also wanted to do our own wrap-up outbrief. We talked about where we're heading for next year and some of the things we need to accomplish between now and then. There are still a large number of MIAs to be brought home so we're going to keep on coming back until we run out of intel and people to talk to, to get intel.

Casey and I leave tonight, Pat on the 15th and Dan on the 16th. We're moving photo files, packing boxes and placing our stuff in storage. Makes coming here just a bit easier since all my jungle stuff and town wear will be waiting for me.

Robert, the owner of The Ta,j is putting on a special dinner for us. Then Casey is on the 0130 flight to Guam via Yap. I'm on the 0400 to Tokyo. I'll give a wrap up once we're all back.

Dan, last day on boat

Casey and a lot of blue

The Norm's port wing with better visibility.
Photo by Pat Colin of The Coral Reef Research Foundation

The Norm's tail.
Photo by Pat Colin of The Coral Reef Research Foundation

- Flip Colmer

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