2014 BentProp Progress Report # 04

P-MAN XVI Update #04 - Revisiting known sites, and a couple of new ones

18 March 2014

We finally got a little dirty and wet today. We got up early and quickly briefed the plan for the day. Didn’t take too long since it was what we planned on doing yesterday and we just needed to remind each other what the plan was. So after a bite to eat we grabbed our gear, ran through our checklist, and headed out the door. Since we were still sans vehicle we hiked over to NECO to pick up our boat. Once on the boat, Pat briefed us on where his first aid kit is and what is in it. We discussed first aid yesterday at length. Luckily over the years we have not needed to perform any lifesaving steps, but no need to “rest on your laurels” (although I’ve used the statement several times, I learned the history of it today).

Off we went to visit a previously located site in order to conduct some additional documentation. We wanted to verify that we know what we think we know. This site is located on a small rock island only a few minutes from NECO. Once we got to the island it was only a 20-minute hike up to the site. It was nice to be in the jungle again and walking on some uneven ground. This site consists of a B-24 wing. Over the last year we were informed of a characteristic that would differentiate this wing from an earlier model. Later models had static wicks located on the tip of the wing. Our hope was to find evidence of the wicks on this wing. This would further support what we believe about this crash site. Success! We didn’t find the wicks, but we found the anchor for the static wick that was once there.

After taking dozens of pictures we worked our way back to the boat to go investigate some other areas close by. The first stop was an area that the Japanese built up during the war. We hadn’t been on the island previously but pictures from WWII showed that there was a lot going on there. We made our way onto the island and quickly discovered a cave network, some bunkers, a rail system, and more. It appears that it was a logistics base of some sort, but that is just our “educated” guess. I may or may not have taken an entertaining spill while crawling into one of the caves.

Leaving the island we took the boat over to another small rock island. This island too showed something interesting in the WWII picture. We couldn’t figure out what it was from the pictures but thought we would take a look to see if we could find something on the island. Unfortunately, the tide was keeping us from getting the boat close enough to check it out. We weren’t quite ready to swim to the island, so this adventure will be postponed until another day.

One more thing to check out while we were in the area. This was another B-24 wing. This wing is expected to be an earlier model wing without the static wicks. It is located in shallow water that we can wade to rather easily from the boat. We didn’t find any static wicks but that area of the wing is pretty damaged so we are not completely sure about which model of B-24 this wing came off of.

We figured this would be a good time for a break so we took a quick swim in the area before heading back to the dock for lunch. The ride back was wet as the rain started to come down heavy. The good thing was that it was only a few minutes back to the dock.

After enjoying lunch at the Drop Off we went separate ways. Dan and Sean rode with Joe to go pick up our van. After dropping them off, Joe visited the Ngatpang Governor’s Office to pick up our permit for working in that state. Pat and I walked back to the hotel to clean up. As it turns out, the van needed some more work so Dan and Sean dropped it off at another garage before returning back to the hotel.

One more administrative errand for the day: We finally collected all of the required paperwork and permits to receive our final permit from the Historical Preservation Office (HPO). Dan and Sean had made a stop to see our friends at Roll’em Productions and after hearing about our poor vehicle state, Jeff from Roll’em offered to loan us a van for a short bit. So Joe took Pat to HPO and Dan to Roll’em to pick up the van.

Tomorrow we are headed back to the jungle to look at another new area.

- Derek Abbey

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