2014 BentProp Progress Report # 21

P-MAN XVI Update # 21 - Pat tries out a new tool. Casey teaches Nell to point. Belcher revisits an U/W dig site.

01 April 2014

But wait!!! One photo from 31 March that I did not think was appropriate for yesterday's update:

Bill and Flip battling it out over how spicy to have the main dishes at The Taj.

We did not do a lot yesterday. Just seemed that although we needed to accomplish something, we took our time. I think we are getting a bit weary. And we have lots more to do.

We headed up to Police Hill to show Bill Belcher the areas we think some executions and burials took place. Some airmen, frogmen and a Jesuit community were executed here. Again, if we get him enough information, Bill can make a recommendation for a JPAC recovery op.

Although it was a jungle day, we did not go very far, or for very long, into the jungle. We hopefully will take a real cross-country hike through wild jungle before too long.

Here are some photos from the day:

Ray from Cleared Ground showing us the trail to where we want to go.

Pat with his brand new archeology north pointer.

First contact with dirt.

Steve Ballinger from Cleared Ground

Jason and Pat.
In the small world category, Jason used to be an EMT
on a security detail in Pakistan. Between deployments,
he would pack parachutes and learned to skydive
at Dan's old skydiving center in Davis, California.
And we meet up in the jungle in Palau.

Casey teaching Nell the Marine Point.
I don't think the smile is appropriate for either of them.

Joe and one of the other Cleared Ground employees

Hiking from Area A to Area B. The fern that grows everywhere is called False Staghorn Fern.
In Hawaii, it's that state's kudzu, brought in from China.
Not sure if it is native to Palau or not.

A moment of leisure for Derek.

This iPad, in its water-proof, shock-proof, jungle-proof case
is connected to a BlueTooth GPS antenna so we have
great mapping abilities deep into the jungle.

Nell and her B24 drawing. I believe she's working on a Hellcat next.

Jo Schumacher arrived at about 9pm. She is the niece of one of the executed airmen up on Police Hill. She's out here as a guest of BentProp to see where we think her uncle is buried, and also to see his plane which we found a few years ago. However, she was not able to finish her dive certification so if she wants to see the plane, she needs to finish school.

Jo arriving.

Dave Gianakos arrived late this night. He is a new team member and is also a pilot for Delta. If you Google him, you'll realize he knows a lot about airplanes.

Dave, tired but happy to be in Palau

02 April

We had a lot of different directions to go in today.

Pat, Derek, Dave, Nell, Bill and Eric and Mark went back to the Hellcat today. The goal was to allow Bill to look the site over and see if he could make a recommendation for a recovery op. The good news is that after a couple of dives, Bill has enough info. So we do not have to go back to this site and can work on some of the other cases.

The Stockbridge students were on the water today. In the morning, they went out and had a problem with the vehicle. They got it fixed and started searching in the afternoon. It really is amazing to see the team take over from where last year's team left off and move the bar higher. I have not been out on the boat with them yet, but I am looking forward to it on April 7th. This year, rather than having BentProp members with them every work day, we are only out on their boat on the first, third and sixth work days. This gives them some time to work out on the water without being under a microscope.

I had some administrative obligations and met with representatives of the government concerning permits for filming crews, a trip to Peleliu for a memorial ceremony, and general logistics items.

We have four different media organizations out here this year. And their story lines all seem to be different so they are not tripping over each other. GoPro is here, CNET is here, 60 Minutes is here, and Traveling Picture Show will be here.

Our boat came back in. Bill Belcher had to get off to teach a class via the Internet. Pat had to go up to Police Hill with Evan from Scripps to do some octocopter work. I got on the boat and we took Dave out to the Jake for his first dive in Palau. This is a nice warmup dive for anyone's first few days in Palau. Not too deep and something to look at.

Dave's first plunge into Palauan waters. He demonstrates the back- roll entry technique

Dave approaches the Jake

Joe hanging out on the Jake wing

Derek coming...coming...here.

We had the Jake to ourselves for a bit until a pod of divers came by. Too many folks, so we all surfaced and left.

We came back to Neco Marine and picked Bill back up along with Eric and Billy Middleton. You met Billy last year. He lives in Hawaii and works for a company, Liquid Robotics, that makes ocean sensor vessels. One of their products is called a Wave Glider. Billy is temporarily a Scripps guy for a week or so helping with the oceanography projects.

We went back out to a crash site that we found back in 2003. This is a Corsair that is only a few hundred yards from our marina. Bill ran the recovery op a few years later and unfortunately came up empty-handed. It could be the Japanese buried the pilot on the nearby island or in a cemetery, but there is no record of that. Bill wanted to revisit the site.

Pieces of a Corsair.

Main landing gear.

Color near the Corsair.

I did see a lot of new coral growth down in the slightly chillier water of the harbor. And that's always a good thing.

When everyone was done with their day's mission, we all met for dinner at Krämers and then went to Scripps to scrub the day's data for some targets. And we have some, so we have 'job security' on the water for a few more days.

- Flip

All photos © Flip Colmer 2014

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