P-MAN VI Update #15
Friday, January 30, 2004

Are you familiar with the lead-in that goes, "Just when you thought it couldn't get any better...?"

Bear with me.

We started out on the north side of Arakabesan, with Pat, Reid, and Jennifer, and a couple of friends with expertise in archaeology and explosives.. Made two 5-diver sweeps over the area that Joe's informant claims contains a wing with a star on it.


Then we went back to the the new B-24 site, to make a short dive to orient the two new guys, and then a longer dive to set some marker buoys (half-liter water bottles with EOD tape tied on them, with the name of the object written on the tape and the bottle; tied to the underwater object with enough yellow nylon twine to let the bottle [almost] reach the surface). We marked the outer fuselage piece, the ball turret, the vertical prop, and the tip of the right wing. The new guys were blown away.

While we were marking the site, Joe decided to slip off on his own and explore the other side of the coral head, which is sort of round and about the area of a couple of football fields, give or take a few hundred square yards. As we were coming up from our dive, with VERY little air left, Joe announced that he'd found more of the wreckage on the east side of the coral head.

Ready for this? The part where it gets even better?

Joe found a big section of the tail, and a really big section of the fuselage, far more intact than the stuff on the west side. The kind of fuselage section that might contain ... well, you remember why we're here, right? Jennifer and I had already stowed our gear when Joe came back. Pat and one of the others went over to the marker that Joe had set, and went down to take a BRIEF look. They sucked their tanks dry and have clearly just scratched the surface. Although we had three full tanks left at this point, we had just finished two long dives, and intelligence barely overcame the urge to do one more dive. We're going back early tomorrow. On the way out, we located all four buoys on the west side (only one is above the surface) and got GPS fixes on them.

Folks, this is a seriously promising site, with parts of the aircraft much more intact than we've had any reasonable hope of encountering. We're going out now to have a sashimi-beer-and-B-24-book-reviewing debriefing session, and get ready to identify all the parts we find over on the east side. It's an early go tomorrow.

I didn't take any pictures today. I promise some tomorrow.

Onward and upward! Strength through joy!

- Reid