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 Author  Topic: Rendova Harbor PT Boat info 2009
Shaneo2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Shaneo2  Posted on: Nov 24, 2009 - 8:13pm
Just returned from the Solomons and some news for those that may make it out there to see the base area in Rendova Harbor.

-Place to stay in Munda: Agnes Lodge, who also have boats (crewed) one can rent for 1/2 day, or full day to visit Rendova.

- Dive Shop: Dive Munda in the lodge area, Graham and Jen, plus Sunga, Brain and Solomon. I had several excellent dives (and beers) with these folks.

Also, Agnes has wi-fi connection now, having it put in place as I was there.

Air Pacific has a great site, where you can book tickets to Henderson on Guadalcanal- via LAX/NADI/VILA/Henderson

Solomon Air has several flights to/from Munda each week.

Anyway, it was as always an interesting trip. I did not expect to look so much into PT Boats -as that was not my primary interest- yet due to the unreliability of one of my guides I ended up more focused on the PT area.

(Prior to getting started, the dive shop thinks there is a PT engine block on the reef on a dive site, over on the Munda side. I did not dive that site, so I did not know.)

Ashore on Bau Island, I was able to look around a bit more and compare some of the cement foundations to 1944 film footage, all the cement foundations there in the ville are remainders of the USN base.

Over on the point are more items such as a shower stall base (?) and such. I asked about the trees there too, the locals showed me the coconut trees that were there during the war. These trees had spike marks in the trunks where the Yanks ran wires from tree to tree.

The best tree though is what I named the "Wally Tree", this tree has very deep weathered letters carved into it spelling "WALLY". The locals said this was done by an American not them....(and no the locals do not put spikes into their trees, or carvings), as these are food and drinking sources, not for graffiti and such.

Either Bau or Pau Island was also said to have a small airstrip during the war, if any vets here can remember, please reply here- as many of the local elders there have passed on- and most of the younger generation are little interested in such matters.

The inlet in Bau is littered with debris on the bottom, bits of metal matting, barrels, an overturned landing barge (LCVP ?), with its ramp open. On the left side (East) of the bay when the water is clear you can see the outline of the PT Boat dock there. I already marked the other normal US Barge remains in a previous email. We also found spent .50 cal rounds on the coral below.

Using Google Earth on can see stone jetties on the West side of the inlet, both probably built by the base- the one furthest to the South, was probably for the PT drydocks that were positioned there.

The East end of Bau I was told was an "restricted area" during the war, and there are numerous concrete foundations down there too. There is said to by the remains of a "firing range" over to the North of the inlet across the island.

The diving was great for finds, however much of the deeper coral is dead, due to the Tsunami a couple years back-

Our finds, which were found under my direction from research I gathered :

Five Anchors, most with chain attached and in deeper water- I've no doubt all were used by PT Boats, or their support vessels, this due to location and type of anchor.

As the anchors where wedged in the coral in such a way- I do not think they intended to get them back. Two, maybe three were Danforths, the others much larger traditional types of anchor.

In addition to the anchors, we located two "possible" mooring sites (everything was marked and noted GPS wise, to avoid other claims of first discovery). One is a large amount of ss wire either coming out of some object on the sloping u/w shelf. The other was ss wire laced through several barrels on the bottom. They almost made a "wagon wheel shape", all full of something and (as mentioned) laced with wire one to the other.

We also located a PT Boat engine vent scoop, that is to be place outside the local dive shop...and I saw a glass cover of some sort that I have to have another here id for me...the debris in the 2008 site was much more exposed this year.

On our safety stop on the debris field, one of the dive shop staff while looking for buried wood, discovered something to like boat ribs of wood, several .50 cal rounds, a .45 cal pistol round and lots of wood bits (again like 2008), with ss and monel screws in them.

The find which served a reminder that this was from the war, was the remains of a old boot sole that was under the sand and wood bits, next to it was a probable human bone. If anyone knows which PT Boat (117 or 164) had the KIA fatalities let me know, so I can pass it on to the dive shop.

Lots more to do still as far as marking the base area- there was even a cemetery either on Bau, or Rendova. I did not have time to find its location. The bodies there were said to be moved to Mundas large US cemetery, then the bodies were removed to the USA, or PI and re-buried.

In Munda, one can see the overgrown US cemetery, in 2008 some locals cleared a piece to plant their food gardens. In the clearing one could see rows of pits were the dead once rested.

There is some local movement by a former US peace Corps chap who married a local lady, to try to and get the S.I. government to preserve Lumbari Island (JFK base), and Rendova Harbor as a historical site/eco lodge etc....I doubt if much will come of it, but I will include his snail mail address later.

I can be reached on this post, if you are interested in going to Rendova, I will try to help- if you want to ask questions- some I will be happy to help, but I recommend you go yourself, you will not be disappointed. The Dive shop will do what they can to help you I am sure, but if you want to sit back and have myself, or them do your research for you- "won't happen".

Also, if you are thinking to sail into the harbor and simply collect parts and such from the sea bottom, or base area, this has been anticipated- and the locals told to watch for such acts, it would help to read the "Solomons relic act of 1980" and work from there.

Regards-

Shane E.




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Shaneo2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Shaneo2  Posted on: Dec 1, 2009 - 3:22pm
The US ex pat I mentioned above is:

Mr. Dennis McAdams
Hopono Village, Rendova Is.
P.O. Box #157, Munda
New Georgia Island
Western Province
Solomon Islands

He is married to Effie, whose father John Z. Kary was involved with the rescue of JFK's men from the PT 109.

As mentioned above, Dennis is trying to get some NGO's and the Solomon Govt. to establish some sort of eco lodge on Lumbari Is., with protection for the Island and harbor area (?)

Having seen the corruption and total apathy of the Solomon Islanders and the apathy of the US government towards our US "Missing in Action" in the Solomons- I really do not expect much from either of those governments, but I wish him luck.


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Mark Culp

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Mark Culp   Send Email To Mark Culp Posted on: Dec 18, 2009 - 7:32pm
Shane,
Do you know if anyone has checked the 31 boat site? (Long 14deg 45.0N Lat 120 deg 13.0E). Thanks, Mark



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Shaneo2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Shaneo2  Posted on: Dec 20, 2009 - 6:05pm
Mark,

No info there I'm afraid.


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David Buck

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Buck   Send Email To David Buck Posted on: Dec 21, 2009 - 3:30am
Mark,
Are you refering to the PT 31 sunk near Subic bay P.I.

D.B.

D.buck

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QM

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Dec 21, 2009 - 5:19am
The location given is the Manilla neighborhood.

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Drew Cook

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Dec 22, 2009 - 3:00pm
Shane,

The official PT boat history, "At Close Quarters," stated two men were killed in the August 1, 1943 Japanese air raid on Rendova..."One bomb blasted PT's 117 and 164 at their dock and killed two men."

I think the two KIA were probably crewmen on PT 164, the entire forepart of which was completely demolished.


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Shaneo2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Shaneo2  Posted on: Dec 26, 2009 - 10:01am
The "Wally Tree", on Bau Island in Rendova Harbor.

IMG_1022.jpg


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Shaneo2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Shaneo2  Posted on: Dec 26, 2009 - 10:07am
Thanks Drew- I reckon it is the 164 also...

Also on the Wally Tree above, one can see another coconut tree on the extreme right with an example of "spike marks" on the tree, whereas the younger ones in the same photo have none.

If one were to do a study of the base, on suggestion would be to follow the trees still existing w/spike marks in them ...may lead to other areas of interest.

Regards-


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Shaneo2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Shaneo2  Posted on: Dec 26, 2009 - 10:56am
US mooring block on the reef East end of Bau Island. This is a odd one as it is on the reef itself. There was a WW-II navigation marker almost at this spot according to the USN chart.

In the background one can see Lumbari Island with the white sand beach- there is the point of Pau Island also in the photo.

I located another mooring block exactly the same in 2008 between Bau and Pau Island...this one was in about 15'-20' ft. of water, and was said to be the mooring block for US Barges.




Regards-

Shane


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