2017 Finschhafen, Papua New Guinea 5th Expedition

Papua New Guinea 2017 – 5th Expedition

I was heading to Wau, Papua New Guinea to install a rudder on the Cessna 185 airplane that missionary Jim Blume owns. Jim had helped with the transportation on two of my expeditions (2006 and 2007) into the Tawa area of Papua New Guinea. It was here in this area of Tawa, actually Bianu Vilage, I saw and recorded the bio-luminescence of the flying creature the locals there called Indava Bird.

Since I was to be in Papua New Guinea already it seemed natural for me to stay a couple of extra weeks to do more continuing research into this creature known by many names, Ropen, Duah, Dewas, Wawanar, Sekleo Bali, and many others.

Knowing I was not in any way in the physical condition necessary to hike the rugged trail from Tawa to Bainu Village I started to look into what would be a suitable area to research. In 1944 Duane Hodgekinson had an experience which started all this research into a possible living pterosaur, when he saw his sighting around the village of Finschhafen just after the end of WWII. Then in 2005 Casey W. had what I call a night time incident (read these and others reports at www. Indavabird.com ) also just outside of Finschhafen, Papua New Guinea.

Finschhafen was only about 70 miles from the major city of Lae. No roads and there is no longer any reliable scheduled ferry going to Finschhafen as there was in 1994 and 2002 when I traveled to Umboi Island. So I went to Voco Point in Lae and found a speed boat which was going to Finschhafen. Paid my 100 kina and waited another four hours till the speed boat had enough paying passengers who were all going to Finschhafen. I found out that a speed boat is just a banana boat with a bigger engine making it go faster.

The 70 miles by speed boat only took three and a half hours of wave pounding sitting on the bottom of the banana boat. Arriving in Finschhafen I found a guesthouse to stay for a couple of days. I had planned on traveling up the coast making inquires and hopefully reach Sialum Station. However torrential rains had made the one road to Sialum impassible in several spots so I had to satisfy myself with other areas of investigation.

The guesthouse turned out to be a very favorable spot for me to have people find me, to relate stories and incidents to me. Normally I travel to the villages and search out eyewitnesses, etc.

I traveled to the west as far as Kwalansam Village and north up the coast road to Bobomgara River. These areas provided no new information concerning the creature I was researching. During some of my investigation I heard about possible incidents in the remote mountainous area around Pindiu which was north west of my area. The reports from Pindiu revolved around a large eagle type bird called the “Kunta”. This large bird had feathers and was shaped much like the sea eagles they were familiar with. Only the wingspan was estimated to be 10 to 12 feet, much larger than a typical sea eagle wings of 6 feet.

One evening, the policemen staying at the same guesthouse as I brought in a young woman with an injured foot. Nothing real serious but the first aid center was not open so they had her wait on the veranda where I was talking with other policemen about the creature I was looking for. As Bridgette heard the policemen talking in Pidgin english about what I had been asking them about, she said she had seen the creature just last year. The policemen quickly started telling me what she was telling them. Seems that Bridgette is from Omom, Barang Village on Umboi Island. Just last year she watched a red glow fly across the village of Omom, Barang to Mount Tanglup and land. Remember Umboi Island had a recent reported sighting of the creature flying over some loggers in daylight just back in March 2017.

Although I personally did not get any more new information, I did make about 20 very good contacts who live in very remote areas of the North Coast/Huon Peninsula. These were mainly school teachers who were flown down to Finschhafen for the national election ballot counting. These men visited with me, some more than once, and were very interested in continuing my research in the areas they live. Many had heard of the stories from the elders, but had not any new information about this creature. Mainly because they were not even aware that the possibility of such a creature still living in their area. I left my contact information with them so if anything remotely close to what I described to them is seen, they will contact me by email.

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False start now to continue on.

I was in line (June 13th) at the American Airlines ticket counter ready to check in my luggage. Everything was running along smoothly.  I had arrived several hours early so I would not have any problems with the over sized box carrying the rudder. The box passed the size limits and weight limit no problem.  Then the ticket agent asked for my Australia Visa!  What! I never had gotten a visa before.  After all the checking and time wasting I missed my flight because I had no visa. Closer inspection of tickets showed that I was changing airlines in Australia, something I had not done before. Changing airlines meant I would leave the transit lounge and have to reenter through security etc. to board Air Niugini air lines. So I came back home shipped the rudder on DHL. Cost to ship a 60 pound box to Lae, PNG?  Try $1420.00!  That unexpected expense used up all my extra money for in-country expenses.  Thankfully a loyal supporter heard about this and now has supplied the necessary funds to continue the research!  Now I rescheduled my flights for June 20th.

ps. Still going to install the aircraft rudder on the bush plane first. ( I am a licensed A&P before anyone freaks out, lol)

Leaving for Papua New Guinea

Finally got the overhauled rudder for the Cessna 185 painted to match the rest of the plane.  Now have it boxed up and ready to head out and install the rudder.  Once that is accomplished and the plane is airworthy again I am planning to do more Indava Bird research.  Hopefully two weeks of researching in the area where all this first was reported by Duane Hodgekinson back in 1944.  I will be within 20 miles of Umboi Island where back in March 2017 loggers reported scaring up a creature that flew over them around noon time.   It would good to get a daylight sighting.

With my only evidence being the bioluminence video taken at night there is nothing in the way of morphology to determine the actual shape of body and wings.  I would be satisfied at this point in my research to photograph a Mega Bat, something seen in daylight!

I will report more as things develop.  I will be out of communications for almost the two weeks.

Bush plane damaged! Needs new rudder!

Jim Blume has been a vital part of the expeditions going into Papua New Guinea in search of the large flying creature called  “indava”. In fact we were told of another day light occurrence on the island of Umboi 2 months ago. Loggers appeared to have spooked one up around noon as it flew over their logging area.

Jim has been a missionary pilot flying the jungles area of the central highlands since 1969. Jim and his red and white Cessna 185 bush plane are famous for the mercy medical flights he has made when nothing else was available. In fact the first year I saw the plane tied down in the middle of the grass field and the end of the grass runway I thought ” no way can this plane survive” I was sure that “rascals”, the local name for vandals, would surely destroy the plan. However Jim told me that through all the years no trouble has occurred from the locals because the head outlaws in the area know Jim will fly them to the hospital in Lae just like he would any other medical emergency. So for all these years this has worked. Until last month someone chopped the rudder with a machete and made it unairworthy.

I am trying to raise the funding to but a replacement rudder for Jim. The current cost for the rudder I have found that will bolt right on the plane is $1700.00. I looked into making a field repair but was warned not to try as the rudder needs to in a jig to prevent any warping, as too not cause possible control flutter at high speeds.

If you would like to help with the cost you can send through to me paypal or if you need a tax receipt I can send you through my local church or send donation to the Creation Evidence Museum of Texas tagged for “Jim Blume aiplane”

Thanks for any help you might be able to give and please spread the word about this need.

Paul Nation           Jim’s plane is the red and white bush plane seen in some of the pictures on this site.

 

Of course if this works out I will be able to spend a couple of weeks researching a new area! I plan on handcarry  the rudder through customs and installing it. Then off to the jungle for two weeks.

Pictures

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Group of young men from village assisting our trip.

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Dressed in their finest. The “cloth” hanging off their heads is actually made from tree bark. They use as a rain coat and a ground cloth to sleep on.

 

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Typical hut on stilts. This elevation was 6,000 feet above sea level and yet it rained nightly. Typical “cloud forest” environment.

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Two young boys from Bianu village walked to the grass airstrip with me. The grass airstrip can be seen as the bare piece of ground behind the boys. When we see the strip from this distance it means only 2 more hours of walking!

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Along the trail people had put in pipes in areas where the water was clean. We would stop clean our utensils and fill our canteens.

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Many a time the locals would come to see “the white man” and would help with my camp site for the night. These men were digging ditches around the tent to channel rain water away from me during the down pours.

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Bainu village boys who followed me for a week.

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Crossing foot bridge. About 15 feet above the water. I always felt safer when there were two logs to walk across!

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These log bridges were everywhere. Some were in good shape, others were scarily rotten.

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One of my packs for the month supplies,which the 15 year old girls carried for eight hours. Up and down the trail with hardly breaking a sweat. Amazing

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Family from Bainu village. Mr. Zion’s family who let me stay at the “high garden” site. His father was the last person eaten by the village in the 60’s.

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Almost to the “high garden” site. Where I will spend the next two weeks researching. 6,000 feet above sea level.

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My guide Joseph’s sister working her garden. The garden is on a steep slope. There is a new born baby in the sack on her back also.

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Just part of the terrain as we hike to Bainu village.

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Joseph. My guide. Had good contacts in this area as his sister had married into the tribe. Spoke little English, but we communicated well enough.

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Group ready to leave and go search an area I was not allowed to go. Thought they saw something, but I felt the report not valid enough to make the all day trip and maybe cause trouble.

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My 15 year old girl porters. The men consider it woman’s work to carry anything, so I could not find men to carry these packs. The girls were amazing in the strength they had to carry this weight (75lbs) for 8 hours. Especially with the load on their necks!

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See how well I can cross on a two log bridge! The single log bridges could get slippery!

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One of the oldest women in the village. Said she was in her 60’s

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Tawa village across the grass airstrip which is in the middle of the picture.

Pictures from researching in the central highlands of Papua New Guinea.  155 033_33 060_60 100_100 184

Another 1875 report

The Daily News Nov. 24, 1875    (London, England)

From the account furnished by Mr. Henry Smithurst, who was the engineer of the steamer in which the stream was explored. …” We often heard the natives speak of a large bird which could fly away with a kangaroo or a large turtle, but I scarcely credited the statement until I saw two of the birds myself. One was seated on the trunk of a large tree, and rose as we approached. The noise caused by the flapping of its wing resembled the sound of the locomotive pulling a long train very slowly. When it had flown away we heard another coming, with just the sound of an approaching goods (freight) train. I had a good opportunity of observing it, and it appeared to be sixteen or eighteen feet across the wings as it flew; the body dark brown, the breast white, neck long, and beak long and straight. Our guns had no effect on it. I feel sure I struck it, but flew on as unconcernedly as ever.”

 

This is from the same person just a different perspective.

Fall 2014 Research Expedition Canceled

It is with a strong disappointment that I have decided to cancel the October expedition into the jungle of Papua New Guinea.  After much effort I had to realize that I was woefully under funded, and to try an expedition would be foolhardy.  I will still continue to search for adequate funding and keep all avenues open.  I will hopefully have better funding for the next weather window is next July and August 2015.

My thanks to those who encouraged and supported me.