A New Library of Articles

Posted in Articles on July 30th, 2010 by MadDog
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For some time I have been thinking about collecting all of the magazine articles which I have written and making them available here on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi. Today, I got myself in gear to start the process. The work is slightly complicated and time consuming. First I have to scan the magazine pages into a compact PDF file. Then I have to get the first spread into an image file. Then I have to go through a process in WordPress that is ridiculously complicated. I want both the link and the thumbnail image to point to the same PDF file on my server in the USA. You would think that WordPress would make this easy. Maybe I took too many Stupid Pills last night when I started working on it.

The first article that I tried was Heart of the Hunter. from Niugini Blue magazine. You should be able to click on the link or the thumbnail image below to get a new window or tab. It may take a while for it to load, but if you have Adobe Reader on your computer, you can then read the article. The file is about a megabyte, so be patient.

Since that one seemed to work after two hours of fiddling, I decided to add a couple of more while I was on a roll.

This is about diving at Planet Rock. a location about which you have seen many posts if you are a regular reader.

Though it is one of our favourite locations, it is a little farther out and if the sea is rough it can be an unpleasant experience.

The last one for today is The Green Dragon. This is the B-25 Mitchell bomber near Wongat Island.
I hope to find a neater way of doing this. I plan to have a section in the sidebar for Articles, but I haven’t figured out how to get the PDF files over there. It should be child’s play.

Unfortunately, I’m no longer a child.

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Sunrises Until You Want to Scream

Posted in Humor, Mixed Nuts on June 15th, 2010 by MadDog
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I usually try to get my daily post off at the beginning of the day before disaster strikes. I didn’t make it today. Nobody is dying and there are no injuries, but otherwise what started out as a hectic but promising day including hard work in the morning and a dive with some very significant visitors in the afternoon turned out to be a day of interesting events (In the sense of the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times!”) which simultaneously led to both sadness that something so disgusting should happen and gratitude that it wasn’t much worse. Someday, when the dust has settled, I may tell you about it.

In the meantime, I’ll show you garish images until you feel like screaming, “Enough with the sunrises!”

Here is this morning’s immensely uninspiring sunrise:

Yawn . . .

I tried to doll it up with some cocount trees:

Hey, we’re getting a hint of some crepuscular rays. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .

Okay, how about if I put my dog, my lovely sweet mongrel, Sheba, in the sunrise?

Okay, I had to use a very low shutter speed, so one of her legs is blurred. She really does have four legs.

Now, let’s try it with my neighbor’s haus win:

A haus win  is a little platform on which one can sit with a roof overhead and enjoy the breeze without being fried by the tropical sun. It is also an excellent place for a nap, since the roof will protect you from falling coconuts knocking your head off.

Okay already, enough with the sunrises. I’ll show you a failed image of a Spotfin Lionfish (Pterois antennata)  which I love nevertheless:

I got this one on Saturday someplace. I can’t remember where. It’s all a blur. I was shooting down in a hole and I had to use a ridiculously slow shutter speed. Therefore the blurry fins. However, I love the look of the image. It implies motion. Heaven knows, we need motion. Otherwise we would all turn into Ice 9.*

As you may have gathered, I am rather zoned out at the moment. Others say, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” I say, “What doesn’t kill me gives me the giggles.”

Okay, here is my last desperate attempt to amuse you. If this doesn’t do it, I give up:

One might ask, “What is it?” And, this would be a perfectly reasonable question, if, in fact, there were any reason to be had. Is that too many commas?

Well, let me tell you what it is. It is a piece of metal off of The Green Dragon,  a B-25 bomber which regular readers will remember from many tiresome messages sent into the black hole of the web in times before. It has slept on the bottom of Tab Anchorage  near Wongat Island  since the year I was born.

And, it’s still shiny.

* See Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle.

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Another Fine Mess

Posted in Under the Sea on June 14th, 2010 by MadDog
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Thanks to the Queen’s Birthday, a public holiday here in Papua New Guinea, I did not have to go to work today, a bright and sunny Monday. That gave me a chance to work on one of my other jobs and write an article for Niugini Blue  about diving with Roz Savage. Well, it was a productive day, but I’m knackered, so I will spare you my usual nonsensical chatter.

My Facebook friend Kevin Lock sent me a link to a very scary site which allows you to put the footprint of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico right over the top of your house, if you are so inclined. My sense of geography is askew because of living in the same place for nearly half of my life, so I wanted to get an idea of the scale of the disaster. I put it right over Madang:

I was dumbfounded. All that I could think of was to be thankful that we have no ecological woes that could, even in the worst possible case, hold a candle to this one. That would be the same as comparing a firecracker to a hydrogen bomb.

I spent years in the U. S. Army National Guard flying helicopters. A large percentage of our missions were in support of disaster relief. I have seen close up and personal the kind of personal tragedy that such disasters cause. This one goes well beyond my imagination.

To get my mind off of those dreadful memories, I’ll show you the wing of The Green Dragon  B-25 bomber near Wongat Island:

What you see is the remaining metal framework of the control surface at the rear edge of the wing.

Inside the fuselage at the corner of one of the ammunition boxes was a spindly shrimp with an eel poking its head out next to it:

I wonder if they are even aware of each other.

Down on the bottom, behind the wing is a Heliofungia actiniformis  coral full of Periclimenes  shrimp:

The shot above is about as good as I can get with the Canon G11 in the low light conditions. I had to shoot at ISO 400. If you know what that means, you’ll have respect for this little camera a bit bigger than a pack of cigarettes, if anybody remembers what that looks like.

Here is another shot that gives an idea of how many of these little nearly transparent shrimp you might find in one coral:

They were hopping around like tiny bunnies.

This is very young coral colony which Monty Armstrong found out near the nose of the bomber. It was as delicate as any flower I’ve ever seen:

Its current size is about five or six centimetres. It will be interesting to see how fast it grows.

I’m tired and I still have captions to write. There will be more useless mumblings tomorrow.

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Back to The Green Dragon

Posted in Under the Sea on January 14th, 2010 by MadDog
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A few days ago, Wouter, Anita and I dived The Green Dragon,  a B-25 Mitchell bomber shot down near Wongat Island  during WWII. We dived on The Henry Leith  later that day. While walking on the beach during our de-gassing surface time I picked up a couple of handfuls of the little treasures that Mama Nature placed there for my amusement:
Among the lovely baubles I find several opercula (the “door” of a marine snail’s shell), a bunch of cowrie shells, including a rare Golden Cowrie (I think), lots of colourful bivalve shells, and some beautiful blue coral.  The opercula are commonly called “cat’s eyes”. I imagine that you can easily pick those out. The bit of bright blue glass at the top is a weathered fragment of a fancy wine glass. Somebody had a party on Wongat Island  a long time ago.

Down on The Green Dragon,  I got a nice shot of the starboard engine. The port engine was lost when the huge machine was ditched after being hit by Japanese gunners:

As you can see, the wreck is rapidly being made part of the reef.

Since I began diving The Green Dragon  a couple of decades ago, I’ve seen it deteriorate severely. The wonderfully tough and corrosion-resistant aluminium framework and skin are finally giving up the ghost. Here you can see all that remains of the four 50 calibre Browning M2 nose guns:

It’s sad to see the once powerful war machine going back to nature. Or is it?

Here is Anita waving hello to you from the cockpit:Nearly everyone wants to have a photo of this strange activity.

Wouter would rather pretend to fly the plane than wave:To each his own.

Under the Starboard wing we found one of the resident Ribbon Eels (Rhinomuraena quaesita):

You can enter RIBBON in the search box to find other images of this fascinating and gorgeous critter.

At the tail of the plane, just above the little 30 calibre “stinger” machinegun, I found a new growth of very unusual coral:I don’t have a clue what species it is, but it certainly sports an incredible colouration. I believe it must be a Fire Coral of some sort. It has the right shape, but it is tiny compared to the other species of that family of corals.

I’m having difficulty finding time to write much in my posts. I love doing the photography, but I also enjoy the writing. Since work pressure forces something to be left behind for a while, you’ll be spared my incessant jibber-jabber for a few more days.

Like The Terminator, I’ll be back!

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More Wongat Island Miscellanea

Posted in Under the Sea on February 27th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’m almost finished reminiscing about Wednesday afternoon’s dive. The torture will soon be over.

Amidst the abundant life there is a small anemone that has been near the bow of the Henry Leith   for many years. It is the true home of Nemo and his extended family. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Nemo lives in Madang and always has. All you kiddies out there, watch Nemo now. In case you are wondering, Nemo is the big one that keeps coming into the middle of the shot:Back over at the Green Dragon B-25 bomber I took this shot of the yoke (the “steering wheel”) with the usual bunch of tiny fish swimming around:

Yoke of the Green Dragon B-25 bomber in Madang, Papua New Guinea
Up on the tip of the port wing, where the giant barrel sponge is, I captured this Pixy Hawkfish [red variation] (Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus):
Pixy Hawkfish (red variation) (Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus)
Much, much too much work at work is driving me crazy. It’s cutting deeply into my playtime. Eunie will be travelling to the USA and Canada during April, May, and half of June. I will be a temporary bachelor – not one my favourite things.

Never mind. I’m planning a trip to the highlands to climb Mt. Wilhelm.  I’ll be writing an article f or Our Way  magazine about an insane Englishman who is planning to jump off of the top (with a parachute, one would assume). I’ll also be going on a research trip to Rabaul to get as close to the volcano as I possibly can. I promise you some interesting shots. I’ll also be doing some diving there and grab more images.

At 65 life is beginning to get interesting.

About time!

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More Images from the Black Jack Dive

Posted in Under the Sea on February 5th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’m working on an article for Our Way magazine about our dive on Black Jack, the B-17 bomber. I wanted to test my gallery plugin for WordPress to see if it’s working now.

These are the images that will appear in the article. (Don’t write to the publisher to say, “I saw them on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi first”)

Here are the shots:


You should be able to click on any thumbnail and bring up a slide show.

When the slide show comes up, your screen will go dark and you will see the first image. You’ll see ‘next’ and or ‘prev’ to navigate through the images. Click [esc] or the ‘X’ box to exit.

I hope it works.

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Black Jack – A Famous B-17 Bomber

Posted in Under the Sea on December 20th, 2008 by MadDog
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One of the many highlights of my recent eight days at sea on Miss Rankin was diving Black Jack.

I’m posting from home this morning, so I have to deal with TELEKOM’s ridiculous 28.8KBs speed – the best I can get at my house. Therefore, I must be brief.

You can find a complete history of this famous B-17 bomber here.

Because the dive is beyond the PADI recreational limit, it’s a bit exciting, regardless of what you might see. The bottom is about 46 metres (150 ft). I’ve been considerably deeper than that, but I don’t like to make it a habit.

The biggest problem is light. The water is not crystalline. Combined with the depth, it makes for difficult photography.

This is the most colourful of the shots that I got. You can see the huge vertical stabilizer and the aft machinegun placement:

The vertical stabilizer of Blackjack

Here’s a shot of the dorsal twin .50 machineguns:

The dorsal .50 machinegun mount on Blackjack

Here is Tony Collins between the starboard engines:

The starboard engines of Blackjack

We were able to spend about ten minutes on the bomber before we had to come up. We had about a fifteen minute decompression stop at ten metres. We had put two drop tanks on the reef in case we needed them, but none of us ran low on air, so we didn’t use them.

I reckon that most of the dives that I did last week will be ‘once in a lifetime’ for me, so I appreciate the hospitality of the Collins brothers on Miss Rankin. I probably never would have gotten the chance to do such a world-famous dive otherwise.

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