Thursday, January 31, 2013


Success today! Here's the scoop:

Attaway ran Dafari, Powell and myself to a new landing at Konambi Beach and we set off from there, leaving Attaway behind with the skiff and a bottle of cheap vodka. Dafari came along to help us cut brush although he's been a bit of a whiner lately, having been bitten by a Yellow-Backed Nitfly. It's not the bite that hurts so much but the egg it leaves behind under your skin that eventually hatches into a adolescent grub before burrowing back out. I've had worse. We told him to quit the crybaby business and get on with life. It shouldn't be long anyway, the thing looks like a golf ball on the back of his neck. I'm looking forward to catching it when it emerges; Sea Bass go crazy for these grubs and I plan on doing some serious fishing when we're done here.

Anyway, the jungle here was thinner and progress was much easier. No rain, too. In a couple of hours we'd come across a forest glade that was a perfect spot to sit and wait for our Molokanesian Spotted Dragon friend to show up. We found a rock at the edge of the jungle and sat back for a lunch of tuna sandwiches that Cookie threw together for us. Dafari and I had just polished ours off (Powell was too busy spacing out with his sketchbook) when Dafari starts screaming like a stuck pig and runs across the glade like a maniac. Powell and I ran after him wondering what the hell was going on and caught up to him after he'd tripped over a stump and hit his head on a rock, knocking him out and (thankfully) shutting him up. Well, I guess our little grub was having his birthday on the back of Dafari's neck. No wonder he was screaming, it looked like it really smarted. Good thing Dafari was out like a light. I grabbed the grub and put it in my vest pocket for later.

That's when we heard the ruckus back at our picnic spot and, turning around to look there he was: a Big Ol' Molokanesian Spotted Dragon Lizard chomping on Powell's backpack! Leaving Dafari behind, we slowly crept towards the giant reptile who, apparently was completely oblivious to nothing but what he wanted in that backpack: Powell's sandwich. Who knew the secret to luring this phantom from the shadows was so simple? I mean, maybe it was the mayonnaise (Cookie makes his own...I don't want to know how) but other than that, it was straight-on tuna on white. Oh well. We got a good look at him, that's for sure. Powell snapped a bunch of photos before he finally took to the trees.

Now, we're back on board having schlepped Dafari back to the beach and a well-lit Attaway. Powell is back in his cabin working on a new drawing and I'm getting set to hook this grub and catch me a Sea Bass for dinner!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Frustrated First Outing from Paluang Cove

Well, we set off into the thick jungle and up the steep hills after a successful landing at Paluang. Skipper Dick stayed with the boat as Powell and I hacked our way (gently, mind you) into the brush. Vines hung from the dripping trees and the ground was covered with a soft moss making progress slow. 

We moved as quietly as possible and kept our eyes peeled for any movement from something larger than the thousands of bugs, frogs, birds and other small wild creatures that filled this steaming, verdant, claustrophobic paradise. We were on the hunt for the Molokanesian Spotted Dragon Lizard and although they're said to frequent clearings, you never know....

The first morning and afternoon were spent in constant awareness of our surroundings while trying to keep a steady pace. Powell made the occasional sketches of interesting species and all seemed to be going fairly well. The heat was intense and we'd stripped down to our "essentials" but Powell is a good fellow and I didn't suspect any "funny business" other than his occasional wise-crack about the color of my skivvies (a gift from my previous girlfriend).

All seemed to be going fairly well until the rain set in. At about 4 pm it came down as if the sky had cracked open an enormous bathtub full of hot water. We were quickly swept down the hill we were climbing and into a gully that was immediately filled with everything else that had washed down the hill. Up to our necks in water crawling with a thousand snakes, Powell was screaming like a little girl and thrashing like hell for a large tree trunk. I followed and we climbed that thing like a couple of spider monkeys, ending up on a thick branch about 15 feet above the swirling torrent. 

It was then that I heard branches cracking above me through the roar of the rain and, trying to peer up as the raindrops slammed against my eyeballs I caught a glimpse of something huge leaping from our tree to the next. I couldn't see but a dark shape but I hold hope that this was our prey. Unfortunately we were stuck. The rain continued it's incessant downpour for the next 12 hours and we clung to our branch as best we could, the gully below us now a whitewater hell with the occasional python head snapping out of it. It was a long night to say the least.

When the rain finally stopped and the water below us drained towards the sea, we wearily climbed down from our perch and fought our way back to the cove. Empty handed but hopeful we headed back to the ship. 

I'm now readying our gear for a more concerted effort, waterproofing everything! 



Friday, January 25, 2013

Our First Glimpse of The Molokanaki Islands

Ahoy fellow adventurers! Welcome to the my little home on the internet. Please bear with me as this "blogging" thing is rather new to me. I imagine I should think of it as I do my personal journal...only shared with thousands of people the world over. I guess that means that I'll have to keep it pretty clean. No posts from my favorite bars in the East Indies or any of that sort of stuff (by the way, if you're ever in Balakawan, check out "Snuffy's", he makes a Mai Tai that'll scrape the barnacles off your keel!). 

What I intend to do with this journal is to bring you along with the crew and I as we traverse the globe on my faithful ship the Frankie Anne III in search of the disappearing mysteries left on this old planet. You know, nowadays we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the depths of our own oceans. There's plenty to discover there, let me tell you. I've seen creatures peeking out of the gloom 300 fathoms down that'd make you sh... oh right, clean...that'd make you soil your whitey tighties. What is rapidly disappearing are the mysteries up here on the surface! Jungles are shrinking and man is building condos wherever he can grab a foothold. This is why our aim this year is to seek out some of the last great phantoms that (legend has it) roam the wild. 

This brings us to our first adventure! We've traveled across the North Pacific, through the South China Sea and up the Straight of Malacca to the mysterious Molokanaki Islands where explorers (no one actually inhabits these islands) have caught glimpses of the Molokanesian Spotted Dragon Lizard. There are currently no records of it's existence and only fleeting glimpses have been seen. It's said to be 8 feet long and can travel of speeds up to 15 MPH. It reportedly will claw it's way up a tree and leap through the canopy if spotted, quickly disappearing into thin air.

So, this evening we sailed into sight of these islands, constantly shrouded with thin layer of fog and are readying our gear for our first foray into the jungle. I snapped this photo from the deck just minutes ago. As soon as I upload this to our satellite feed and place it into your good hands, I'm going back topside to drop a line in and have a scotch! I hear these waters are crawling with African Pompano...let's hope they're biting! 

Farewell my friends!