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  Field Notes From
The Search for PT 109

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From Photographer

Ira Block

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photograph by Ira Block

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The Search for PT 109

Field Notes From Photographer
Ira Block
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It was incredible to see the flow of heartfelt expression when Eroni Kumana and Biuku Gasa, the two Solomon Islanders who served as scouts in 1943, met Max Kennedy, JFK's nephew. These two men are now in their early 80s, and it was very moving for them to suddenly meet the nephew of the man they rescued almost 60 years ago. Everyone hugged each other and had tears in their eyes. It was one of the strongest emotional moments I've witnessed in a long time.

We were going to take our boat across a lagoon to look at some old WW II tanks, but the water was low so we couldn't use the boat. The only choice we had was to walk the 100 yards (90 meters) to the other side. It looked pretty shallow, so we started wading. But as we walked, the water got deeper and deeper. Some of the taller guys had water up to their waists. But it was up to my chest, so I had to carry my cameras on my head. I was worried that I'd lose my balance and fall. That was stressful enough. I didn't even want to think about what kind of reptiles might be in the water.

We were coming back from one of the outer islands in our boat, but our local guide needed to stop for a couple of hours to fix something. If we waited we would end up having to overnight on the boat, and we really needed to get back. So he came up with the perfect solution. He revved up the boat's engine and caught up with the huge inter-island ferry. We basically flagged it down like you hail a New York taxi. It pulled to shore about five minutes later so we could get on.

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