Hunt for the Lost Clipper

Welcome to the Lost Clipper blog post

Over the past fourteen years, I have sought to answer the nearly forgotten question of "What happened to the Hawaii Clipper?" Together with you, the readers of this blog, I intend to complete work on a book and documentary on the who, what, where, when and specifically why the Pan Am flying boat and its passengers & crew vanished. Thanks for your visit and I hope you will join and return to this blog often.

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Notes from the Field:

Today, Jeff and I are conducting a site survey at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on the beaches of Waikiki. This location was the overnight accommodation for Pan Am Clipper passengers transiting from the US to points in Asia.

The hotel still retains its characteristic coral pink hue but is now a modern facility with all the fine elegance one would come to expect from luxurious tradition.

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I was planning to post a shot of the Pan Am Clipper facility ruins in Guam but will need to do that in a day or so. Tomorrow we will video both here and the Clipper landing location in Pearl City Hawaii.

August 19th

With any glorious sunrise, optimism abounds when plowing a mirror-like tropical lagoon for what I had hoped would be THE day that I have been hoping for. After fourteen plus years, I had found the exact location Amelia Earhart researcher Joe Gervias and his contemporary researcher, Charlie Hill, had both adamantly claimed that the remains of the passengers and crew of the ill-fated Hawaii Clipper lay. That was the hard part. The easy part would be to excavate the site and respectfully identify the remains. August 19th proved those two efforts would be swapped 180 degrees. The location was found fairly early on this third expedition, however the the site remains a mystery. After much reflection, I have come to two conclusions:

1. The human remains are still on this site but in a location not within the area that we searched. I would have liked to demolish the home and excavate the entire site but was limited in the effort due to my budget and time allowance.

or

2. The remains were never there and the story is false. I learned today that one of the people that lead Joe Gervais to the site was known as “98%”… meaning ninety-eight percent of what he told was a lie. So, did he actually help bury the 15 Americans? Did he just speak of a story he had heard of 15 Americans and point to an arbitrary location and say “they are there?” At this point, I don’t know anything for sure, except we destroyed the floors of a person’s home and now will spend a few days to repair it.

So now I leave Truk Lagoon with fellow filmmaker Jeff Riegel much the same way we came: perplexed. Are the bodies of those 15 men here? I can only say, perhaps. The only way to definitively know is to return with a much larger budget to excavate the entire site. We have fostered excellent good-will with the local villagers and made strong bonds that ended with an invitation to return if more information is discovered.

Until then, we will now turn to taking all the interviews and new footage to create a documentary that will tell the story of a group of people that I had never met but certainly changed my life.

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First day just wrapped…

And we found remnants of an old Japanese medical facility under the newer slab. The good news is that I am certain we are in the correct location because of numerous factors. The bad news, the old Japanese slab has been demolished (probably in the early 1980″s) to use as filler material for a larger slab.

Among the old foundation debris are signs of medical flooring, medicine bottles and other similar things but no human remains. We will return once again tomorrow morning with picks and more shovels (no longer need jackhammer) to go even deeper into the soil. Wish us luck!!

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Today is the day…

Today is the day.. Either we find the resting place of 15 missing Americans or I learn that I’ve wasted 15 years of my life in search of a ghost. Crossing fingers here in Micronesia!

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Slab Found!

Arrived in Truk Lagoon on Tuesday and quickly departed the following morning to investigate a lead as to where the slab in question was located.

By mid day, we believe we have finally found the elusive slab! That’s right! You heard it right. WE FOUND THE SLAB!

Now, after several days of negotiating with the local villagers, we have received permission to break open the slab and look for human remains. Every adventure is not without its obstacles, however. In 1964, the slab was freely open to the jungle air. Now, 50 years later, we found a house built upon the slab.

Our next step will involve transporting a jack hammer, a generator, fuel, shovels and picks by boat to the site to begin demolishing the floor/slab, with a promise to the homeowner to repair the damage. Additionally, we will also have to hire manpower for the massive dig.

Stay tuned for an update in a couple days where we will finally answer if the legend is true that the passengers and crew of The Lost Clipper were buried here on this remote island in 1938.

 

Sunset in Truk

Sunset in Truk

We’ve Arrived, Please Follow Us in Our Search!

 

Hello All!

We’ve now arrived in Truk Lagoon, Micronesia to continue the quest for The Lost Clipper.  As mentioned in our previous posts, we hope to be able to bring you updates from the islands to include brief commentary and photos (depending on available bandwidth, of course).

Please “Like” our facebook page, “See Us” on our newly created YouTube page,  and “Follow Us” on twitter to receive our updates and findings in a timely fashion!  If you can, please spread the word by re-posting to your own facebook timeline and twitter feed.  It’s greatly appreciated!

Stay tuned…

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“Follow Us”

 

“See Us”

 

On My Way…

August 12, 2014

We haven’t been formally introduced?  I’m Jeff Riegel, a friend and fellow video enthusiast to Guy, helping with everything from shooting to editing to social media in this fantastic endevour.  I’ve been acquainted with Guy and The Lost Clipper project since we first met in early 2002.  Through the years, I’ve been intrigued with the story and the need for it to be told.  I jumped at the chance earlier this year when Guy asked me to co-produce.  This will be my second adventure with him, the first being a weekend trip to New Hampshire in 2012 to document his learning the ground penetrating radar device used on the island to locate the missing 15 Americans.

Jeff preparing his cameras and equipment bag

Jeff preparing his cameras and equipment bag

I’ll be leaving in a few short hours to meet up with Guy in Truk.  Hopefully these hard summer downpours won’t delay my flight.  If I miss my San Francisoc connection to Hawaii, I miss my connection to Truk.  Note:  Truk ONLY has three flights per week from Hawaii, so I’d have to wait another few days to meet up with Guy.

Heavy all-day summer downpours may delay my flight?

Heavy all-day summer downpours may delay my flight?

My (long) flight takes me from Washington DC to San Francisco then on to Honolulu, Hawaii where I’ll do my best to find a nice comfortable bench for some shut-eye.  Suffice it to say, with the time difference, today will actually run 30 hours long for me. I’m also hoping that the effects of the recent earthquake and two named hurricanes don’t inhibit my travels through the Honolulu International Airport (HNL).

 

Double-checking island gear...

Double-checking island gear…

Tomorrow, I’ll awake at sunrise and board an early morning 11 hour island-hopping flight over the international dateline to Truk where Guy will meet me.  I hope my acclimation to the time differential will be a swift one!  Stand by for further updates…

 

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