Sunday, November 9, 2008

We explore the Rock with Paul and Karl

Paul and Karl arrived on Friday after a choppy, rainy banca ride across the North Channel between Bataan and Corregidor. Because of the rain, we decided to explore Malinta Tunnel. This intricate tunnel was built between the years of 1922 and 1932. The main shaft is 836 feet long and 24 feet across, with two trolley lines running through it. Off to the north and south are 24 180-foot laterals, and off one of the north laterals are 12 more which used to be the hospital. Beyond the south laterals are additional tunnels that the navy used. Some of the laterals are collapsed, but there are still enough places to explore to make for a fun afternoon.

On Saturday we trekked though the jungle to a hidden searchlight emplacement overlooking the South China Sea, We also went into several tunnels, some short, some extensive. In one there were a number of adult geckos, which are about a foot long. Several jumped to the floor and scampered. One of them landed in such a way as to break off his tail. Amazingly, the tail thrashed on the ground for several minutes as if it were a very lively gigantic worm. Paul says that this is a defense mechanism so that their predators will go for the tail and leave the rest of the gecko alone. The tail will grow back. It was still twitching when Marcia took the picture with Steve holding it.

Today we are headed to Manila to finish up some business, and also to attend a Veteran’s Day ceremony at the American Cemetery in Manila, which is supposed to be the largest American cemetery in the world outside of the United States.

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