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MME blog

MME blog

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Published by Clifford Terry

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Published by: Clifford Terry on Jan 08, 2013
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As a result of the climate change we are experiencing, the sea levels are rising putting some coastal areas and anumber of island communities under threat. The last time there was a significant rise in sea levels was at the endof the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago. During the ice age, the lower levels of the South China and Java Seasexposed large areas of the Sunda Self incorporating the islands of Borneo, Sumatra and Java into the SoutheastAsian peninsula.Since this is a time before recorded history, there is much speculation as to how advance mankind was at thisstage of development. The possibility of some lost civilization having developed in this region is what motivatedAustralian couple, Hans and Roze Berekoven to sell their successful merino wool business to purchase a 19 meterketch, Southern Sun, to explore the region for evidence of this ice-aged civilizationhttp://www.southernsun.info/index.htm. However, this is not the source of their recent fame, operating out of Sarawak, Malaysia surveying theLaconia Shoals, they have spent much of their time searching for sunken World War II wreaks when they cameupon the prize discovery of the region. Operating on information found in James Brooke's journal, they were ableto uncover the location of a 170 year old vessel, the Viscount Melbourne. It was the story of the ViscountMelbourne that first peaked my interest and led to my contact with Eric Madeja at Treasure Images,
http://www.treasure-images.com/index.html. We soon realized that the real story was actually the Berekoven's and theirquest. As luck would have it, they were very interested in telling their story. In the coming weeks we will befilming them to put together a sizzle reel and trailer to generate interest in four-part series about the quest for lostcivilisations and where the Berekoven's fit in with the other theories that abound on this subject. For me I findmyself returning to the search for the Ancient Nagas that I started over 15 years ago. More to come.
Kota Kinabalu, Day 1I have arrived in Kota Kinabalu and met up with Eric of Treasure Images. After a brief excursion ofthe local market and some breakfast, we spent most of the day organising the equipment andpacking it up for the shoot in Miri and out on the water. On the way back to Eric's we stop at a friendof his, Gary, who is a bit of a fix-it guy, for a ratcheted arm for one of the Go-Pro's. The afternoonwas spent charging batteries and checking out the equipment. We also had sometime to strategizeand plan some of the shots we will need to get for this sizzle reel and trailer. I don't problems withthe shots will we are in the marina but once we are out on the boat and sailing to the location isanother story. Shooting on the boat can at times be problematic and getting clean audio is difficultbut we have both been through this before and I am sure we will work it out. I am looking forward tofinally meeting the Berekoven's and the start of this new adventure.Miri-Day 1After a 2 hour flight delay, we were picked up a Miri Airport by Hans Berekoven, one of the subjectsof our shoot. On our way out to the marina, Hans drove us by the house they were lobbying to getfor the maritime museum that would house all the artefacts they were bring up from the ViscountMelbourne wreck. Once we arrive at the Southern Sun, the Berekoven's 19 meter Ketch we will bespending the next week on, we are introduced to the rest of the crew, Roze, Hans' wife, self-madearchaeologist and resident expert on the Viscount Melbourne; Tristan, their son on holiday here tohelp out; and Phil, a fellow diver and marina resident. After a quick meeting, it was decided wewould be leaving around 2 or 3 in the afternoon for the overnight trip out to the reef. The morningwould be used to make arrangements for food and taking care of a few last minute items. We werealso expecting a Skype call early morning with Frank Joseph Hoff. FJH is an author and researcherof ancient mysteries as well as editor-in-chief of Ancient American magazine. He has workedpromoting the late Professor Arysio Santos book, Atlantis, the Lost Continent Finally Found, thatclaims that the legendary continent was based on the Sunda Self in Southeast Asia. The book wasa major hit in Indonesia when it was translated into
Bahasa Indonesia 
and was one of thereasons that they hosted an
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON NATURE, PHILOSOPHY ANDCULTURE OF ANCIENT SUNDA CIVILISATION. The guest speakers at the conference includedthe Berekoven's, Frank Joseph Hoff and Dr. Stephen Oppenheimer, who wrote the book, Eden inthe East, the Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia.Miri-Day 2Just after breakfast, we had our Skype call from Frank Joseph Hoff, which we filmed although wewere able to get a picture from Frank's end. Still we have the audio and the reactions from the
wheel house of the Southern Sun. To add to the importance of this call, Frank was able to add Dr.Robin Harger to our conference call, who would agree to help Hans secure some needed contactsin the Indonesian government. Dr. Harger is a noted marine biologist and author, who spent 14years with UNESCO in its Jakarta office before he retired as a director of the InternationalOceanographic Commission. He gave Hans a contact within the Indonesian Institute of Sciences,who will help him navigate through the usual bureaucracy. After finishing what had to get donebefore departing, we sailed out of the Miri marina just after 3 in the afternoon. As luck would have it,we ran right into a squall and pandemonium ensued with sail flapping, rain pounding down on thecrew as they struggled to everything back under control with Eric and I filming all the action as ithappened. This was an opportunity that was too good to pass up but I must confess, being a sailorthat I did feel a bit guilty not helping out. We got through the storm but it was far from smooth sailingand it got later in the day it look like there was another one developing on the horizon. CaptainHans decided we would be better off returning to the marina and leaving tomorrow when things hadsettle down. The blackened skies continued to follow us back to Miri and when we were in sight ofthe shore night had fallen with no moon or stars to light the way into the channel. With the stormcoming up fast behind us it was much to dangerous to try and make it into the marina channel so weheaded up into the wind to ride out the storm in open water and wait until morning to enter themarina. Needless to say, we had a bit of a rough night.Miri-Day 3When morning arrived, things had settled down and we made our way back into the marina. A fewof the neighbours help us tie up back in the berth and we all settle down for some breakfast and torearrange our plans. Since we needed to wait again until the afternoon before heading out again(this is so we arrive at the reef in the early morning), we decided it was a good opportunity to filmRoze's interview in the artefacts room in the flat. From Roze we learned how they came to find thewreak of the Viscount Melbourne, a detail account from the assistant ship's navigator of whathappen after the ship struck the reef and the work she is doing to preserve the artefacts that theyhave brought up from the ship. After the interview, Eric and I continued to film all the artefacts thatwere on display and met up with the rest of the crew back on the Southern Sun. Fortunately, oursecond departure out to the Luconia Shoals was without problems and we had a smooth sailthrough the night.South China Sea, Luconia Shoals-Day 4We arrive at the reef to over 2 dozen little fishing boat and their 'mother ship' off in the distance.These are apparently Chinese fishermen flying under a Malaysian flag to fish these reefs. They arenot sure what we are about so they just go about their business like we were not even there. We getan anchor out and later will set up on a mooring that Hans arranged the last time they were outhere. Phil, Roze and Tristan prepare for the first dive. Eric is ready before them and goes in with hiscamera. Most of the time is spent setting up the delivery system with two baskets on lines along witha floater to bring it up to the surface. The floaters have a habit of leaking so the lines are there as aprecaution. At a depth of 40 meters the divers are limited to just 9 minutes so they have to work fast.As per usual, the floater fails on both baskets and they are hauled up with the line. Conditions aregood so there will be two more dives during the day. Later after dark, Eric takes Tristan down for anight dive, with the lights used for filming the wreak takes on a little more clarity than during the dayand they are able to get a much clearer outline of the ship.South China Sea, Luconia Shoals-Day 5Conditions hold for another two dives before some swells come up from the southwest makingfurther dives more treacherous. There was a unusual shape the showed up on the depth sounderon the way in, so we decide to go check it out. We make several attempt to get a drop line on it butthe current takes our line out of position and it is too deep to dive on safely. Returning to the reef wepick up our mooring line but with the swells coming in, Hans doesn't feel it is secure and we aresurrounded on three sides by reef. So it is decided with conditions deteriorating we will head backto Miri.Miri-Day 6 & 7After arriving back at the marina, we get an interview with their benefactor on the wreak project,local businessman and owner of the marina, Troy Yaw. Later in the morning we head back outagain to get a selection of underwater pick-up shots. The rest of the day and the next is spentconducting interviews with everyone and getting one last group discussion. Saturday, Eric and I are

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