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Plane Missing In Png


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#31 petedowling

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 03:45 PM

In response to Eve, I too have been on one of Charlies treks and whilst his treks have a good military historical perspective to them, the size of the group can be a problem. If as you say, the basis of a large number of trekkers is to create a platoon size, remember that there are almost double that number as well in porters and carriers . suddenly you are no longer looking at platoon size, you are more likely looking at company size and in the case of 25+ trekkers closer to 100 people all up . way too big. size on a trek creates problems. it becomes more like a route march with the trekkers spread out like 'browns cows'. sensible limits not economic imperatives should dictate trek size.
cheers
Pete

#32 Boss Meri

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 04:42 PM

From a trek operators point of view, huge groups mean whole campsites can be taken up by only one company which is not fair on other smaller groups trying to share a campsite area.

For example we had one group during the Anzac period try and set up camp at Naoro.  A representative from Kokoda Spirit stated the whole area was for them alone and there was no room for anyone else.  Even putting up a sign claiming it was theirs.  Our guide, porters and trekkers tried to argue but were forced to move on as Kokoda Spirit's guide stated they had an agreement with the landowners to claim the whole area.

After a long day of walking, trekkers ended up at another campsite Agulogo but it put them at risk when this should not have been the case.  With two deaths already on the track this year, they should have been allowed to be accommodated and fair play should have existed.

Our boys will move over to share with 'any' company irrespective of who you are walking with but to be greedy and to command authority and claim the whole area is both greedy and not the Australian way.

So fair go, smaller groups means more safety for all trekkers who walk not just the ones who choose to walk in a group of 100+ and to use a PNG expression, 'grease' up the landowners to send any other company on their way irrespective of the risk factor to do so.

With regards to Charlie, early on when we first commenced this trekking business, one night his group arrived late into a campsite and claimed it should have been for themselves as they had it booked.  Our trekkers had already been in bed asleep when their porters tried to move them.  As a result they stood their ground and refused to move on.

Since that time, I must say Charlie has not done this again for which I thank him...but...with so many people in one area at one time, some campsites would be cramped if say another trekking company were camping side by side!

If you were to talk to our trekkers on that trek and you mentioned Kokoda Spirit, I am sure even now in August they would still be p*ssed off.  One of them had a go at their boss according to an email received at the airport on the way out of PNG and did not get much of a response.  

On top of comments above, when trekkers pass each other on the track these huge groups walking in the opposite direction can take forever to get past.  One or two companies think they also own the track and can be quite rude and take right of way.  Smaller groups are more manageable and speaking for ourselves we will never have 100 + people in any one group.  It means less profit sure, but our trekkers mean more to us then a few extra dollars in our pockets.

Its also another reason companies taking larger groups want Dash 8's to go into Kokoda.  This aircraft carries 36 people so easier to move huge numbers in and out.  I have spoken to a captain who flies Dash 8's and he says safety wise it is no different to a twin otter.  If in bad weather they like the otters have a safe altitude level they are supposed to fly above irrespective of aircraft type.

So lets not kid ourselves, larger aircraft means larger groups otherwise how can we as operators justify the cost of hiring them in the first place.  I am not sure what they would charge into Kokoda but to hire a Dash 8 to Popondetta means around K12,000 in charter costs.

#33 peterh13

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 05:23 PM

From Wiki.

Australian Organization

In the Australian Army, a platoon is commanded by a Lieutenant, assisted by a Platoon Sergeant (who holds the rank of Sergeant). A doctrinal platoon from an infantry company consists of three sections of nine men plus a platoon signalman, giving the platoon a strength of 30 men. Each section is commanded by a Corporal, a Lance Corporal is section second-in-command, the remaining seven men being privates. Each section is divided into an Assault Team (3 men), Gun Team (3 men) and Command Team (3 men). These teams are employed in fire and maneuver tactics.

I think money may have a bit to do with the size Charlies groups.
Prepare for the worst and dare the good Lord to dissapoint you.

Non semper erit aestas.

#34 Eve

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 03:11 PM

I do agree that trek group size can be (and is in some cases) an issue. Like I said, I wasn't keen on the idea of trekking with a large group. Mine was certainly about double the size I would have preferred. If it had been any bigger, I would not have been pleased. However, I have to admit I changed my mind early in the piece about our particular group. We only saw the majority of the boys at campsites, as they went ahead of us early in the day, before we trekked out. At breakfast and dinner, there were a lot of us trekkers, but it didn't feel like too many, which had been my concern. We also split into groups on the track, depending on fitness/speed etc. I think our group was very lucky in a number of ways and perhaps going the opposite direction (Kokoda to Owers) made a difference. There were at least 4 or 5 groups coming the other way, some big, some small.

I'm glad trek etiquette was brought up. Before we left our hotel, it was made clear that we were to 'give way' if necessary, as well as other basic respect.....this kind of manners/common sense is one of my soap box issues, so I liked that it was spelled out before we left. I think our group would have really liked to share a site with another group if it came to that. Again, I'm glad I got lucky with such a good bunch of people.

I don't think I'd be happy with the bigger planes flying into Kododa. I'd be disappointed for it to become 'commercial' enough for that to be necessary and I'll be saying something along those lines in my trek feedback form.

That all said, I can't really comment on how the other groups operate, because I've only experienced one. I'll be going back again this time next year, and probably with the same company. But what I'd like to do is do the same direction I did this time, then go back in the other direction, probably with KTL. If I'm going to train people to trek, I'd like to have experienced trekking with at least 2 or 3 different companies...finances (and knees!!) permitting!

(And Peter, I think it was you who left me a birthday note, so thank you!)

Eve

#35 peterh13

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 05:55 PM

yes it was,,and thats quite ok.
Prepare for the worst and dare the good Lord to dissapoint you.

Non semper erit aestas.

#36 crowie

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 09:53 AM

It is worth considering for safetys sake that no one has complete right to book out campsites, a good example of this is the huts on the overland track in tasmania....even if the huts are full no one has the right to refuse entry to any persons for any reason. This is made very clear. maybe a good precedent for Kokoda. In response to Adventure Kokoda with Platoon size groups this is rather unrealistic as most work in the Army is done at section level which is ten men. I have experienced Adventure Kokoda groups on the track and there is no comparison to an infantry platoon, i dont know of any infantry platoon that would be spread over a distance of 2 klms on a track. Large groups do have an effect on the local produce that can be purchased as a supplement at the villages, if you happen to be behind such a group good luck trying to purchase any produce.

#37 peterh13

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 01:40 PM

some of the companys own the accommodation at some of the camp sites
Prepare for the worst and dare the good Lord to dissapoint you.

Non semper erit aestas.




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