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Paul John Patten

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Seven Site
« on: November 04, 2011, 12:30:52 PM »

This question may have been asked before. After viewing the aerial tour of Nikiumaroro I am puzzled why anyone hoping to be rescued would move their base camp away from the landing location and a landmark as large as the Norwich City to a location such as the seven site. Even if it were in search of water one would think that they would return to the original landing site with its large landmark and potential useful items from the Norwich City.
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richie conroy

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2011, 01:39:53 PM »

http://tighar.org/sitemap.html

any questions u will find answers ere  :)
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2011, 06:28:44 PM »

This question may have been asked before. After viewing the aerial tour of Nikiumaroro I am puzzled why anyone hoping to be rescued would move their base camp away from the landing location and a landmark as large as the Norwich City to a location such as the seven site. Even if it were in search of water one would think that they would return to the original landing site with its large landmark and potential useful items from the Norwich City.
-----------------------------------
I was in field artillery for ten years. In order to aim artillery it is necessary to have a forward observer located close enough to the enemy to see the enemy (because the guns are located miles away and can't see the enemy) and then call in the coordinates to the firing battery on the radio. To have a good view, it is advantageous for the forward observer to be on some high ground from where he can see great distances. However, if you are a forward observer you are trained never locate your position under the only tree on top of a hill since it would stand out from everything and attract unwanted attention since the eye is naturally drawn drawn to things that "stick out." Such a position might draw unwanted attention such as incoming artillery rounds.

Ric says that Earhart would not expect an air search since hers was the only plane in that area of the Pacific and if he is correct then  she would then have to expect a shipborne search.

So what does a castaway do if hoping to attract attention from a passing ship? Does she pick some random spot on the island that looks like every other spot on the island to pitch camp? Or does she pick a spot that is unique, something that will naturally attract the eyes of those on an approaching ship, something like, oh I don't know, maybe a BIG SHIP WRECK?

Why would she be deep in the bush at the other end of the island, as Ric claims, so that she couldn't get to the beach quick enough to wave to the planes. Wouldn't she be more apt to be camped on the beach near the ship wreck? Ric thinks she landed near that ship, what would compel them to walk to the other end of the island, did they hear loud music playing from that direction?

gl
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 09:17:19 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Gus Rubio

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2011, 06:55:30 PM »

I believe it's been postulated that, because the Seven Site is the narrowest part of the island, it allowed AE and FN easier access to either the beach or the lagoon shore for hunting or signalling.  Also, I think there may have been weather factors that made the SE part of the island preferable. 

Perhaps they walked around the island to see if there were any inhabitants, too, and just stopped there for the above reasons.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2011, 07:45:43 PM »

Why would she be deep in the bush at the other end of the island, as Ric claims, so that she couldn't get to the beach quick enough to wave to the planes. Wouldn't she be more apt to be camped on the beach near the ship wreck? Ric thinks she landed near that ship, what would compel them to walk to the other end of the island, did they hear loud music playing from that direction?

This is deja vu of the running-down-the-LOP discussion.  Show me where I have ever claimed that Earhart was at the Seven Site at the time of the Colorado search.

As shown in the post-loss radio signals catalog, the last credible message was heard at 20:18 local time on Gardner on July 7 - less than two days before the Colorado's airplanes appeared overhead. Radio messages could only be sent from the Electra so it's apparent that Earhart and Noonan stayed in the immediate vicinity of the airplane until at least that time.  The first campsite had to be somewhere close to the airplane.  We call this theoretical campsite Camp Zero. Even if the plane was washed over the reef edge and sank shortly after that, I would not expect them to abandon that area until after the Colorado's planes had come and gone (for the reasons you list).  Once that happened, they had to know that they were faced with the likelihood that they would need to survive on the island for a long time.  With immediate rescue no longer a realistic expectation, the logical thing to do would be to explore the island for an area that provided the best chance for survival. The area near the plane left much to be desired in that respect.  It's in the lee of the easterly trade winds so there are no cooling breezes. (I've been there. It's miserable.) There is also no access to the lagoon for fish and clams.

We know that the Seven Site was the castaway's LAST campsite.  We don't know how many other campsites there were but by the time she got to the Seven Site she was down to only a few durable items essential for survival and had figured out how to catch fish and birds and collect and purify rain water.  In other words, the castaway who died at the Seven Site was an experienced castaway.

So if Earhart and Noonan were in the vicinity of Camp Zero (about a quarter of a mile north of the shipwreck and inland under the buka trees for shade) when the planes came over, why weren't they seen?  Earlier this week we sent every TIGHAR member a DVD of the 2001 Aerial Tour of Nikumaroro which includes an excellent illustration of how hard it is to see people on the ground from the air at Nikumaroro.  Take a look at the DVD and tell me that Earhart and Noonan "would have" been seen even if they were out on the beach waving their arms off.

Camp Zero might have featured items salvaged from the plane that were left behind when they moved on.  We plan to conduct a search for Camp Zero when we return to the island.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 07:48:25 PM by Ric Gillespie »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2011, 08:02:07 PM »

I can think of at least 3 reasons castaways might leave a Camp Zero location and move to the Seven Site:
1st idea: From the air, the pond at the south end might have looked like fresh water.  After walking there, and discovering it undrinkable, would the castaways have felt strong enough to walk back?  Might they have initially waited near the aircraft/freighter for a few days, even after losing their radio, before thirst and dehydration forced them to leave the sensible place rescuers would look, then didn't have the strength to return?  How difficult/exhausting is the walk from the Norwich City to Site Seven?  How difficult is that walk after 4 days without water?
2nd idea: Would an experienced sea captain know the most likely direction to sight a passing ship, and choose a camp location that offered that view, once hope of aircraft rescue had faded?  What is known about shipping routes in the area at that time?  Was the Norwich City on a regular trade route that is known today?
3rd idea: is there another reason the castaways would expect be able to signal for help in that direction, and not from some other?
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2011, 08:18:35 PM »

How difficult/exhausting is the walk from the Norwich City to Site Seven?

I've done it.  I didn't like it.

  How difficult is that walk after 4 days without water?

As they say in New Yawk, "Fagetaboutit."

2nd idea: Would an experienced sea captain know the most likely direction to sight a passing ship, and choose a camp location that offered that view, once hope of aircraft rescue had faded?

Noonan had no experience as a sea captain in the Central Pacific.  As a matter of fact, there is no record of Fred ever commanding a ship.  He had a Master's License but he usually served as a mate.

What is known about shipping routes in the area at that time?  Was the Norwich City on a regular trade route that is known today?

I'm don't know about 1937 but we've never seen a ship in all the time we've spent on the island.  Norwich City was way off course when she struck Gardner.

3rd idea: is there another reason the castaways would expect be able to signal for help in that direction, and not from some other?

If you climb a tree near the Seven Site you can see not only the horizon to the north and east but you can also look across the lagoon and over the island and see the horizon to the south.
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Bruce Burton

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2011, 09:28:40 PM »

Earlier this week we sent every TIGHAR member a DVD of the 2001 Aerial Tour of Nikumaroro which includes an excellent illustration of how hard it is to see people on the ground from the air at Nikumaroro.  Take a look at the DVD and tell me that Earhart and Noonan "would have" been seen even if they were out on the beach waving their arms off.

Thanks for the DVD -- much appreciated. 

It's very sobering as what struck me immediately was the utter monotony of the shoreline as the helicopter circled the island. And I believe in the narration you said that the helicopter was flying even lower than the search planes from the Colorado.  To those untrained observers those islands and their shorelines must have all started to reflect the same blandness.  Without some outstanding characteristic, like a plane sitting out on the beach, seeing anything apart from the sameness of the shoreline now seems very remote to me after viewing the DVD. 

Thanks again for the gift.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 05:11:21 PM »

As far as you know your charts don't have a big shipwreck anotation so waiting there is no advantage over looking for food, water and a vantage point.

Norwich City went aground in 1929 and yet the Colorado pilots knew nothing about it.

Looking at the video you've got to be looking in the right place to see people on the island.

Apparently looking at the video is cheating.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2011, 11:03:30 PM »

I believe it's been postulated that, because the Seven Site is the narrowest part of the island, it allowed AE and FN easier access to either the beach or the lagoon shore for hunting or signalling.  Also, I think there may have been weather factors that made the SE part of the island preferable. 

Perhaps they walked around the island to see if there were any inhabitants, too, and just stopped there for the above reasons.
[/quote-----------------------

In fact, the seven site is not the narrowest part of the island.

gl





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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2011, 06:41:12 AM »

In fact, the seven site is not the narrowest part of the island.

I never said it was.  The area southeast of the Seven Site is narrower but inhospitable - bare coral rubble and patches of dense bush.  The Seven Site is the narrowest part of the island that was habitable.  Historical photos show that in 1937 it was open kanawa and buka forest.  It's covered with dense scaevola now because the area was logged off during the colonial period. In working the Seven Site we have to constantly remind ourselves that the vegetation and micro-environment were dramatically different when the castaway was there.
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Daniel Paul Cotts

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2011, 11:50:26 AM »

I'm hearing lots of discussion about size but not too much about contrast. Had the person standing in the bush been wearing a camo t-shirt instead of a white shirt his chances of being seen would have been markedly decreased. Hence the reason why hunters and bicyclists wear bright colors. At issue seems to be how much the searched for object stands out from its surroundings.
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Paul John Patten

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2011, 04:25:50 PM »

My original question was pretty basic and straight forward. Why leave the crash (landing) site and a huge landmark? This discussion is getting a bit anal. For my training and experience of flying the Arctic, the islands and most places inbetween, I would have stayed by the big ship.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2011, 06:40:54 PM »

My original question was pretty basic and straight forward. Why leave the crash (landing) site and a huge landmark? This discussion is getting a bit anal. For my training and experience of flying the Arctic, the islands and most places inbetween, I would have stayed by the big ship.

You leave the landing site and the big landmark because both have become meaningless. The airplane is gone and "they" have already come looking for you, didn't see you, and have left.  They probably won't be coming back.  Your primary concern now is survival and it's not going so well.  You better find out if there's someplace on the island better for getting food and water.
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John Kada

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Re: Seven Site
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2012, 08:02:29 PM »


We have good reason to think that a castaway died there and we know that, several years later, some Coasties did some target shooting there. Sorting out which artifacts are attributable to which activity is easy in some cases and more problematic in others.


I know this is the kind of statement that makes your head spin, Ric, but I wonder about some of the evidence that is offered to suport the idea that the Seven Site really is the castaway site. For example, in the Possible Castaway Associations section of the Seven Site page of Ameliapedia (http://tighar.org/wiki/Seven_site#Shellfish_Features) we read:

“About two meters south of the Anadara feature we recorded a loose cluster of valves representing the “giant” clam genus Tridacna, most probably T. crocea. At least seventeen clams are represented by twenty-nine complete and fragmented valves. In most cases one valve of each pair is complete, while the other is often broken or even smashed into multiple fragments. Several examples show evidence of battering and/or prying around the byssal orifaces and on the siphon end. In one case (Fig. xxx), the tip of a small iron tool, apparently fabricated from the rim of a steel drum and found in metal detecting about three meters from the shell cluster, fits precisely into a chipped wound in the clam’s hinge.”

The following discussion argues first that it is unlikely that the colonists would have opened the clams in the manner observed. Then an argument against the smashed Tridacna shells being the handiwork of the Coast Guardsmen is made: “The Coast Guardsmen were equipped with heavy, serviceable knives, and would hardly have needed to fabricate a prying tool and chip away at the clam’s hinge”. I don't find that argument terribly convincing, but what I'd prefer to focus on is that one of the shells appeared to have been smashed open with a tool made from the rim of a steel drum. It find it easy to believe that that the Coast Guard brought steel drums with them to Gardner, and that a piece of one drum made it to the Seven Site due to Coast Guard activity. But where would a pre-PISS castaway have gotten such a thing? And why wasn't a steel drum, or some part of one, found by Gallagher at the site of the castaway's remains? All in all, I find the Tridacna shells to be more likely to be Coast Guard debris than castaway-related. I think the same might be said of other items of evidence used to argue that the Seven Site is in fact the castaway site.

Perhaps the reason the castaway's teeth, belt buckle, watch or some other artifact that could be more strongly linked to the castaway have not been found at the Seven Site is that the Seven Site isn't the castaway site?

I know this post in particular and several of the last ones to some degree are a digression, but I think they're worthwhile things to discuss—I'll say no more here but perhaps a new thread titled “Is the Seven Site really where the Castaway was Found?” would be a good idea, and not just to discuss the Tridacna shells. I can hear Ric's teeth grinding at the suggestion...
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 09:07:43 PM by John Kada »
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