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Author Topic: Speculating about Camp Zero  (Read 61134 times)

richie conroy

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Speculating about Camp Zero
« on: June 24, 2012, 05:23:44 PM »

Marty

have area's i have arrows pointing to been searched ?

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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2012, 05:41:42 PM »

Talking with Art Carty about what areas have and have not been searched by TIGHAR, I've become persuaded that it would be worthwhile to look for the remains of "Camp Zero."
I'm with Art!  If there's an undiscovered sextant anywhere on Niku, I'm persuaded it would be at Camp Zero (just up the hill from Marty's Notch?), lying in coral rubble covered by scaevola and etched with Naval Observatory number 1542.  What a find that would be for Megan Lickliter-Mundon during Niku VII!  (Well, I can fantasize with everyone else, can't I?) 
LTM,

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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2012, 05:57:07 PM »

have areas i have arrows pointing to been searched ?

I honestly don't know, Richie.

I haven't got a comprehensive map of where TIGHAR has been on the island.  This is something for a Geographic Information System (GIS) expert to produce, working with data that is not available in GIS format on the website.  They would have to take the notes from every expedition and make entries in a database about the known paths TIGHAR researchers have taken on and around the island.  It would not be a trivial task, and the results might not be hugely useful for TIGHAR's work.

What I heard about the potential location for "Camp Zero" (the first survival camp close to where the plane might have landed on the reef) is that TIGHAR has not yet done a thorough search in that vicinity.  It also seems not to have been an area where the colonists did any development.

As Bruce said, if the aircraft landed on the reef somewhere near where the Bevington Object was located, and if AE and FN made a camp ashore near the landing site, then there may be some large metallic objects to be found at their first campsite.

When this topic came up previously, I argued that both TIGHAR and the colonists had been all over that territory, and that the odds of finding remains of the campsite were therefore low.  I seem to have been mistaken about the facts of the matter, such as they are.

So far as I know, TIGHAR has not published the information that Jeff Glickman shared at the Symposium about the location of the Bevington Object.  That might provide a reasonable starting point for searches nearby.
LTM,

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« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 06:05:32 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2012, 06:23:27 PM »

I'm with Art!  If there's an undiscovered sextant anywhere on Niku, I'm persuaded it would be at Camp Zero (just up the hill from Marty's Notch?)

Although I'm flattered to have a feature named after me, we probably should use something more meaningful for the sake of folks who were not at that session of the Symposium.   ::)

I suggest we speak of it as "the Northwestern Notch."  People with a better command of shoreline cartography might have an even more accurate name for it.  It's the big indentation in the shore that you come to as you walk north from the Norwich City wreck. 



Notice the difference in vegetation, which suggests to me that this is an area that gets overwashed fairly regularly.  I don't know what it looked like in 1937, nor can I guess whether the storm surges that seem to have hit there would tend to bury or remove materials in the overwash zone.

Quote
..., lying in coral rubble covered by scaevola and etched with Naval Observatory number 1542.  What a find that would be for Megan Lickliter-Mundon during Niku VII!

I don't know whether Megan will be aboard for Niku VII, which departs about nine days from today (2 July).  Even if she is on this team, I doubt she'll get up around the Notch.   ;)
LTM,

           Marty
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« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 06:28:35 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Heath Smith

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2012, 06:40:26 PM »


Martin,

That is a really nice photo, do you have more like it around the Northern end of the island?

Thanks.
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2012, 06:55:01 PM »

Marty---seems like some of us talked about this in DC. Not to disagree with Tom King, Lorrie Shorrer, and Ric, but it seems to me that the 7 site is a long way from the site landing site. Camp Zero seems like a better deal to me.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2012, 06:56:07 PM »

That is a really nice photo, do you have more like it around the Northern end of the island?

It's a snip from a 412 MB JPG recently created (16 June 2012) by the GeoEye Foundation using their GeoEye-1 Satellite.  They are supporting Niku VII.  The TIF file is 732 MB and has something like half-meter resolution (?)--1 pixel = 0.5 m (?).  This is a screen capture from the JPG.  I don't know how much information is lost by producing images this way:


LTM,

           Marty
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« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 06:59:13 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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richie conroy

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2012, 07:38:49 PM »

what if Electra was camp zero

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John Ousterhout

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2012, 08:48:31 PM »

"...what if Electra was camp zero..."
then we dont know where "camp zero" was, unless we make assumptions of where the Electra was at the time.  Maybe it was on the reef.  Maybe it was on the water, somewhere nearer Howland.  If they were using the Electra as "camp Zero", assuming it was on the Niku reef north of the Norwich City, then we can make some presumptions.  Am I right to make these assumptions?
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2012, 09:52:19 PM »

what if Electra was camp zero

People who have spent time in an Electra sitting in the sunshine reported that it was unpleasantly hot.

The food and water in the Electra were in limited supply.

If they stayed in the Electra, then they disappeared with the aircraft.

If they got off the Electra, then some place on the island was their first camp, which is what we mean by "Camp Zero."  The hope that there might be a trove of metal artifacts there is, admittedly, wishful thinking; but it is a thought that might be tested by surveying that part of the island.
LTM,

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Malcolm McKay

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2012, 10:19:45 PM »

Reading the account of Niku IIIIP  it seems to me that area (the coastal section of Nutiran) was searched back in 1999. One thing does occur to me that, as is noted in the entry http://tighar.org/wiki/Nutiran -

"Nutiran was the site of John Arundel's failed coconut planting project in the 1890s, which left ruins of structures with corrugated iron roofs noted by both survivors of the Norwich City wreck in the late 1920s and early survey teams about ten years later.",

if corrugated iron roof material was still available it would make an excellent roof for a rough camp. I must admit to being puzzled why anyone marooned on the island would leave the area of the Norwich City which is a land mark and move to the other end of the island, unless proximity of a dead body which couldn't be protected from the depredations of the coconut crabs became untenable.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 09:17:45 AM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2012, 02:02:55 AM »

Here is a description of the work in 1999.

<<<<<<<

Nikumaroro Reconnaissance

On Nikumaroro, work was hampered by heavy rain, but the following work was accomplished (See Fig. N-41):
Intensive search of ___(RIC, HOW MANY?) twenty-meter squares plotted over the area identified by airphotos as including the site of the large structure and the possible wreckage;
Search of the dense mao along the shore north of the Norwich City, employing thrity- to forty-meter long transects cut at twenty-five meter intervals;
Excavation of a grave found on the Nutiran shore near the Norwich City;
Visual inspection of the Taraia shoreline;
Visual inspection of the Nutiran reef flat in and well beyond the area identified by Emily Sikuli as the site where she had been shown wreckage;
Visual inspection of Kanawa Point, including evaluation by Dr. Burns; and
Similar inspection of Aukaraime South.
Unfortunately, time did not allow a visit to the third candidate "bones site" on the southeast windward shore.
>>>>>>

There were 12 team members.  They left from Fiji which is a 5 day transit to and from, and spent 10 days ashore.  Given all the things they were trying to accomplish, my impression is that the "search" of the Nutiran shore was pretty high level with limited manpower and limited time.  The expedition report says they covered about 700 meters north of the NC, so that would take them pretty much to the tip of the island.

Cutting 40 meter transects through Scaevola every 25 meters leaves a lot of territory un-searched.  It is hard to see beyond 6 meters in dense scaevola.  Camp Zero could have easily been there and not found.

 Richie - I'm pretty sure that TIGHAR has visited the sites you indicate, but I don't know to what degree they have been searched in the sense of using metal detectors etc.  They are natural clearings, and you can still see them on the new sat photo Marty posted.

Malcolm - The Nutiran shore is one of the driest and hottest areas for whatever reason, probably because it is sheltered by the prevailing winds.  Once the Colorado planes few on, the realization that they weren't coming back might have reduced the value of hanging out near the NC  At some point it would be natural to begin to explore your new home, such as it is, driven by the need for water and sustenance.

The other end of the island is where there is a breeze, the turtles come ashore to nest, there is buka forest, and there are plenty of birds.  In relative terms, it is a more comfortable place to be.

And, there is the dead body issue.  In my mind the first one to go gets at least partially covered up with coral rocks, not fully buried - it would be not only difficult without the right tools, but dangerous to dig a true grave given the water loss required - so the idea of the first body being unpleasant to hang out near is a good one in my mind.  The last one to die in our AE scenario, ends up on the surface ala the castaway.

Again, we're speculating here, but I think we all have some experience with human nature upon which to base some speculation.

Andrew
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2012, 06:42:21 AM »

While we are speculating about a possible camp zero let's apply some logic to it.

Ok, so assuming they reached Gardner Island and managed to put the plane down on the reef flat what would be the likeliest thing they did first?
Try to communicate with SAR!!!!!!
Explore, first to shipwreck, it's an obvious landmark.
Explore, the whole island? Not yet.
Explore, the local area where we are so we can continue transmissions as well and, stay near obvious landmark.

If you take a look  at the images I have placed 2 red circles where the exploration of the local area ended. From these 2 circles you are able to see the island layout. The circle by the lagoon passage means you have found the lagoon entrance and, can proceed no further in that direction but, you can see the other end of the island across the lagoon. The other circle allows you to see the whole length of the island along the shoreline, again, to the other end of the island.

Don't want to stray too far away from the plane, transmissions. Don't want to stray too far away from shipwreck, obvious landmark

For these 2 reasons it would make sense to set up a campsite inland from the Electra/shipwreck first. For whatever reasons make a site that is more suitable for a long stay later, somewhere more hospitable.

Why would you want a long stay campsite?

Plane washed away?
Missed the SAR planes?
Who knows...
It's just a theory with logic applied that I would have used but, that's me applying the training I endured to a theory about AE and FN.

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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2012, 07:02:35 AM »

Jeff

you say
Quote
The circle by the lagoon passage means you have found the lagoon entrance and, can proceed no further in that direction but, you can see the other end of the island across the lagoon
but the lagoon passage is passable at low tide.

However I've often thought that AE/FN may not have attempted to cross it whilst the plane was still on the reef as they may have seen the passage as un fordable.

Fred "those sharks sure look mean"

That's right Chris, I had wondered if any attempt would be made to ford the passage but as you say the tide would make it possible and, of course the tide would also make it impossible to cross when the tide came in. Of course you are now on the other side of the lagoon and it's a fair old yomp to get back around the whole island to where you started in the first place. Better to watch the tides for a day or two to see when it is safe to get across and back without having to make the few mile yomps around the whole island. You are probaby right about the sharks and the lagoon, it would make a perfect nursery for young sharks and, be a good source for feeding on fish as well especially when the tide isolates it.

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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2012, 07:22:08 AM »

Thinking about camp Zero and detectable items, it makes sense that if AE/FN had the wits to empty the plane of items while they waited that there may be a sizable cache of items that they would have left behind as they searched for another camp site.

A tool kit may look useful when you have a plane but less so (at first) when its gone over the edge.

Could just be a wrench or two with the sextant in the vola  ;)

That's a good point Chris. I am not sure if it has been debated or mentioned before but...
If the plane was washed away did it come as a total surprise/shock to them or, were there warning signs that it was likely to happen e.g. tides/waves moving the plane about. If it was the latter they would have had time to remove items from the plane, if it was the former, oh dear!
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