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Author Topic: The first few nights on Gardner?  (Read 41757 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2010, 11:17:05 PM »

I find your remarks of rebuttal quite argumentative ...

Shouldn't a man devoted to logic expect arguments in reply to arguments?

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... and simply not convincing.  I have  looked at the so called post lost messages ...

How many?  In what source?  Have you got a copy of Finding Amelia so that you can look at the data on the CD?

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... and fail to see any instance where Earhart or Noonan attempted to give a location.

Many of the transmissions had no intelligible content--just a transmission on an Earhart frequency by a man or a woman and some of which appear to have come from within the Phoenix islands.  Your failure "to see any instance where Earhart and Noonan attempted to give a location" is not a responsible or logical induction from those transmissions for which no transcript is available.  Since we don't know what they were trying to say in those transmissions, we don't know what they may or may not have tried to transmit about their location.  Many of the other transmissions where there is some intelligible content are fragmentary.  You have no grounds to criticize Earhart or Noonan on the basis of those messages.

"One must have a very good imagination to interpret some of those entries in Betty’s notebook as providing convincing evidence that the messages were coming from Gardner Island and that Earhart was telling the world where she was."

If all we had was Betty's notebook, I would be inclined to agree with you.  But it fits a pattern of post-loss messages that cannot be ruled out on technical grounds or because of clearly impossible statements (e.g., the alleged transmissions from a floating plane).
Why shouldn't a young girl doodling in her notebook miss parts of what she heard?  She reports that she could not hear everything that was said.

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Noonan had the reputation as the world’s foremost aerial navigator so is it not logical to assume that he knew or should have known what island that he was on?

Only on the assumption that Noonan carried all of the maps you think he had and that he was able to work out a better fix from sun-lines on the flight down to Gardner.  If he was injured in the landing or if it was cloudy on the first night(s), he may not have been able to work out a good fix for where they were.  You can't do celestial navigation starting from nowhere.  If he had known where he was when they headed to Gardner, they would have known enough to make it to Howland.  Not even "the world's foremost aerial navigator" could defy the laws of celestial navigation.  If you're lost, you're lost, and you haven't got any way to get yourself re-located on the map until you get two or more LOPs crossing each other--and that takes time.

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To say that they did not know their position flies in the face of the hypothesis that they flew down the LOP looking for land.

They knew the Phoenix Islands were thataway, more or less.  That is not the same thing as being able to transmit a latitude and longitude for the plane or to name the atoll that they'd found.

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The reports by Pan American of the bearings that they compiled indicating an intersection in the vicinity of the Phoenix group is not evidence that those carrier waves were coming from Earhart or Noonan. The veracity and accuracy of those reports could very easily be considered suspect. It would have been of great benefit for Pan American to be given credit for performing a service that led to the rescue of our heroes.

So now you need the coordination of a conspiracy among four widely spaced Pan Am stations in the Pacific, with some help thrown in from the Coast Guard.  Bob Branden's introduction to "Analysis of RDF Bearings"... says: "This paper presents an analysis of radio direction finder bearings obtained by Pan American Airways (PAA) direction finder (DF) sites, at Wake Island, Midway Island, and Mokapu Point at Oahu, Hawaii, and by a temporary U. S. Coast Guard DF site at Howland Island, during the search for Amelia Earhart in July 1937. All bearings were taken on signals heard at night, on or near 3105 kHz, the Earhart night frequency.

Our conspirators must have accomplished their nefarious scheme by radio or telegraph transmissions, unless you're willing to grant them powers of ESP.  And all hands at all stations would have to agree to the conspiracy within a day or two of July 2nd in order to cook the books properly.

You may imagine that this is "probable."  For me, I don't find your (undocumented) allegation the least bit persuasive.  And the only way to get credit for finding Amelia (your alleged motivation for this conspiracy) is to, uh, you know, like find Amelia.  If desiring to be The Man Who Saved Amelia from Certain Death motivated them, it should have motivated them to tell the truth about what they heard with their ears and observed with their instruments.

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In regards to the Naval aviators and contrary to your comments, the float planes that were on the Battleships were there for the purpose of reconnaissance.

"Reconnaissance" meant "spotting enemy ships and targets of opportunity."  It did not mean "finding two people and aircraft wreckage on a small Pacific atoll while flying at an altitude of 400' to avoid bird strikes."  It is nonsense to say that the skills needed to spot ships of war are identical to those required for search-and-rescue.  There is some overlap, of course: don't crash your search plane; know where you are; keep your head on a swivel; look out of the corner of your eyes; alternate unassisted visual sweeps with use of binoculars; etc.

Searching for downed aircraft and survivors of wrecks is an art, not a science.  The art has developed greatly since 1937.  It's very different from finding something trying to torpedo your destroyer or that your destroyer can torpedo.

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The pilots and observers were trained in searching and reconnaissance so it was not foreign to them, as you suggest, to go search airways and islands for lost airplanes and aviators.  As the world’s foremost aerial navigator it should not be hard to assume that Noonan would expect someone to come looking for him, likewise, Earhart.

There's no reason why he should have expected anybody other that the boat waiting for them to come to the rescue.  Your imagination has filled Fred's imagination with thoughts that I find unrealistic: "Of course, since I'm the World's Foremost Aerial Navigator ..."--my heavens, what would Harold Gatty, Charles Lindbergh, or Wiley Post have thought of that claim!--we return now to your fantasy about what was in Fred's head--"Of course, since I'm the World's Foremost Aerial Navigator, the navy will certainly send a destroyer with its reconnaissance warcraft to look for me.  I must see about forming an SOS on the beach quite promptly."

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The comparison you give of the video in regards to your perceived difficulty is searching for people and equipment on an island is not accurate.  Looking at the video of the helicopter flying around Gardner does not indicate that flyers could not see objects on the ground.

I did not say they could not see objects on the ground.  I said it was difficult to do so.  If you have the video, watch how the footprints leading to people on the beach--and the people themselves!--disappear from view as the helicopter ascends.

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The helicopter in the video is a Hughes 500 and  the airspeed appears to be about 80 kts which is normal for that aircraft.  The airspeed of the Navy float planes from the Colorado is comparable to the Hughes 500.

Only the heli pilot and Ric know their actual airspeed--I'm not sure it's specified in the video.  The field of view in the heli is vastly better than that in the biplanes.

Look at the way the lower wing and nose block the pilot's view of the search area!  They could look over one side or the other, but not both.  While they were looking over the right side of the plane, something might slide by on the left.

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I can assure you that aviators trained in reconnaissance techniques can see people and other objects on the ground and in the wooded areas.

Yes, today's training is splendid.  It did not exist in 1937.  You are guilty of equivocation in your use of the word "reconnaissance."

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To the untrained eye such as yours, everything seems to be a blur, however, not so to a trained scout pilot.

And lots of trained and motivated searchers missed the remains of Steve Faucett's wrecked Citabria and (presumably) his body as well.  Scout pilots are not infallible.

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Your statement that “perhaps your imagination needs training”  is misplaced and unwarranted.

You made the powers of your imagination the issue when you said, "If indeed the two were still there, it is difficult to imagine that there were so signs or markers visible to alert the Navy flyers of their presence."  You are assuming both that AE and FN would have created such markers visible from the air and that people in the Vought O3U-3 carried by the Colorado.  The fact that they were trained in reconnoitering for ships does not mean that they had your training in reconnoitering for survivors.

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I have over forty years of professional flying experience from flying scouts in Vietnam to extensive over water flying in commercial aviation.

I have a Masters degree in Philosophy and Ph.D. in Systematic Theology.  I've published two books.  I'm not a neophyte when it comes to reasoning.  I've been part of TIGHAR since 2000.  I'm the webmaster of the site, one of the principal authors of the wiki, and the person who set up the software for this forum.  I know a thing or two about reasoning.

What you learned from 1960 to 2000 gives you a splendid basis for your opinion that if someone with your skills had searched the island from the air, you could judge that the absence of evidence was evidence of absence.  I don't see any reason why I should bow to what you claim to have learned in that era as grounds for judging what was possible and what was done in 1937.  You may pull rank on me if we are discussion which one of us is best to pilot an aircraft; your rank means nothing when it comes to reasoning properly about the evidence that is available to us.  I hope you fly a lot better than you argue.

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I think that I know what an aviator should be able to see and not see when flying over an island and it is my opinion that if Earhart and Noonan were on Gardner, they would have been discovered by the scout planes from the Colorado.

My opinion (and that of the many professional pilots involved in TIGHAR's search from the beginning, some of whom have been on the island on foot as well) is that it isn't hard at all to understand how easy it would have been to miss AE and FN. 

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It appears to me that you are a little too sensitive to other opinions that do not completely support your position and you tend to become very defensive and condescending.

Thanks for your insensitive, non-defensive, and non-condescending judgment of my personality.  It is a model of netiquette.

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Perhaps you have been at this a little too long.

Yes.  I took about an hour this morning and an hour just now to reply to your post with indications of where you might find some answers to your questions.

Of course, you may mean to say, "There is no point in taking what I say seriously or dealing my questions in detail.  Nothing you can say can change my mind because I am a pilot and you are not.  I know what I'm talking about and you don't."

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Relax a bit.

I will when I finish this post, thanks.

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You speak of a “total failure of Niku VI” and what it would indicate.

Yes, I did.  It was a supposition about a worst-case scenario and what conclusions might be drawn from it.  The proper conclusion is not the one you recorded in this forum and to which I was replying: "The work on Gardner presently underway is certainly justified if for nothing else but to ascertain that Earhart and Noonan were never there."  The work on Gardner presently underway is incapable, by itself, of providing evidence that Earhart and Noonan were never on the island; it would only show that Niku VI could not find evidence of their presence where the team was able to look.

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I don’t think that not finding evidence that Earhart and Noonan were ever on Gardner would be a failure. It should be considered successful even if the expedition concluded that our flyers were never there.  Then you could go and look someplace else.

TIGHAR has looked in other places and eliminated them from the search. 

Of course, if you have a line of evidence that points to some place else, state your case.  If it's persuasive--and not just a series of assertions based on your personal authority as someone trained in SAR in 1960-2000--TIGHAR may help you out, as they did with the search for graves on Tinian in 2004.
LTM,

           Marty
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Erik

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2010, 02:54:10 PM »


Here's a newspaper report of post-loss radio transmissions indicating a latitude/longitude of AE/FN.  The lat/long is remarkably close to Gardner.  If you excuse the timing errors introduced in calculating longitude, that puts the reported position within ~20 miles of the island.

It seems unlikely a hoax given that the reporter immediately tuned in to also hear a man's voice.

Click Here to read the full article.

Article text from:
The Southeast Missourian - Jul 8, 1937
   Ray Havens, Conrad creamery worker, phoned the Great Falls Tribune that at 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, he heard a man's voice giving a position and saying "all's well."
   A few minutes later, he said, he picked up a second message, which he gave as follows: "Position 173 west longitude and 5 south latitude."

Newspaper Joins Hunt.
  Luke Wright of the Tribune editorial staff immediately tuned in his set of 3105 kilocycles, and reported he heard a voice, presumably a man's, but could not distinguish the words.
   Coast Guard officials at San Francisco said the message appeared promising for two reasons. First, the longitude and latitude intersects a spot approximately where they believe the missing flyers are down.  Second, the wording of the message sounded authentic.




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Ted G Campbell

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2010, 06:46:39 PM »

Try this experiment if you want to get an idea of what you would experience in looking out of an airplane window at 400 feet and going 80 knots:

Sit it the back seat of a car going about 30 mph and look down at the edge of the road and describe what you see.  Now if you have the opportunity to look over a bank, cliff or some other "far away" place going the same speed describe what you see.

The point is, in an airplane at 400 feet and going 80 knots you are not going to see very much - it's more of a blur and the eye/brain interface can't digest it all.  Go higher and the ground appears to go by much slower, but there is a trade off, the detail you can make out on the ground is less.  Bottom line, the Navy fly by did see "evidence of recent habitation" i.e. large objects such as a large rock along the edge of the road but you missed the dear in the valley that you would have seen in the "far away" place.

Ted Campbell
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Erik

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2010, 10:09:31 AM »


There are no specific details, but it appears that the Navy pilots did exercise some discretion at examing the island more closely after determing "recent habitation".  Their transcript's comment also includes "...repeated circling and zooming..." and "...finally taken for granted..."

We will never know, but it would be interesting to get a feel for what "repeated circling and zooming" might have meant for search and rescue efforts at the time? 

Also interesting is the usage of the word "zooming".  Perhaps that indicates a lower altitude where a more oblique view of someone waving would be easier to recognize.  Or perhaps use of camera or binoculars?  A well coordinated search procedure could have included film developing 'on site' of the aircraft carriers.  This would have enabled more precise inspection of clues to determine if immediate repeat visits were justifed.

A more complete version of where the "recent habitation" comments were taken from:
"Here signs of recent habitation were clearly visible but repeated circling and zooming failed to elicit any answering wave from possible inhabitants and it was finally taken for granted that none were there."

Also of curiosity...

From another post, it appears that Mantz felt as though Amelia may have elected to get rid of some pieces of important survival gear including a drinkable water machine and a portable radio.  There are historic news articles referencing an inflatable raft, flare pistol, and signal kite that could be 'seen for miles'.  Do we wonder if those addtional survival items were also discarded from her cache of survival gear?  With some theories suggesting a 'fire ring' as signaling device - it may appear so.

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Mona Kendrick

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2010, 11:44:14 AM »

Re zooming and circling: "zoom" was the term in use at the time for a dive and pull-up.  My guess is that the Colorado aviators were trying to get the attention of anyone on the ground who might not have heard the drone of planes in straight-and-level flight.

Mona
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2010, 10:21:38 PM »

SOMEBODY left those rather convincing 'markers' though, whatever they were, and so far we're at a loss to logically understand who it could have been at that time other than our party, it would seem.

The field is wide open for speculation about what the "signs" were and, therefore, who the candidates are to have left them.

During the 2003 bones search in Fiji, Roger and I interviewed a man who had visited the island once as part of a checkup by the authorities.  They found a pistol on the beach and footprints in the sand.  Theoretically, no one should have been there.

There are lots of strange things that happen in the Pacific.  We can't say that we know for sure no boats visited Niku or that there could be no other source of the "signs" that AE and FN.  It's conceivable that the "signs" were left by some other group and that the survival camp was elsewhere--nowhere near where the planes were circling and zooming.
LTM,

           Marty
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Scott Erwin

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2010, 11:42:07 AM »

As a former Naval Aviator I don't find it implausible in the least that the aviators didn't see anything.  Perhaps there were signs that they did not see.  Perhaps there were no signs to be found - who knows.  What strikes me is that if AE and FN had been on the island for roughly a week, their condition could well have been VERY poor by that point.  Assuming that they had no water reserves with them and were left to forage on the island, they may well have been extremely dehydrated by that point and incapable of signaling.  This seems probably as the amount of effort required to dig a well would seem to be such that they would be lucky to have one shot at it, with failure meaning death.  I don't imagine that finding food would be a major problem between the crabs, shellfish, etc. but water would be a MAJOR issue.

Interestingly, if water were available (by collecting rain or digging a well perhaps) I would guess that survival would be possible for an extended period on Gardner.  Food seems abundant if you're clever enough to catch it.  Ample materials and environment is available for a modicum of shelter.  Again, water would be the key issue.

One other random thought - presuming that AE and FN are alive on the island when the planes scout it: they hear an airplane and run to signal it - which way do they go?  To the ocean side beach or to the lagoon?  One would assume that the best spot to be sighted is on the beach.  Let's assume for a moment that the plane is initially heard in the direction of the ocean, so our castaways run to that beach.  The plane continues to circle, perhaps scouting the perimeter first, then moving on to the lagoon beach.  The survivors now make a dash to the lagoon side to be seen.  How clear is the jungle for them to expeditiously move through it?  Can they get to the lagoon side beach in time to be seen or has the plane now passed by them again while they are stuck moving through the jungle?

Just a thought.

Finally (and my data may be confused here - I've only begun looking at the Tigher materials over the last few days) assuming that the aircraft is theorized to have landed on the coral reef near the northernmost section of the island, can anyone explain to me the presumed reasoning for AE and FN to have moved to the SW corner?  It would seem logical to ME anyway (not that that matters mind you) that if they landed near the Norwich, they MUST have seen it and known it was there.  If I'm a castaway looking at mid - longterm survival on a pacific island, I'm looking for all of the tools that I can possibly find to help me.  Why would I trek AWAY from the one MASSIVE man-made object that could present LOADS of survival tools in favor of a remote corner of the island?  Would it not also make sense to assume that the Norwich wreck will attract attention and draw the eye to it, meaning that staying nearby may be of additional benefit?

I'm just having a hard time understanding why, if I'm AE and FN, a move to the SE corner is in any way logical or beneficial.  Can anyone help me with this?

Thanks, and thanks to you all for your hard work!

Best of luck.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2010, 12:42:22 PM »

As a former Naval Aviator I don't find it implausible in the least that the aviators didn't see anything.  Perhaps there were signs that they did not see.  Perhaps there were no signs to be found - who knows.  What strikes me is that if AE and FN had been on the island for roughly a week, their condition could well have been VERY poor by that point.  Assuming that they had no water reserves with them and were left to forage on the island, they may well have been extremely dehydrated by that point and incapable of signaling.  This seems probably as the amount of effort required to dig a well would seem to be such that they would be lucky to have one shot at it, with failure meaning death.  I don't imagine that finding food would be a major problem between the crabs, shellfish, etc. but water would be a MAJOR issue.

See "How to die on Niku 101" for a list of possible ways that folks might meet their end.

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Interestingly, if water were available (by collecting rain or digging a well perhaps) I would guess that survival would be possible for an extended period on Gardner.  Food seems abundant if you're clever enough to catch it.  Ample materials and environment is available for a modicum of shelter.  Again, water would be the key issue.

A Benedictine bottle with some water in it  found near the skeleton.  The Niku castaway had some method of getting water, it would seem.

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One other random thought - presuming that AE and FN are alive on the island when the planes scout it: they hear an airplane and run to signal it - which way do they go?  To the ocean side beach or to the lagoon?  One would assume that the best spot to be sighted is on the beach.  Let's assume for a moment that the plane is initially heard in the direction of the ocean, so our castaways run to that beach.

The arrival of a helicopter during Niku IIII gave the team members a chance to learn about sound effects on the island.  There was another overflight on another expedition; I can't find the Forum discussion of it.  I think the people who heard the helicopter and the airplane agreed on how hard it was to tell where the sound was coming from.  If I remember correctly, the aircraft was heard clearly but was not seen or identified.  So the assumption that the castaways could tell direction may be weak.

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The plane continues to circle, perhaps scouting the perimeter first, then moving on to the lagoon beach.  The survivors now make a dash to the lagoon side to be seen.  How clear is the jungle for them to expeditiously move through it?  Can they get to the lagoon side beach in time to be seen or has the plane now passed by them again while they are stuck moving through the jungle?

It depends on where they are on the island in your imagination.  The scene has to be reconstructed for the nature of the terrain in 1937; it has changed due to the efforts of the PISS settlement (1938-1963).

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Finally (and my data may be confused here - I've only begun looking at the TIGHAR materials over the last few days) assuming that the aircraft is theorized to have landed on the coral reef near the northernmost section of the island, can anyone explain to me the presumed reasoning for AE and FN to have moved to the SW corner?

In a sense, it doesn't matter.  That's where the bones were found.  Your guess is as good as anybody's.  Search for water (see the "pond" at the end of the island in this satellite photo?  A pleasant high point in the Buka forest?  Convenient spot to watch for ships coming from Howland?  Searching the island for resources?  Close to clams and turtles?  Fewer Coconut crabs?

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It would seem logical to ME anyway (not that that matters mind you) that if they landed near the Norwich, they MUST have seen it and known it was there.  If I'm a castaway looking at mid - longterm survival on a pacific island, I'm looking for all of the tools that I can possibly find to help me.  Why would I trek AWAY from the one MASSIVE man-made object that could present LOADS of survival tools in favor of a remote corner of the island?  Would it not also make sense to assume that the Norwich wreck will attract attention and draw the eye to it, meaning that staying nearby may be of additional benefit?

Heaven (if it exists) only knows.  But that seems to be where the castaway died.

Of the making up of "why" questions there is no end.  Why didn't AE and FN learn Morse code?  Why didn't AE get the frequencies correct for her equipment?

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see perhaps dozens of ways in which things might have turned out differently.  That's stuff to chew on around the campfire at the end of the day.  But such questions don't produce leads to investigate.
LTM,

           Marty
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Scott Erwin

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2010, 12:55:06 PM »

As a former Naval Aviator I don't find it implausible in the least that the aviators didn't see anything.  Perhaps there were signs that they did not see.  Perhaps there were no signs to be found - who knows.  What strikes me is that if AE and FN had been on the island for roughly a week, their condition could well have been VERY poor by that point.  Assuming that they had no water reserves with them and were left to forage on the island, they may well have been extremely dehydrated by that point and incapable of signaling.  This seems probably as the amount of effort required to dig a well would seem to be such that they would be lucky to have one shot at it, with failure meaning death.  I don't imagine that finding food would be a major problem between the crabs, shellfish, etc. but water would be a MAJOR issue.

See "How to die on Niku 101" for a list of possible ways that folks might meet their end.

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Interestingly, if water were available (by collecting rain or digging a well perhaps) I would guess that survival would be possible for an extended period on Gardner.  Food seems abundant if you're clever enough to catch it.  Ample materials and environment is available for a modicum of shelter.  Again, water would be the key issue.

A Benedictine bottle with some water in it  found near the skeleton.  The Niku castaway had some method of getting water, it would seem.

Quote
One other random thought - presuming that AE and FN are alive on the island when the planes scout it: they hear an airplane and run to signal it - which way do they go?  To the ocean side beach or to the lagoon?  One would assume that the best spot to be sighted is on the beach.  Let's assume for a moment that the plane is initially heard in the direction of the ocean, so our castaways run to that beach.

The arrival of a helicopter during Niku IIII gave the team members a chance to learn about sound effects on the island.  There was another overflight on another expedition; I can't find the Forum discussion of it.  I think the people who heard the helicopter and the airplane agreed on how hard it was to tell where the sound was coming from.  If I remember correctly, the aircraft was heard clearly but was not seen or identified.  So the assumption that the castaways could tell direction may be weak.

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The plane continues to circle, perhaps scouting the perimeter first, then moving on to the lagoon beach.  The survivors now make a dash to the lagoon side to be seen.  How clear is the jungle for them to expeditiously move through it?  Can they get to the lagoon side beach in time to be seen or has the plane now passed by them again while they are stuck moving through the jungle?

It depends on where they are on the island in your imagination.  The scene has to be reconstructed for the nature of the terrain in 1937; it has changed due to the efforts of the PISS settlement (1938-1963).

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Finally (and my data may be confused here - I've only begun looking at the TIGHAR materials over the last few days) assuming that the aircraft is theorized to have landed on the coral reef near the northernmost section of the island, can anyone explain to me the presumed reasoning for AE and FN to have moved to the SW corner?

In a sense, it doesn't matter.  That's where the bones were found.  Your guess is as good as anybody's.  Search for water (see the "pond" at the end of the island in this satellite photo?  A pleasant high point in the Buka forest?  Convenient spot to watch for ships coming from Howland?  Searching the island for resources?  Close to clams and turtles?  Fewer Coconut crabs?

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It would seem logical to ME anyway (not that that matters mind you) that if they landed near the Norwich, they MUST have seen it and known it was there.  If I'm a castaway looking at mid - longterm survival on a pacific island, I'm looking for all of the tools that I can possibly find to help me.  Why would I trek AWAY from the one MASSIVE man-made object that could present LOADS of survival tools in favor of a remote corner of the island?  Would it not also make sense to assume that the Norwich wreck will attract attention and draw the eye to it, meaning that staying nearby may be of additional benefit?

Heaven (if it exists) only knows.  But that seems to be where the castaway died.

Of the making up of "why" questions there is no end.  Why didn't AE and FN learn Morse code?  Why didn't AE get the frequencies correct for her equipment?

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see perhaps dozens of ways in which things might have turned out differently.  That's stuff to chew on around the campfire at the end of the day.  But such questions don't produce leads to investigate.

Thanks for the thought put into your response!  As you stated - we'll never know "why" for certain and we can absolutely "what if" things to death, but on the other hand, trying to ascertain what is reasonable may lead in the future to more clues.

Just trying to help out.
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Scott Erwin

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2010, 01:51:34 PM »

I found it interesting that this was written in today's update from the expedition, "Walking through the buka forest, hearing an airplane go over, knowing – knowing – you could not possible make it to the beach in time to signal an observer …".  Which confirms my speculation from my earlier post: a week after crash landing there any survivor would be seeking shade as much as possible in order to retain water.  I suspect that in a weakened and dehydrated state, it would be difficult to get from shelter/shade to open beach quickly enough to signal  upon hearing an aircraft approach (if you even know which beach to go to).

Fun coincidence that he wrote that today!
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Erik

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2010, 02:02:09 PM »

One reasonable thought that I have been pondering is whether the southeastern edge of the island would have provided a better vantage point for determing where they were in the night's (or early morning's) sky.  Remember, they were lost.  So finding out where they were was extremely important to them.

For example, if one wanted to get readings from the southern sky and eastern sky simultaneously, this edge of the island would have provide a higher likelihood of an unobstructed view.  The rising sun/moon timetables would both be easily gained from this position.

Since there seems to be some evidence of the navigational sextant having been potentially damaged or lost along the way, getting the best, and as many celestial readings as possible would have been first order of buisness while radio communication was still possible.

One of the most rudimentary ways of determining celestial angles without a accurate measuring device, is to hold your finger at arms length against the horizon to measure angular distances.  The limitation to this method is accuracy.  One finger's width can mean approximately 60 miles in real-world units when trying to determine position.  If you have trees obstructing your view, accuracy is even compromised that much more.

If in fact the sextant was MIA, then they would have needed all the accuracy they could possibly muster.  What better way to do this other than taking several readings from several different celestial bodies at several different locations throughout the island, then averaging all the results together.

Maybe they camped out here to get good night sky readings the night before and having instant access to the rising sun in the morning.

Food for thought...


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Matt Rimmer

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2010, 01:25:40 AM »

Just a thought on the subject of the Norwich City wreck,even if a castaway could reach the ship would they be able to get aboard it?.
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Ricker H Jones

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2010, 11:18:16 AM »

After her grounding, a rent on the port side of the SS Norwich City permitted ingress into the ship.  During WWII one of the Coasties, Dick Evans, recalled this: "On one occasion several of us walked thru the hole torn in the port side of the hull and climbed up to the forepeak. ( see: http://tighar.org/wiki/SS_Norwich_City ) Because there was a raging fire following the grounding, there were probably few usable items aboard the ship.
Rick J
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Matt Rimmer

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2010, 02:12:29 PM »

Thanks Rick,makes sense if the Coastguard could get in AE/FN could perhaps have done so.
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Ashley Such

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Re: The first few nights on Gardner?
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2010, 07:22:25 PM »

Quick question: Since there could be DNA extracts from the items touched that were found on Niku, would that mean there could possibly be DNA on the animal bones; as in to who ate the turtles, birds, etc? Or no?
« Last Edit: June 12, 2010, 07:25:32 PM by Ashley »
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