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Author Topic: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles  (Read 39649 times)

Mark Petersen

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Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« on: July 08, 2010, 06:28:49 PM »

I read an interesting story about a 2004 dive trip through the Phoenix Islands by the "Planetary Coral Reef Foundation" and thought that others might also find it interesting reading.  It really belongs in a general interest thread about Nikumaroro and since there isn't one, I took the liberty of starting one, but moderators feel free to consolidate this into other threads.

http://www.pcrf.org/explogphoenix.html

On their dive trip to Nikumaroro they wrote this, "On the evening before we departed, Michel, Heather and Kitty watched an incredible scene unfold before them.  They were looking for the dolphins but instead found a pod of false killer whales.  Michel sought contact with them in the water – but a two metre marlin kept coming between them, with each pass coming closer and closer to Michel.  The razor-sharp bill pointed straight at Michel, he made several emergency exits from the water.  After he had made his final leap into the Zodiac, the whales gathered around the marlin and tore him to pieces.  The three watched in amazement, smelling the carnage and the blood from the small boat."

From what I've read it sounds like the shark population is also large and active at Niku.  Did the Tighar members who went to Niku find this to be the case too?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 10:25:14 AM by Mark Petersen »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2010, 07:46:28 PM »

I wasn't aware of the PCRF but they sound pretty amateurish.  We've never seen any "false killer whales" at Niku but we've never been there in November/December. It's tropical cyclone season and definitely the WRONG time of year to be out there.

The shark population at Niku is, indeed, large and active.  Mostly Blacktip Reef Sharks. Not very big (a five foot Blacktip is a big Blacktip) but big enough if they get aggressive - which they do not infrequently.  We've never had anyone get hit but we've had some nervous moments.  On this last trip our cameraman, Mark Smith, was wading across Tatiman Passage and got bumped hard by a Blacktip who was apparently curious to know whether Mark would fight back.  The answer was yes so the shark went looking for more cooperative prey.
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Mark Petersen

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2010, 09:21:19 PM »

I don't think I would want to be out there during cyclone season either : :o....  The PCRF guys also mentioned that the Blacktips were aggressive at Tatiman passage. 

Their dive log can be found towards the end of the link.  It looks like they did 6 dives off of Niku including one at the Norwich wreck site and another north of the wreck and probably north of the Nessie site too (which is where they spotted the False Killer Whales).  Unfortunately there is no mention of spotting any radial engines in the coral though... :)
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Chris Johnson

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2010, 02:11:53 AM »

Very interesting reading.  Shows that no matter how remote the island group there always appears to be visitors to the islands. Also interesting to read again about Kanton and the environment that we the west have left the islanders to live in.
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Mark Petersen

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2010, 04:20:26 PM »

Very interesting reading.  Shows that no matter how remote the island group there always appears to be visitors to the islands. Also interesting to read again about Kanton and the environment that we the west have left the islanders to live in.

Yes I agree.  Reading about the other islands helps to put Niku into a better context.  Somewhere I read about another expedition to Niku (might have been the National Geo one), I'll try to find the link.  If I recall correctly it mentions that the south-east side of the island (by the 7-site) is the most protected side...
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Thom Boughton

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2010, 11:27:15 PM »

Very interesting reading.  Shows that no matter how remote the island group there always appears to be visitors to the islands.......


Indeed!  And visitors of all sorts, at that.

If someone else has already posted this, my apologies.  Otherwise....I ran across http://www.outcastearth.com/ameliasshadow.htm a couple of weeks back.


Curious, if nothing else.


Ummmm....Love to Mother

....tb
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2010, 05:31:12 AM »

Not curious.  Totally bogus.  They were never there.

Niku is remote but it's not inaccessible. If I had to guess, I'd say that someone drops by on the average of once a year.  Because neither of the passages into the lagoon is navigable, virtually everyone who visits the island (except TIGHAR) limits their activities to the area near the landing channel.  To get to other parts of the island requires either walking a small boat through Tatiman Passage at high tide or making a long, hot hike along the shoreline.
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2010, 07:31:24 AM »

Expanding on Ric's "Totally bogus," see Rick Jones' note about the Outcast Earth webpage nearly 3 years ago, along with Tom King's response about that group.  The postings are down near the bottom of the archived forum file for October 2007, dated 22 Oct 2007 and timestamped about 19:46 hours.
LTM,

Bruce
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« Last Edit: July 10, 2010, 05:36:22 PM by Bruce Thomas »
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Bill Lloyd

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2010, 07:46:53 AM »

Not curious.  Totally bogus.  They were never there.

Niku is remote but it's not inaccessible. If I had to guess, I'd say that someone drops by on the average of once a year.  Because neither of the passages into the lagoon is navigable, virtually everyone who visits the island (except TIGHAR) limits their activities to the area near the landing channel.  To get to other parts of the island requires either walking a small boat through Tatiman Passage at high tide or making a long, hot hike along the shoreline.
I stumbled across that site a year or so ago and it appeared to me to be fictitious. Just someone making a webpage with photographs and verbiage they have picked up online.  Are any of those photos from your collection?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2010, 02:31:48 PM »

Are any of those photos from your collection?

No, and none of them show anything on Niku.
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Thom Boughton

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2010, 10:30:17 PM »

Not curious.  Totally bogus.  They were never there.


Actually.....I would say that was patently obvious.  (Just the money and other logistics of getting there all by itself would preclude such things, I'd think. At least on that scale.)

Being new around here I'm not one to rabblerouse.  However, my tongue was firmly planted in my cheek as I posted that link.  As I said, I ran across that a few weeks back and had a bit of a chuckle over the whole concept of it.



Anyway...all of that aside and back on a serious note...

Other than the occasional academic biological excursion, does anyone visit Niku on any sort of regular basis?  I mean is there any sort of patrol or some such carried out by the Kiribati government?



....tb
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« Last Edit: July 10, 2010, 10:39:55 PM by Thom Boughton »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2010, 04:50:07 AM »

Other than the occasional academic biological excursion, does anyone visit Niku on any sort of regular basis?  I mean is there any sort of patrol or some such carried out by the Kiribati government?

No. In fact, one of the reasons Kiribati requires us to take along a Kiribati government representative (this time we had to bring two) at our expense is that it's the only way they get a chance to check on the island. 
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Mark Petersen

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2010, 12:48:09 PM »

Are any of those photos from your collection?

No, and none of them show anything on Niku.

You're right. Their photo purporting to show Niku through the stormclouds is obviously fake.  The photo shows a much more rugged coastline that has to be 100s of feet or more in elevation while Niku, from everything I've read, is barely above sea level.  The photo of the wreck that purports to show the Norwich City also doesn't match with other photos that I've seen of the wreck.  Here is a direct link to the faked photos:
http://www.outcastearth.com/assets/images/NIKUfirstsight.jpg
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Thom Boughton

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Re: Gardner / Nikumaroro Island - General Interest articles
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2010, 10:58:25 PM »

As promised, I collected a bunch of links describing other visits to Niku.  Initially it looked like it was many different trips but instead they all seem to be from a 2009 trip with the primary purpose of monitoring the health of coral reefs.  It looks like they also chartered the Naia.  Interesting reading for divers...
...........
New England Aquarium
http://pipa.neaq.org/2009/09/searching-for-invasive-species-on.php
.............


Interesting to note in this particular article there is (brief and only a passing) mention of a Niku cat population.


Any other expeditions (Tighar or otherwise) observe this?





....tb
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