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Author Topic: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing  (Read 78908 times)

david alan atchason

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #60 on: May 23, 2011, 10:18:04 AM »

Anybody that has ever been a teen age driver knows these unpredictable variations. I think I can declare we will never know if Fred was damaged and the plane wasn't or vice versa. Even finding the plane wreckage would not likely answer that question.  I just enjoy pondering scenarios that are at least possible, and I have to learn more about aviation to do that. So sometimes my questions may be dumb. Then I can use this knowledge to confuse and bore my friends.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #61 on: May 23, 2011, 12:07:57 PM »

Concerning the ground loop idea, do the spurs in the reef run in such a way that the right wheel would have to have skipped over a gap for the left one to be the only one caught?
The spurs and grooves are irregular but do not occur on the portion of the reef that I would consider smooth and dry enough to be "landable."  If the plane did drop a wheel into a groove I think it happened later as a consequence of wave action.

 I'm assuming a landing toward the Norwich City with Niku to port and ocean to starboard.

Given the prevailing easterly wind, I think a landing to the north (over the shipwreck) is more likely - but we'll probably never know.
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Don Dollinger

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #62 on: May 23, 2011, 03:16:41 PM »

Quote
So sometimes my questions may be dumb.

Only dumb question is the one not asked...

LTM,

Don
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david alan atchason

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #63 on: May 31, 2011, 10:43:06 PM »

I think on this forum I once speculated that the Norwich City was the only shipwreck on the Phoenix Islands, but it seems I was wrong. This article on Hull Island states the "Makoa" was wrecked there in May 1937 and was still visible in 1938. I don't see in Ric's book where Lambrecht the search pilot mentioned this. I don't see any connection to Amelia in this, it's just a curiosity. Maybe the Makoa was just a 50 ft. powerboat. I also see where the trepangers visited for a while. Why couldn't trepangers visit Gardner occasionally? If Hull has sea cucumbers, wouldn't Gardner have them also? Would the trepangers throw up some crude shacks while they were on Gardner? Make "markers" as Lambrecht later said? I'm just questioning the assumption that no one visited Gardner around the time Amelia disappeared.
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david alan atchason

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #64 on: May 31, 2011, 10:56:58 PM »

The trepangers are in a different article. This one. Sorry.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #65 on: June 01, 2011, 06:32:41 AM »

I also see where the trepangers visited for a while. Why couldn't trepangers visit Gardner occasionally?

I don't know where Wikipedia article got the idea that "The island was briefly reoccupied between 2001 and 2004 by trepangers from the Gilbert Islands supported by a patrol boat of the Kiribati Navy."  That "occupation" was an abortive attempt by the Republic of Kiribati to establish a commercial coconut (copra) operation on Hull (Orona) by recruiting young, unmarried people from Kiribati who would agree to work on Orona for two years. It didn't work out. BTW, there is no Kiribati Navy.

It is, of course, possible that some unknown person or persons visited Gardner around the time Earhart disappeared but if they were Pacific Islanders "trepanging" or hunting turtles or just sight-seeing, they were in violation of a British Colonial Service ban on inter-islnd canoe travel.
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #66 on: June 01, 2011, 07:34:42 AM »

I also see where the trepangers visited for a while. Why couldn't trepangers visit Gardner occasionally?

I don't know where Wikipedia article got the idea that "The island was briefly reoccupied between 2001 and 2004 by trepangers from the Gilbert Islands supported by a patrol boat of the Kiribati Navy."  That "occupation" was an abortive attempt by the Republic of Kiribati to establish a commercial coconut (copra) operation on Hull (Orona) by recruiting young, unmarried people from Kiribati who would agree to work on Orona for two years. It didn't work out. BTW, there is no Kiribati Navy.

It is, of course, possible that some unknown person or persons visited Gardner around the time Earhart disappeared but if they were Pacific Islanders "trepanging" or hunting turtles or just sight-seeing, they were in violation of a British Colonial Service ban on inter-islnd canoe travel.
The Wikipedia article was updated 13 November 2008 by someone with the Wikipedia ID of "Phinn" to insert that information about the trepangers and the "Kiribati Navy."  How surprised I was to discover that the footnote identified the source of the information to be "News from the LinNix in Kiribati," with a link to a URL on TIGHAR's website!  Because of the subsequent reorganization of the TIGHAR website, it took a few minutes to track down the new URL for this item, a Forum entry dated 6/20/01 by a forumite identified as "Christian D."  The sentence that "Phinn" latched onto weakly states, "Apparently the patrol boat of the Kiribati Navy supports them."  That's how easy it is to establish a "fact" via Wikipedia!
LTM,

Bruce
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« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 08:57:17 AM by Bruce Thomas »
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david alan atchason

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #67 on: June 01, 2011, 08:32:00 AM »

Quote
they were in violation of a British Colonial Service ban on inter-islnd canoe travel.
Did the trepangers use canoes? Does that mean if you had a big sailboat and you weren't an islander you could in effect do what you pleased? How did the British patrol these Phoenix islands in those days?
While I'm at it, (asking whimsical, irrelevant questions) why did someone blast another channel through the reef on Niku in 1963 as the recent maps on this forum indicate?
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #68 on: June 01, 2011, 08:51:39 AM »

... why did someone blast another channel through the reef on Niku in 1963 as the recent maps on this forum indicate?

Cf. "The landing channel." I don't think we have contemporaneous accounts of the creation of the landing channel.  People speculate that the British created it to make the evacuation of the island easier.
LTM,

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david alan atchason

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #69 on: June 01, 2011, 09:47:36 AM »

Quote
People speculate that the British created it to make the evacuation of the island easier.
I was puzzled before, now I am puzzled on a new, higher level. Is it possible the channel was there long before 1963 and no one was interested in the least? That someone in recent decades opined that possibility (blasted in 1963) and that somehow became "fact"? If it was always there, even before J. T. Arundel, that would be another mystery. Speaking of which, according to Wikipedia, that company was never profitable in general, so to picture Hull Island as a bonanza for the investors is probably a misconception. Even in 1937. So the reason why they left Niku alone may not be as clear cut as the general assumption about dryness is, I think. Yes, I know, it's hard to connect the channel "issue" with Amelia.
For what it's worth, I found a new book, "Islanders" by Nicholas Thomas, that gives some background of the intrigue and chaos of the Pacific Islands in the 19th century. It sheds no light on Amelia's plight, though. Just good background reading.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #70 on: June 01, 2011, 11:14:41 AM »

... Is it possible the channel was there long before 1963 and no one was interested in the least?

It was not there when the surveys were done in the 1930s.

Quote
That someone in recent decades opined that possibility (blasted in 1963) and that somehow became "fact"?

That the channel has been blasted out is a demonstrable fact.  The exact date and motivation for the blasting is what is uncertain.  TIGHAR has never said that it knows with certainty the agents, date, and motivation of the excavation.  

Quote
If it was always there, even before J. T. Arundel, that would be another mystery.

Arundel began work in the Phoenix group in 1881.
 The channel did not exist then or in the 1930s.

Quote
Speaking of which, according to Wikipedia, that company was never profitable in general, so to picture Hull Island as a bonanza for the investors is probably a misconception.

I'm not conscious of the profitability of Arundel's operations being part of the Niku Hypothesis.  Reading between the lines, the fact that the coconut plantations on Niku were abandoned by the 1930s suggests that it was not a profitable operation.

Quote
So the reason why they left Niku alone may not be as clear cut as the general assumption about dryness is, I think.

We that the colony was abandoned in 1963 because of a long drought:

During the same period, however, a lengthy and destructive drought caused the belief to grow among the Phoenix colonists that the colony was a failure. Knudson describes the course of events from the perspective of the Manra colonists:

"It appears that this lengthy (drought) crisis prompted the unimane of Sydney Island to request the government to move them elsewhere. The request was not a unanimous one. There was considerable discussion of the matter, with some of the elders agreeing and some disagreeing. The young men appear not to have been in favor of moving. Those I talked to in the Solomons said they enjoyed the dry climate and felt that there was always sufficient food.

As the drought continued the elders gradually came to agree among themselves that the island was not permanently habitable. Finally in the early 1950s they sent a deputation to Tarawa. Convinced that Sydney Island had been the hardest hit by the droughts, and that there was little chance that conditions there could be much improved, the officers of the central administration determined to move the islanders elsewhere" (Knudson).

By the mid-1950s, relocation of the Manra colonists to the Solomons had begun, and by the early 1960s Orona and Nikumaroro were abandoned as well. The name Nikumaroro survives today as that of a village on Waghena Island in the Solomons, inhabited by ex-colonists and their descendants.


We know that the geography of the island does not provide long-lasting fresh water wells.

From the old Forum:

Date:         Tue, 8 Sep 1998 09:19:57 EDT
From:         Ted Whitmore
Subject:      Ground water on land adjacent to salt water

Ground water (fresh water you can dig for) on lands near salt water, especially islands surrounded by salt water, as Niku, is dependent upon rain water falling on the land.  The water soaking into the soil will hold a head pressure purely by the weight of the water contained in the soil and will hold back salt water intrusion below.  This water can be obtained by wells dug or driven into the soil deep enough to get to the water but too deep you may be back into salt water.

Florida is a good example of this phenomenon; rain falling on the sand ridge that basically forms the backbone of the peninsula of the state, pushes outward and keeps the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico from intruding into the underground aquifers or water system. In the past 50 years or so the increased demand for water due to our mushrooming population, especially in the coastal areas, has depleted the available fresh water, and the pressure thereof, in the coastal areas, forcing well drilling further and further inland to obtain non-saline water. This is  a very serious problem the state is facing.

The higher an island is above sea level and the better the water holding capacity of the soil, the better the chances for a good fresh water well.

Niku doesn't have any of these good qualities.  The elevation above sea level at the highest point is probably less than 6 meters (my guesstimate) giving little chance for much head pressure from rainwater.  The soil is about as porous as you can find, mostly broken-up coral, overlaying a coral reef substructure that undoubtedly has many salt water channels in it.  Thus the report that the best water found by the natives and/or Europeans was saline almost to the point of being undrinkable.

All of the vegetation on Niku, as well as other areas of the world immediately adjacent to salt water, must have salt water/salt spray tolerance to grow there.  Coconuts will grow very well so close to salt water they can't possibly have their roots in much of anything but saltwater.  Scaveola (Scaveola frutescens), according to Bob Brown's Forum Email of 9/7, "-- is used widely as an ornamental in the south Florida area and paricularly along the beaches where salt resistance is important."


The thought that the Niku castaway might have had trouble finding enough fresh water does not seem like a huge stretch of the imagination.
LTM,

           Marty
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david alan atchason

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #71 on: June 01, 2011, 12:57:39 PM »

Thanks, Marty. I know some of my topics are irrelevant to the Niku Hypotheses, but I am curious about the Pacific Islands in general. I just get a better picture in my mind of what the possibilities might have been if and when Amelia and Fred arrived there.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #72 on: June 01, 2011, 07:36:43 PM »

Did the trepangers use canoes?

There weren't any trepangers.

Does that mean if you had a big sailboat and you weren't an islander you could in effect do what you pleased?

Yes, and the comings and goings of the big sailboats in that part of the Pacific ( I can name for you if you like) were well recorded.

How did the British patrol these Phoenix islands in those days?

Nobody patrolled the Phoenix Islands.

While I'm at it, (asking whimsical, irrelevant questions) why did someone blast another channel through the reef on Niku in 1963 as the recent maps on this forum indicate?

We've never found a record of exactly who did it but because it was done at the time the colony was abandoned we presume that it was done to facilitate the evacuation.  Getting anything heavy off the island without a blasted channel would be extremely dangerous.
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david alan atchason

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Re: Was Fred Noonan injured in the Landing
« Reply #73 on: June 01, 2011, 09:50:15 PM »

I finally remembered where I got my ideas about stray boats landing on uninhabited islands in the Pacific. Without the authorities having any knowledge of these visits. Palmyra Island
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