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Author Topic: Speculating about Camp Zero  (Read 69575 times)

Bruce Thomas

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2012, 02:59:54 PM »

Not a boiler, but a large steel tank from the NC got washed down the reef flat and through the channel ending up along the shore of the lagoon near Kanawa point.  This thing floated in, it wasn't somehow carried across the island by over wash.

See photos below.

Andrew

I stand corrected ... it's a tank, not a boiler, that's seen on the shore of the lagoon ... just after 19:00 in the Aerial Tour of Nikumaroro video.
LTM,

Bruce
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #46 on: June 28, 2012, 03:00:09 PM »

Interesting find, Richie

Talking with a few of the Nikumaroro Veterans, the impression has been that the Arundel buildings were farther up the Nutiran shoreline.  We found the remains of some old structures just a bit south of the NC wreck, and inland about 50 meters - see the screen shot.  The assumption was that they could be the remains of the Arundel buildings based upon the building materials, but I don't think we've ever actually established that.  Could have been colonial era buildings, we just don't know for sure.

This area is somewhat coincident with the NC survivors camp, and the NZ survey camp, so there is a lot of overlap it would seem.

That doesn't rule out Arundel buildings down on the N side of the lagoon passage as Richie indicates.  I spent some time in that area and did not see anything that look like the remains of shacks, but we did see ruins further N.

Andrew
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 03:10:30 PM by Andrew M McKenna »
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richie conroy

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #47 on: June 28, 2012, 03:27:52 PM »

also to note i have just been reading through the Eric Bevington journal wed 13th Oct 1937

he states they come across clean and dry whale bones on shore side, Could this have been a food source for Amelia and Fred ?

also to note in the thur 14th oct 1937 entry half way down there is mention of sign's of recent habitation ?

 http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Bevington_Diary.html
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richie conroy

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #48 on: June 28, 2012, 04:01:23 PM »

in a interview with Lt. John O' Lambrecht. will find link

He stated in over flight he saw " sign's of recent habitation and markers in the area" i have marked out in red circle

i wonder if they could have crossed the lagoon entrance to Ritiati, and were unable due to rising tide get back to Norwich city wreck

The reason for heading that way is, if they worked out that pieces of wreckage off the Norwich city drifted that way they may have come across washed up items, i.e broken boxes of unopened wine or washed up tin's of food etc

just thinking allowed  :)
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« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 04:48:16 PM by richie conroy »
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richie conroy

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #49 on: June 28, 2012, 04:06:41 PM »

Interesting find, Richie

Talking with a few of the Nikumaroro Veterans, the impression has been that the Arundel buildings were farther up the Nutiran shoreline.  We found the remains of some old structures just a bit south of the NC wreck, and inland about 50 meters - see the screen shot.  The assumption was that they could be the remains of the Arundel buildings based upon the building materials, but I don't think we've ever actually established that.  Could have been colonial era buildings, we just don't know for sure.

This area is somewhat coincident with the NC survivors camp, and the NZ survey camp, so there is a lot of overlap it would seem.

That doesn't rule out Arundel buildings down on the N side of the lagoon passage as Richie indicates.  I spent some time in that area and did not see anything that look like the remains of shacks, but we did see ruins further N.

Andrew

Hi Andrew

Do u know the area of the small, lake, pond, pool, what ever it was

that is mentioned in Norwich City reports ?
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #50 on: June 28, 2012, 04:27:12 PM »

I think we need to re-define Camp Zero

At the start of this thread, Marty describes it this way:

"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."

Camp Zero in my mind is the first place AE and FN drag themselves ashore, along with whatever they felt was important enough to get ashore with them. 

They want to stay as near to the Electra as possible since they are periodically heading out there to either gather up another load, or try to talk on the radio.  With the body of post loss signals, this would mean they might have used Camp Zero for a few days, maybe three to five days.  Keep in mind that the post loss signals are mostly at night, so we're not getting much sleep overnight, and with the heat during the day, daytime is a good time to lie low and rest up.

During this time, there is probably a little exploring done when not resting, just as the NC survivors tried to explore, but I think that we all agree that you wouldn't want to be too far away from the Electra knowing that there was likely a search on, and with the Electra being the thing that will be seen, psychologically you want to be nearby when the searchers arrive.

Then on Day 5/6, the Electra disappears, perhaps battered about a bit by the rising tide, then floated off the reef and into the deep.  Your reason for hanging out at Camp Zero just disappeared, so its time to seek better accommodations.

Exploring down the beach turns up the Arundel buildings and / or the NC survivors cache, which you would make use of, so you set up Camp One.  Water is now the big issue, maybe the NC cache has water, or maybe you've found the brackish source the NC survivors found, but enough to keep you from dying.  You could be gathering water back there one morning when suddenly there are three airplanes overhead who pass on by, circle and zoom a bit over some place you are not, and then fly on just as you come running out of the trees waving your arms off. 

Two days later you shake off your depression over being so close yet so far, and decide that its time to pull up your shorts and figure out how to live on this island as it appears you are going to be there for a while.  That means doing some serious exploring to see what assets you've got to work with.  So you load up with a few essentials such as some of that yummy brackish water you've been boiling, carefully funneled into a nice Benedictine bottle, some essentials in the sextant box - signal mirror / compact and sun protection ointments, put on your stout walking shoes, and head out.

Camp 2 could be the bivouac site near Kanawa Point.  Camp 3, who knows.  Camp 7 is at the 7 site of course, where you come across turtle tracks on the beach, so you hang out there to catch one, butchering it with the crude tools you have, and cooking it in a fire.  Seems like a pretty nice place to hang out, birds are easy to catch, crabs are available, clams nearby, Buka forest is cool when the breeze blows.  About as nice as any place on the island, and certainly nicer than Nutiran which was really hot.  Nice enough that you end up going back to Camp 2 where your stuff is stored, and bringing whatever items you fancy down to the 7 site.

Who knows, the 7 site may not even be the final camp site, but it does have several of the ingredients as described by Gallagher, so it is an intriguing place, only compounded by the odd stuff we've found there.

Anyway, a bunch of speculation, but my point is that if we're going to talk about Camp Zero, I think we should focus only on the very first camp up where the airplane may have been.  That is where the useless items might have been abandoned once the Electra went over the edge.

Andrew
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 04:31:54 PM by Andrew M McKenna »
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richie conroy

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #51 on: June 28, 2012, 05:03:03 PM »

Andrew

As you Have been on the reef, Based on were we speculate the Electra come to rest, following the safest path to the shore ?

what path is most likely

X marks the spot, 3 arrows 3 routes to shore, What direction in your experience would be safest way.

in my opinion you would set up camp close to safest path back to Electra ?

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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #52 on: June 29, 2012, 01:04:22 AM »

Chris

I don't think the Arundel camp would be so easy to spot from the air, nor from the landing spot.  AE would have been pretty focused on getting the aircraft safely back on the ground, not searching stuff in the trees.  My opinion only, Gary's mileage may vary.  He has REALLY good eyes.  :-)

If the Arundel building was 50 yards into the bush, it would also be very hard to see from the beach.  There is typically a wall of Scaevlola right along the beach that is hard to see and walk through, but inside a bit there often are clearer areas, and you can see this on the Sat photo.  It is in these semi cleared areas that it is easier to build stuff and I think that is why the Arundel building, the NZ camp, and the NC survivor's Camp #2 (remember they moved from their Camp Zero to a new spot 2 days after the grounding) were built inland a tad in the shade around the edges of these clearings.  Also offers some protection from the bad weather.

So I'm imagining that after some exploring, AE / FN finds what looks like a trail or path through the scaevola and follows it from the beach back into the bush only to find the Arundel buildings in the clearing behind.



Richie

Crossing the reef flat is usually driven by two principles

1 as direct as possible to minimize the distance and therefore the risk

2 any way you can - meaning you have do pick and choose your route based upon what you encounter - bumps, holes, slippery stuff, cracks, whatever.  Often it is easier to go through the big holes as the footing is better in the bottom than around.  If the tide is up a bit, it can be easier to semi swim in shallow water rather than try to walk.

So to answer your question, if my goal is to get ashore and I'm not headed anywhere else afterwards, like back to the village, I'd take the most direct route, i.e. the middle arrow.  Could be that a better path is found during subsequent trips, but I don't think the variation would be enough to move camp.

It is possible to cross the Tatiaman passage.  It is easiest to do so at low tide when the water is about waist high, but it has been done at high tide, when the water gets about chest high.  There are times in between high and low tide when the current is running strongly into or out of the lagoon, and those times would be the most dangerous to try.  If you don't like what you see, just wait a few hours, the calm waters found during high or low tide are always only 6 hours away.

Yes, the sharks do come to investigate, and it is un-nerving at first, but you can dissuade them by being aggressive back at them.  They prefer easy pickin's that don't fight back.  After the first time you'd prepare yourself with a long stick or center part of a palm frond (or metal detector) to slap the water with as they approach.  If you haven't seen Mark Smith's video on YouTube, you should.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PacL4n2Oy4c&feature=plcp  See how they turn and run the second time.

I hope that helps.

Andrew

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Thom Boughton

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #53 on: June 29, 2012, 01:28:24 AM »


....During this time, there is probably a little exploring done when not resting, just as the NC survivors tried to explore, but I think that we all agree that you wouldn't want to be too far away from the Electra knowing that there was likely a search on, and with the Electra being the thing that will be seen, psychologically you want to be nearby when the searchers arrive......

I'd pretty much go along everything ...with one slight corollary. 

This is speculation (and I am often quite wet on such things), but I might offer that although they were expecting a Search-and-Rescue operation they may very well have presumed that operation to be solely in the form of ships, launches, and landing parties.  There were precious few aircraft of any sort in that part of the world at that time. It doesn't seem inconceivable that, as such, (unless they knew of an aircraft carrier in the neighbourhood) they felt that they could spend great amounts of time in the bush because any ship or landing party sighted would be around much longer than it would take to crawl out of the scrub to meet it.

I wonder if the appearance of aircraft overhead was not just a huge surprise.  After all, the whole enterprise seems to have been fraught with miscalculation and error ....beginning right at the takeoff roll at Lae.  The Gods hadn't smiled on them once.



tb


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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #54 on: June 29, 2012, 03:21:04 AM »

Yeah, you could be right about straying farther, and yes I do think the aerial search would have caught them by surprise.

I still think that as long as the Electra was there, they would have not strayed too far.  With being up at night trying to broadcast, run the engines, etc, and the fact that sleeping in the open is not easy - read the NC survivors story about trying to sleep the first few nights - they would have been pretty pooped during the first week.  At least the big crabs aren't as active in the heat of the day.  I imagine them catching up on their sleep during the day the first week.

All speculation, could have, would have.

amck
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #55 on: June 29, 2012, 06:36:25 AM »

although they were expecting a Search-and-Rescue operation they may very well have presumed that operation to be solely in the form of ships, launches, and landing parties.  There were precious few aircraft of any sort in that part of the world at that time.

The appearance of aircraft overhead may well have come as a completes surprise

Very good point Thom and, Not sure if it has been discussed before.

WE are all assuming that they expected to be rescued by being seen by SAR planes.
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #56 on: June 29, 2012, 07:26:32 AM »

This has been a very interesting discussion. I n fact-I think there has been enough 'speculation' about camp Zero, and the possibility of maybe some artifacts, that an archaeological survey is indicated. 7 site is very revealing, but I think kknowing about the first few days on the island is important. We feel strongly abou the radio transmissions the first few nights, so making a camp near the electra is reasonable. Whether its near the shoreline, or back in the trees, it IS the place where AE was, at least for a time. Granted, winds, tides, storms, overwash, etc, are all working against us in our search of this area, but if we can find 1 item, it warrants further investigation.
And, shows we are on the right track as far as 'proving' AE was there.
Thoughts?
Tom
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #57 on: June 29, 2012, 07:45:12 AM »

I think that the idea of looking for Camp Zero has risen in the priority list of things we would like to do there next time we get out there.

We've not done a really concentrated search up that far, although part of that area seems to have been covered in 1999.

andrew
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Thom Boughton

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #58 on: June 29, 2012, 07:47:03 PM »

Yeah, you could be right about straying farther, and yes I do think the aerial search would have caught them by surprise.

I still think that as long as the Electra was there, they would have not strayed too far.  With being up at night trying to broadcast, run the engines, etc, and the fact that sleeping in the open is not easy - read the NC survivors story about trying to sleep the first few nights - they would have been pretty pooped during the first week.  At least the big crabs aren't as active in the heat of the day.  I imagine them catching up on their sleep during the day the first week.

All speculation, could have, would have.

amck


There is the other side to that coin....and I guess that was essentially my point.  Although they wouldn't stray far on a permanent basis, as long as there was a big red and silver airplane sitting in the open on the reef it couldn't help but catch the attention of a search.  As such, they could safely delve deeper into the bush knowing that big shining beacon was there. It certainly would be seen long before two people running about and waving their arms.

Of course, all of this is moot anyway as the big shiny beacon on the reef had become a big shiny anchor at the bottom of the deep by the time help arrived.  My guess though is that they still thought they'd have upward of a half hour to meet that help...instead of a couple minutes. If so, that assumption capped off every other bit of bad luck they'd had that week and they paid the price for it.

Who knows, perhaps this bit of bad luck is what actually drove them to the Seven Site.  With the least obstructed view in all directions.....perhaps, among everything else, they were making sure they didn't make the same mistake twice?  Save of course they never got another chance.

As you said.....it's all idle pie-in-the-sky speculation.


Unfortunately, I have to wonder about any real chance of success in finding Camp Zero. Anything left behind in the move to the Seven Site would have been picked over first by Bevington and Co., and the rest by 25-odd years of colonials.....it being so close to their own respective camps. (Of course, this all assumes we are correct as to the location of the landing site....and I think we are.)  Any fire features and etc would have been similarly absorbed...or at the very least trodden over to the point of obliteration.  Any piece or part of Camp Zero found would be compleatly unidentifiable as uniquely Camp Zero (unless it happens to be Freds' captains' license or some such.)

That has been the beauty of our luck at the Seven Site.  It's apparently the one part of the island that nobody else ever had much interest in.

Not at all saying that the effort shouldn't be made....only that it seems the longest of long shots.  But hey...if we're going to take a swing, we might as well swing for the bleachers.




tb


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John Ousterhout

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Re: Speculating about Camp Zero
« Reply #59 on: June 29, 2012, 09:06:26 PM »

Thom sez "... My guess though is that they still thought they'd have upward of a half hour to meet that help...instead of a couple minutes."
Your post brings to my mind that, assuming AE/FN had transmitted from the reef, that the arrival of "help" overhead would have signaled to them that their transmissions had been detected and DF'd to their current location.  In other words, they THOUGHT THEY HAD BEEN FOUND.  They might not have considered that the aircraft flying overhead were conducting a broad area search, rather than a search of only those areas the Pan Am radio operators triangulated.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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