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Old 06-29-2010, 07:38 PM   #1
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I have noticed that the new OpenCPN can deal with ENC charts, so I have downloaded the Pacific chart set, and tried to figure out where should I stop when en route to Japan (only 13 years and 3 month from now. I am thinking about staying in the northern trade wind belt.

Do anyone have any experience or information on these places?

Let's se each of the pieces of land visible on the map (meaning US territory):

- Johnston Atoll: former nuclear test facility with plutonium scattered around, chemical weapon storage and disposal facility, military airport. It seems to be unused now, but I would avoid the place for the next two centuries.

- Wake Atoll: access restricted, managed by US Air Force

- Palmyra Atoll: the only unorganized incorporated territory of US, owned by US Fish and Wildlife Service and some private owners. There is no current economic activity on the island. Should be an exceedingly good place. But it is nearly due south to HI at 005 52N, which should mean doldrums, and "either that or HI" or a big departure. Does one need a permit to enter?

- Kingman Reef: National Wildlife Refugee, closed to the public.

- Northern Mariana Islands: Lives on tourism and garment manufacture. Ratio of women:men is 100:76. The local rules specifically state that lawyers shoud wear shoes in court. Should not be a too bad place.

- 013 31.999 N 170 21.188 W: a doubtfully existing submerged rock.

- Wilder Shoal: It is actually a submerged shoal.

Not US territories:

Marshall Islands: Another atomic bomb test site "by far the most contaminated place in the world", two islands wiped out by H-bomb.

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Old 09-21-2010, 04:47 AM   #2
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1) You can't go to Johnston Atoll.

2) You can go to Wake but approval is necessary and unlikely. (Basically you can't go).

3) You can kind of go to Palmyra...kind of. Nature Conservancy runs part of it and it's open to visits, except you aren't allowed to do anything the greenies are against...like fishing. The majority of Palmyra is US Fish and Wildlife. You aren't allowed to go there at all. Better place to stop is Fanning (Tabueran) Island! This is one of the best stops you can make if you are willing to spend time to mingle with the I-Kiribati.

4) Kingman Reef...restricted area. Stay 3 miles away.

5) Mariana's...never been there because weather is bad. You can visit if you like typhoons.

6) Don't know about rocks not being there. I always go well around. I try not to verify if a rock is present.

7) Shoals are important to note in the middle of the ocean as are all other lesser depth areas. Much of the Pacific is over 10k feet deep. Go over something 500 feet deep and the wave action is terrible (deep ocean currents forced to the surface). I go around this stuff too.

8) Marshall Islands Enewetok and Bikini have been cleaned up. Rongelap is being resettled. Resort on Bikini and great diving. If you miss the Marshall Islands you will be missing a great time. I recommend Ebon, Aur, Likiep and Ailuk.

A`ohe `ulu e loa`a i ka pokole o ka lou.

No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short.
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:30 AM   #3
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If you can find out what sort of atomic weapons were let off in these places, and you can if you do enough digging, then that's useful.

An H bomb leaves behind a tiny tiny fraction of the radiation that fission explosions are responsible for. H bomb sites can be and frequently are rehabilitated.

Plutonium based weapons are at the other end of the scale. Change the "avoid the place for the next two centuries" to "avoid the place for the next two millennia" and you're getting closer to the truth. Cobalt salted weapons are an order of magnitude worse than that, although fortunately enough none have been detonated officially, and the only testing ever to come close was done on the Australian mainland, at Maralinga.

Underground testing is worse than atmospheric testing. Mostly this is because atmospheric testing is normally done at high altitudes, and the fallout disperses rather than settles, which means you're probably breathing it right now. Low level atmospheric testing is bad, but it was hardly ever done. 2 low level atmospheric explosion sites come to mind -- Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Low depth underground testing is especially bad as it can leave concentrated doses of radiactive substances sitting in rock fissures -- these fissures are often indetectable from the surface until an underground stream changes course, finds them, or there is seawater contamination into the rock beds, and then the whole lot can come rushing out.

The irony is that the worst of the USA's nuclear testing, from a radioactivity point of view, was done on land in the continental United States. Far more of it was done on islands of course, but the smaller number of tests in the USA were offset by the fact that the radioactive chemistry left behind was worse. You're safer at sea.

Nuclear explosions leave behind chemicals that are toxic not only due to their radioactivity but by their very nature. e.g. high levels of cobalt, arsenic, strontium, and mercury can often be found at nuclear testing sites. Even after the radioactive isotopes of these metals have decayed to relatively low levels of radioactivity, they still act as poisons to the nearby environment. Your fish with 3 eyeballs may not be due to Strontium 90 radioactivity, but overdoses of the relatively stable Strontium 88. Strontium substitutes for calcium, weakening bone structures, and becoming permanently resident in the body.
= New South Wales, Queensland,
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:28 PM   #4
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Operation Bravo was the biggest test for the USA. 15 megatons destroyed Bikini Atoll. The yield was actually twice what was expected. The shift in wind direction led to the contamination of other atolls that were inhabited.

A story from Likiep atoll. The US did not inform these islanders of the test. When the bomb exploded the islanders thought it was the end of the world with the sky catching fire. For several days the people were preparing to die and in great distress. Three days after the test a Navy ship arrived and sent ashore a team to measure the radiation. Of course they were wearing the protective suits and none of the party spoke Marshallese. The islanders then thought they were being invaded by aliens. Story told to me by Anutuk of Malon Island.
A`ohe `ulu e loa`a i ka pokole o ka lou.

No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short.
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