Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book While You Can

About half the available cabins have been reserved for the June 17-July 3 2015 trip to Nikumaroro, sponsored by Betchart Expeditions and co-sponsored by TIGHAR, AAAS Travels, Sigma Xi Expeditions, and the Planetary Society.  So if you’re thinking of joining us, as the old saying goes, it’s about time to fish or cut bait.  For full information and to reserve, visit http://www.betchartexpeditions.com/aus-nz_amelia_earhart.htm.

What can you expect if you come along?  Well, with any luck a comfortable voyage from Viti Levu in Fiji via Tivua, Rotuma, and Funafuti to Nikumaroro, and back to Viti Levu via Wallis Island and Futuna, with about five days at Niku itself.  On Niku we plan to acquaint everyone with the archaeological remains of the colonial village whose residents very likely found Amelia Earhart’s earthly remains and salvaged parts from her Lockheed Electra.  We also plan to visit the Seven Site, where we think Earhart’s remains were actually found, and the Bivouac Site where a woman’s and man’s shoes turned up in 1991.  We’ll cruise the lagoon and view the Nutiran reef flat where we think the Electra landed.  Most importantly, we’ll do some systematic survey and artifact recording/recovery along the eroding shoreline of the colonial village – in my judgment the most likely place to find remnants of the Electra.  If you want “smoking gun” proof of Earhart’s landing on Nikumaroro, the eroding village shoreline is the most efficient place to look for it – if you can’t afford a systematic search of the Nutiran reef slope or the unexcavated parts of the Seven Site.  If you just want to contribute to the ongoing research, it’s a great place for that, too.

Meanwhile, plans are proceeding for a late 2014 deep-water search of the Nutiran reef slope using manned submersibles; obviously the results of this work may influence our plans for 2015.  And new data have emerged in Fiji that may throw light on the fate of the bones sent there from Nikumaroro in 1940 – the bones that may well have been Earhart’s.  We’re pursuing leads based on these new data, and there may be work to do in Fiji before or after we travel to Niku.

All this and exciting, engaging discussions with Ric Gillespie, other TIGHAR experts, and for what it’s worth yours truly, as well as non-TIGHAR authorities on the area’s history, culture, and environment.  Plus enjoying opportunities to snorkle some spectacular reefs, sun on pristine beaches, and wander the rainforest.    And (my personal fave) to enjoy a whole lot of beautiful blue Pacific.  Check out http://www.betchartexpeditions.com/aus-nz_amelia_earhart.htm while there’s still time.