Thursday 17 July 2014

Montebello’s - Trimouille Island

Anchored off Main Bay, Trimouille Is.

Next bay along.

We motorsailed/sailed the 5 miles to one of the bomb site islands, Trimouille, as the wind wasn’t entirely favourable and anchored 200m off “Main Beach” in 5m. This was the site of the second detonation, and 600m offshore was the first, obliterating the warship HMS Plym. Of course, true to form, we (ok, I, since I’m responsible for the navigating) almost sailed unwittingly over the top of the wreckage. Didn’t hit anything, maybe being near high tide helped, though I’d think the “wreckage” would more resemble a pancake considering.. There are signs all over the island warning of radiation and only short visits, no more than one hour being recommended. I read a story of school children visiting here armed with geiger counters, the amount of radiation at the bomb site was reportedly equivalent to that of an average wristwatch. It is almost 60 years since the blast after all. As expected, the island was littered by debris from the ship, having landed here via the stratosphere. Apparently, the radiation lingers longest in the steel, so it is not recommended to souvenir any pieces, nor any part of the island. Amazing what a threat of radiation does to discourage souvenir hunters, the debris is still there. Some of it a mile away from the bomb site.

Chunks of metal like this everywhere, from HMS Plym.

Next day we set out to find ground zero, I’d seen pictures of an obelisk landmark before, and hiked inland to find the trail Kliff (from Power Ready Spirit II) said to have seen on google earth. Well, no trail to be found, but we did find heaps more bits of HMS Plym and a concrete bunker, with breathing chimneys, periscope tubes and a rear entrance, only 1km from ground zero. Churchill must have wanted some unlucky saps are to be encased in there during the blast..

Susie doing her "get me out of here" grin at ground zero.

We found the ground zero obelisk, took the obligatory pictures, then had lunch on the beach. The hike back was possible down the coast over the rocky shore, where the cliffs had collapsed into rubble, presumable, no definitely, from the first blast on HMS Plym, as cliffs on other islands have their overhangs and no rubble. The wild life, as usual, was plentiful. Stingrays and a shark plus a couple “transitional” types, shark body with stingray type wings on the head. Isn’t evolution amazing? We covered almost 10km that day and earned a good night’s sleep.

Bits of a plane in the middle of the island.
Big end from a ship's diesel?
Collapsed cliffs

Concrete bunker 900m from ground zero, with rear entrance now
full of sand.
Shark lagoon cruising.

Deck structure from HMS Plym. Landed almost 2km
from the blast site.

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