Clipperton Journal: The Daily Record of Life on a Pacific Atoll, Part 3

Lance Milbrand
August 29, 2003

View a 'castaway' Photo Gallery by Lance Milbrand: Go>>

April 22, Tuesday, Day 14: I write this as my generator charges my Canon battery. I though that I would have two chargers but found out that one does not work… The day started great with bird behaviors, fights, right outside my tent. I decided to call one bird that lives right next to my tent "Frank", because it has a loud cluck. Frank got the worst of it. He was pierced in the cheek and bill by his neighbor's sharp beak. The birds are super territorial and neighbors often fight over small infractions.

I shot lots of pretty chick and parent "red footed booby" in the main grove. They are the most approachable booby unless they have really small chicks, then they cluck and ask you to back away.

After lunch I went to the furthest south on the atoll that I could go. There was a wide sandy beach, real sand, and I did not expect that. I noticed some huge crab holes in the sand with football-size mounds next to their holes. These crabs must be early morning or evening critters.

I walked from the palm grove of about 30 trees towards the rock. It was about a three-hour walk with stops to notice wildlife and debris. I saw one big drum of oil, a full size wave runner (not working), a boat mast along the shoreline, steel ribs from a previous shipwreck, and a dead sea turtle caught in plastic debris.

I found some interesting plastic, a black bison, a man riding a tractor, a Volkswagen bug, several jeep bodies, and the large left leg of a baby doll. I also found some interesting glass, including Clorox bottles.

I like the south west end of the atoll— a true smell of the sea where things wash up with the tide day after day.

When I returned to camp and was walking towards the tent, I found an old pink bottle. This type of glass was leftover from the guano miners and is over 100 years old.

April 23, Wednesday, Day 15: Strong wind and a short rain lasted less than five minutes and I netted a few gallons of water. Another rain came and I caught 16 glasses of drinking water. I put my waterproof cases in the shape of a U and used a piece of plywood from the beach angled at 45 degrees and then covered everything in a big black plastic tarp. In effect, I made a small bathtub.

Everything was set up on top of the concrete slab and the birds seemed to enjoy the activity. By now, hundreds of birds had built nests near my camp and were becoming accustomed to my presence.

Way across the lagoon, I saw from base camp that my tarp over at the rock had fallen down. I made a skiff trip over there and found out that everything was OK; it just collapsed after the big winds. I set up a lot of gear at base camp and then made it back over to the rock by 5:00 p.m.

Continued on Next Page >>


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