Saturday, February 1, 2014

Evanston: remote

        In THE GUARDIAN this morning I read of a man perhaps adrift for sixteen months in a 24’/7.3 meter fiberglass power boat, the same size as GANNET but certainly less seaworthy.  
        Reportedly he stayed alive by catching fish and sea turtles with his bare hands.  A companion died at sea.  The article says the boat drifted 8,000 miles from Mexico to the Marshall Islands, but the Pacific Ocean isn’t that wide.  I measure the distance as about 5,000 miles.  The currents would easily have carried him that far in sixteen months; but initial information is sketchy and may not be accurate.  You can read the full story here.
        I am pleased to learn that remote is now defined as having only one telephone and, gasp, no Internet.  A place so isolated that only birds tweet.
        In the 1970s, it was possible to make overseas telephone calls from Papeete, Tahiti, only from the main Post Office and only at certain times of the day.    A roof top antenna was moved by hand to point variously at Australia, Asia and the United States.
        Even as late as 1978 it was not possible to make a telephone call from The Marquesas Islands, or else Suzanne and I would not have been divorced the first time.
        Twelve years later, in 1990, the French had put up satellites that enabled the locals to receive European television, including MTV, and the Polynesian kids were all trying to look like Michael Jackson, an equal opportunity image achievable by all sexes.
        When I was last there in 2009, the anchorage at Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, was covered by a wi-fi signal.
        So, no Internet = remote.