NEWS UPDATE by KK7L —
Hey gang, I wanted to provide an update and answer some questions which have come via e-mail.
The cruise departs Nadi, Fiji on June 24, 2017 — returning to Nadi on July 12th with one-day stops at Rotuma and Futuna on the way out and back. The ship will be at Nikumaroro for eight days, so with setup and takedown we will be six, maybe seven days QRV at T31.
Yes, I know that for $9k / person a team of a dozen guys could instead hire a small boat to go somewhere else and operate longer. But seriously folks, how often does a real-deal air conditioned cruise ship with fabulous food and a fully-stocked diving setup go to a top 17 DXCC and anchor for over one week?
I was able to get “C” deck staterooms for us, adjacent the lounge. Its twin-share so you will have a roommate (or additional 50% surcharge to have it to yourself). That being said, due to its ecologically sensitive location, the Kiribati government has limited the landing permit to 70 persons and the M. V. Reef Endeavour has 64 rooms. So it’s not going to be crowded at all.
Speaking of permits, while Kiribati has approved overnighting on the island we are still awaiting other permissions (use of generators, setting up antennas, etc.). And of course, until we have a team I haven’t yet applied for the T31 license – which I know can be a lengthy and possibly expensive process. So this isn’t a done deal yet.
As for team qualifications, apart from a valid amateur license & HF skills (whatever modes you prefer) all I ask is that you be someone who gets along well with others and have the attitude that this is primarily going to be a fun cruise to a pristine island & reef in the remote Pacific: We aren’t seeking sponsorships, excessive OQRS fees, nor are we trying to break any QSO records here. It’s completely up to you if you want to spend more time snorkeling, diving, and exploring the island vs. working pileups. You must be fit enough to disembark the tender boats onto slippery reefs, not wilt in the heat, and commit to assist with gear setup and takedown.
I will go to Fiji well in advance to prepare the generators, gas tanks, tents, tables, chairs, and and possibly a bunch of coax. Between the four of us we will decide what rigs, amps and antennas to pack.
Keep the e-mails coming!
MARCH 24 — I’m looking for a few skilled HF operators to join me on a cruise to Central Kiribati (T31 / OC-043) for a full week on Nikumaroro Island. We would sail on the Reef Endeavour from Fiji along with the TIGHAR organization which has been searching to learn where Amelia Earhart might have met her demise.
I’m in touch with the organizers and they are OK with having a group set up tents, tables and antennas for a DXpedition. They will be providing transportation back and forth from the island to the cruise ship twice a day, so operators can eat and sleep on the ship if desired. I cruised on this ship in Fiji and know the diving facilities and staff are first-rate. Nikumaroro is a remote uninhabited island in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area so this would also provide diving experiences of a lifetime. And for non-divers they have a nice glass bottom boat too.
And, if these guys are right about Amelia ditching on Nikumaroro and find her aircraft off the reef, well, wouldn’t it be cool to be there?
Of course, Dom’s (3Z9DX) recent T31 activation on Kanton Island took a bite out of demand for this rare DXCC, yet it still remains #17 on the Clublog global most wanted list. I’m considering going but need a few more operators to make the logistics work out in getting all of the gear to Fiji we would need to make a serious effort. A Rotuma activation (Clublog #55) might also be possible by flying up there in advance and having the ship pick us up on the way to Nikumaroro (it stops briefly at Rotuma on the way up and at Futuna on the way back).
It’s about $2k r/t to Fiji and $9k for the cruise.
Look me up on QRZ.com and send an e-mail if you are interested.
73 & stuff,
John Mitton (KK7L)