Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Helens Island, Gilligan's Island, and the Ballad of D.C. Snow-Free Island

An old but still nice image of a basically uninhabited tiny tropical island called Helen Reef (also called Helens Reef and "Hotsarihie" in the local language) that together with nearby Tobi Island ("Hatohobei" in the local language) form one of the 16 states of Palau. Helen Reef is located at 02°57′N 131°47′E in the western tropical Pacific Ocean.

There is a certain Gilligan's Island quality to this image.

The Gilligan's Island "title card" image from the opening and closing sequence used for most of the show's run. (There was a different one, I think, in the early seasons.)

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According to the non-sourced Wikipedia article, Helen Reef has a 0.03 square kilometer area and a population of ... drumroll ... 3, all of whom are on a marine ranger station. As for Tobi Island, it only has a population of 20 and a land area of 0.80 square kilometers. There is also something called Transit Reef (Pieraurou) that doesn't even really break the ocean surface -- and in fact may not even actually exist. These two or three islands collectively make up the Palauan State of State of Hatohobei.

By the way, the island featured in opening and closing sequences of most of the run of Gilligan's Island was actually Coconut Island (pictured above in Feb. 2006) in in Kāne'ohe Bay near Honolulu. Here is a picture of the island, access to which is limited as there is a University of Hawaii marine biology research facility on it.

There appear to be these two weird exceptionally tall trees on it -- I don't know much about tropical trees or vegetation -- that you can actually see in the title card that are still growing today (or at least were in 2006). I've circled them in yellow in the Feb. 2006 island aerial picture. The original image used for the show must have been circa 1965.

Here is the Gilligan's Island title card without the actual show title with image of Coconut Island (circa 1965) and the possible same two trees noted circled in yellow.

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So I intend to post a weather-related entry tonight discussing yesterday's familiar snow-bust, although the Capital Weather Gang has a nice albeit somewhat self-congratulatory overview (Jason Samenow just can't help himself) of what happened here in this entry. It was a partial snow bust, at least for the District of Columbia and environs. I'll try to post this entry late tonight after I go to the gym.


To the tune of The Ballad of Gilligan's Island:

"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a botched forecast / That started with endless talk of snow / From these stupid models / From these stupid models. / The temperature kept staying high, the dynamics messed up / But still we kept hoping for some D.C. snow / some D.C. snow!"

Sterling LWX CWA snowfall totals for Dec. 10, 2013. Click on image for larger version.

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Anyway, I need to get into work later this morning, although I am moving kind of slow today. I'm not feeling that well -- I may have a sinus headache or mild head cold of some sort.

As it is, I have a bit of a surplus of hours this current semi-monthly pay period from a large editing assignment I did at home on the 1st. This is the one way in which being a Federal contractor who is not actually onsite at the agency (but in the building next door), plus having an accommodating and friendly supervisor, is a big plus. Now I am a bit worried for what work I'll be doing in early 2014 but I'll worry about that later.

--Regulus

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