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Sat Dec 31, 2016, 03:26 PM

A fitting end to a shitty year

The Last Place To Experience 2016 Will Be An Abandoned Island Full Of Bird Poop

Nothing gold can stay. But if you want to squeeze just a little more out of 2016, we’ve got just the place for you to do it: Baker Island, a tiny, saucer-shaped atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Located halfway between Hawaii and Australia, Baker Island is one of only two named pieces of land in the world to fall within the time zone UTC-12:00. (The other is its neighbor, Howland Island.) This makes it the last place on Earth where each day—and thus each year—finally ends. Below is a brief guide to this prime New Year’s Eve location, where, surrounded by bird poop and boobies, 2016 will breathe its dying breath.

Baker Island is an atoll—an island made out of a jutting coral reef—about 1,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. It is not quite a mile square, and is, for the moment, completely uninhabited (by people, at least). Although it was certainly frequented by Polynesian sailors, its first “official” sighting was in 1818, by the occupants of the whaling ship Equator, and for a few decades after that it served mainly as a place to bury dead seamen. In 1855, it was sold to the American Guano Company, who set up camp there to harvest the plentiful mounds of bird poop, which one expert called the “finest he had seen.”

Attempts to make the island anything more than a giant bird poop repository—a would-be settlement in 1935, a military air base project in 1943—have mostly been stymied by the enormous number of birds that already live there. In 1974, the US gave up and declared Baker Island a National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
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At a slim 0.8 square miles, you’d think there wouldn’t be a lot of Baker Island to love—but what there is of the island packs a wallop. You can squelch around remnants of the guano trade—one 2006 travelogue describes a scraped-out basin beside several remaining “piles of low-grade guano.” Once that gets old, there’s an overgrown former airstrip, a decrepit radio tower, a lone cistern, and a crumbling day beacon that fills with shade-seeking hermit crabs during the hot days. The most stunning attraction, however, can’t be visited at all—like most atolls, Baker Island lies atop an enormous underwater volcano, which dates back to the Cretaceous era. Just because it hasn’t blown in a while doesn’t mean it won’t on New Year’s Eve—think of the fireworks!
Settlement remains on Baker Island, with radio towers in the distance.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-last-place-to-experience-2016-will-be-an-abandoned-island-full-of-bird-poop

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Reply A fitting end to a shitty year (Original post)
Warpy Dec 2016 OP
CaliforniaPeggy Dec 2016 #1
alarimer Dec 2016 #2
panader0 Dec 2016 #3

Response to Warpy (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 04:06 PM

1. Thank you for this post, my dear Warpy!

It sounds like a very interesting place........as long as you are prepared for the environment you'll find there.

But, with the oceans rising, I think it might be gone one of these days. No idea how long that might take!


Go visit while you still can!

Just don't slip in the guano!

Happy New Year, wherever you are!

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Response to Warpy (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 05:57 PM

2. 99 Percent Invisible did a podcast on the guano wars

Well, not wars so much but attempts by the US at cornering the market for fertilizer, which was important before they invented chemical fertilizer. In 1856, Congress passed the Guano Islands Act and US companies claimed 70 islands. Led to colonization of Puerto Rico and a weird legal fiction that continues to this day.

More at

http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/guano-mania/

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Response to Warpy (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 08:16 PM

3. "surrounded by bird poop and boobies"

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