231SD/0 St Peter & Paul Rocks June 17th 2015 by 285SD101 Marenga.
History of The Rocks…..
On April 20, 1511, a Portuguese Navy fleet composed of six caravels under the command of Captain Garcia de Noronha discovered the islets by accident while on their journey to India. While navigating in open sea at late night, the Saint Peter caravel, under the command of Captain Manuel de Castro Alcoforado, crashed against the islets. The crew was rescued by the Saint Paul caravel, forming the name given to the islets.
On the morning of February 16, 1832, the rocks were visited by Charles Darwin on the first leg of his voyage on HMS Beagle around the world. Darwin listed all the fauna he could find; noting that not a single plant or even a lichen could be found on the island. Darwin found two birds, a booby and a noddy, a large crab that stole the fish intended for baby birds, a fly that lived on the booby and a parasitic tick. He found a moth that lived on feathers, a beetle, a woodlouse that lived on dung, and numerous spiders that he thought lived on scavengers of the waterfowl. Darwin felt that these rocks represented how life first took hold on a newly formed outcrop. Darwin was correct in noting that, unusually, these small islands were not volcanic, but were instead formed by a geologic uplift. Darwin’s account formed the basis of a fictionalized episode in Patrick O’Brian’s historical novel HMS. Surprise, when the naturalist Stephen Maturin is briefly marooned and survives by drinking fouled rainwater and the blood of boobies. Another famous person to visit the rocks was Ernest Shackleton, on his last expedition to Antarctica (1921-1922).
In 1942, during World War II, the islets were declared to be part of the Federal Territory of Fernando de Noronha (which also included the Rocas Atoll).
In early 1960, the rocks served as the starting-point and terminus for the first submerged circumnavigation of the world by the American nuclear-powered submarine USS Triton.
On June 25, 1998, the Brazilian Navy inaugurated the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago Scientific Station (Portuguese: Estação Científica do Arquipélago de São Pedro e São Paulo; ECASPSP). The station is manned with four researchers, who are rotated in and out every 15 days. By maintaining permanent occupation of the archipelago, the Brazilian Navy extends Brazil’s Exclusive Economic Zone, territorial waters and airspace into the North Atlantic Ocean.
On June 5–6, 2006, an earthquake with a magnitude of above six on the Richter scale rocked the archipelago. The strong tidal surge following the earthquake caused the battery compartment to crash against the station’s outer wall, allowing sea water to flood the station. The four researchers who were on the archipelago took shelter in the lighthouse, while maintaining constant contact with the Brazilian Navy. A fishing vessel located nearby rescued the researchers, who were then transferred to a Brazilian Navy patrol boat. The incident caused considerable damage to the station and equipment. The station was repaired on September 9–11, 2006, and became operational shortly after.
In 2007, the Brazilian Navy started to build a new scientific station on the archipelago. Construction began on July 24, 2007, and was completed on June 25, 2008.The new station was built with seismic isolation, and is considerably larger and better equipped than the previous one.The station is composed of a main building – equipped with reverse osmosis salt water desalination system, photovoltaics system and satellite communications system; deposits and a mooring dock.
The Brazilian Navy also maintains a lighthouse on the archipelago, (ARLHS: SPP-001), built in 1995 to replace a previous one from 1930.
Air France Flight 447
On June 1, 2009, Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330-200 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris was reported missing and is presumed to have crashed off the coast of Fernando de Noronha. Fragments from the aircraft were found near the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago.
The Saint Peter and Saint Paul Rocks are situated in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 km (62 mi) north of the Equator and are the only group of Brazilian oceanic islets in the Northern Hemisphere. The nearest point in the Brazilian coast, is Cabo do Calcanhar, Rio Grande do Norte, approximately 1,010 kilometers (630 mi) from the archipelago. The total emerged area is about 4.2 acres (1.7 ha) and the maximum land elevation is 18 m (59 ft), on Nordeste Island. The archipelago is composed of several rocks, five small rocky islets and four larger islets:Belmonte Islet: 5,380 square meters (57,900 sq ft)
Challenger Islet (also known as São Paulo): 3,000 square meters (32,000 sq ft)
Nordeste Islet (also known as São Pedro): 1,440 square meters (15,500 sq ft)
Cabral Islet: 1,170 square meters (12,600 sq ft)
South Islet: 943 square meters (10,150 sq ft).
Their base is over 3,650 meters (11,980 ft) below sea level.None of the islets has a permanent fresh water supply available.Biology
Only the largest of the islets, Belmonte, is vegetated with mosses and grasses. The other rocks are mostly barren, except for some sea algae and fungi that can tolerate the salt spray. The rocks are inhabited by seabirds, including the brown booby (Sula leucogaster), brown noddy (Anous stolidus), and black noddy (Anous minutus), as well as crabs (Grapsus grapsus), insects and spiders.