60th Anniversary Nuclear Weapons testing at the Montebello Islands
Last week the team at Blue Lightning Charters were very fortunate to be part of the 60th anniversary of the Nuclear weapons testing at the Montebello Islands.
These islands mean so very much to us, providing us with the opportunity to do what we love in paradise, it was incredible for us to be a part of Montebello Islands history.
Operation Hurricane & Operation Mosaic
In 1952 & 1956 the British Military conducted three nuclear weapons tests at the Montebello Islands, these were known as Operation Hurricane and Operation Mosaic. The 1952 blast was conducted on HMS Plym off Trimoouille Island (part of the Montebello Islands Archipelago) to test the effects of a ship smuggled bomb. In 2016 we are recognizing the 60th anniversary of Operation Mosaic the 2nd and 3rd weapons tests. The first of the Operation Mosaic weapons, G1 was set off on 16 May 1956 of Trimouille Island. The 2nd Operation Mosaic weapon, G2 was set off on 19 June 1956 off Alpha Island.
The Survivors return
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of nuclear weapons testing at the Montebello Islands we welcomed a group of survivors and a team from the Today Tonight television program on board Blue Lighting. The Today Tonight crew covered the story and fight for justice for the survivors. The survivors of the Nuclear weapons testing at the Montebello Islands do not currently receive the same benefits as other war veterans because the weapons tests were by Australia’s allies.
This incredible group of survivors arrived at the jetty very early in the morning and we departed Dampier soon after. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, the sea was calm and there wasn’t a breath of wind. I will never forget the moment we caught sight of the first of the islands. Seeing the survivors faces as they lay eyes on the islands that changed their lives 60 years ago.
Arriving at the Montebello Islands
We arrived at the Blue Lightning Charters pontoon just after lunch. We were welcomed by Captain Chad, and his helpers for the charter Pete and Brendan. We helped the survivors settle into the pontoon. Before long our favourite “pets” Kodak and Fuji popped up for a visit.
Alpha Island & Trimouille Island
A few of us then took a ride on the boat to Alpha and Trimouille Islands to see where the plaque would be going for the commemorative service the following morning. Before long we headed back to the pontoon to watch the sun go down on a beautiful day in paradise. After a nice big feed we sat and listened as the survivors recounted their stories of the Montebello Islands. It was an emotional time for us all as the reality of the weapons testing really hit home for both Chad and I. For over 10 years we have been visiting these islands, exploring the wonder and paradise they have to offer. We have always been aware of the nuclear testing history of these incredible islands but hearing the stories first hand from these brave survivors brought this history to life.
Not another day in paradise
The following morning we awoke early to another glorious day in paradise. After breakfast at the pontoon we piled in the boats. We then headed to Trimouille Island to unveil the 60th anniversary plaque and hold a service for the survivors who lost so much as a result of these weapons tests. It was an emotional service for us all, but a great honour for the Blue Lightning team to be a part of it.
Exploring the Montebello Islands
After a bite of morning tea and some interviews with Today Tonight we separated into two separate boats. The Today Tonight crew went to capture some more of the beauty of the islands. Meanwhile the survivors took a cruise around the islands on Blue Lightning III, reliving plenty of memories along the way.
Farewell to the Montebello Islands
Unfortunately it was now time to return this incredible group to Dampier. It was an emotional moment seeing them farewell the Montebello Islands for potentially the final time but we feel so lucky to have been a part of the 60th Anniversary of these weapons tests with some truly remarkable Australians.
We have lots more information and photos to come so don’t forget to keep an eye on our website and social media.
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