Thursday, April 19, 2012


This is a bit late, mainly because I'm on vacation in Alexandria, VA this week and next.  I'll put up a few pics from earlier last week.  We had quite a bit going on with boat operator certification training and first responder training for the airport staff.  We had some really good instructors out to help.  I only did first aid training since I am still qualified as a Wilderness First Responder.  I didn't do the boat training either since I'm still good with that too.  We didn't have a tour group this week after Joe Van Os left with his group.  He has been here with his groups for 3 weeks.  His groups concentrate on photography, so his groups always have really great photos.
I won't do a blog this coming week, and probably not the next weekend either, since I won't be getting back to Midway until that Monday.

I went to Eastern Island to check the duck seeps and the boat operating course students came to pick me up.

 One project that the volunteers worked on was building nest boxes for Bulwer's petrels and Tristram's Storm petrels to nest in.  This is Peter, RJ, and Jennifer.

 The Red-footed boobies are nesting on Eastern Island.

 There are only a few White tern chicks around, but a lot of eggs that will be hatching soon.

 The chicks are getting bigger.  Here are a few over by the gun on Eastern Island.

I got to see one cool thing on vacation so far.  The space shuttle Discovery is on its way to the Smithsonian Museum for permanent display.  I got this shot as it flew over the Potomac River.  I was trying to get a photo of it flying over the monuments at the Mall, but I didn't have a good angle on it, or it was too far away when it flew over them.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter and Happy Songkran

On Saturday we celebrated Songkran, which is the traditional Thai new year.  It starts with a parade, blessing, honoring the elders, pouring water on people, and then games.  The weather was a bit windy, but was nice and sunny, which is better since everybody gets soaked.  It was a great time, as usual.

We had a visitor here with The Ocenic Society who writes for the website  She's been writing articles with slides about Midway.  Here's the link:

Chris Jordan and his crew are also coming back this week, so just a reminder to check out some of their movie trailers and writeups at:

The Songkran sign was made with Bouganvilla flowers and ironwood seeds.

The Songkran parade starts out near the clinic and ends up at Capt. Brooks Tavern.  

Pretty much everyone on island showed up to Capt. Brooks for the celebration.

A dunk pool was set up, and almost everyone got thrown in at some point during the day.

Rachon and Sam are grilling up some pork.  Some of the other Thai staff did the cooking, instead of the Clipper House staff, so we had a few different traditional dishes.

One of the games.

It has been a while since we've played volleyball.  It's good to see the court in use again.

We didn't have an Easter celebration, but back when the Navy was here, they had sunrise Easter services here at this cross.  It is on the eastern tip of the island near the harbor.

Here is a closeup of the plaque.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Trip to Kure Atoll

On Tuesday, I took a trip to Kure Atoll when they did the crew swap out.  I'd been there a couple of years ago on my way to Tern Island and wanted to get back to check on the progress of the invasive plant work.  It took the Kahana about 6 hours to get there.  I'm glad I took my anti-seasick medicine, because I probably would have been pretty queasy by the time we got there.  We got all the equipment and people switched out in about 4 hours.  Since we can't pull into the Midway harbor in the dark, we had to wait until Wednesday morning to come back in. It seemed like it was about a 3 day trip, with the 2 ship rides and the time on Kure, but was actually only 24 hours.  I've got more pics than usual, so I'll keep the text short this time.

Jim ties up the mooring lines as we leave Midway at sunrise.  At sunrise, you don't need much crowd control.  Only 3 people came to see the ship off.

Sunrise over Spit and Eastern Islands as we head out of the atoll.

 I've tried to get good flying fish pictures each time I've ridden on the Kahana.  I have yet to get any really clear ones.

 Here's a flying fish skimming across the surface.

This one isn't the clearest either, but you can see how big it's "flying" fins are.

 Green Island in Kure Atoll is barely visible in this photo on the horizon.  You can see why sea level rise is a bit of a concern in these parts.

Nalu, Julia, and I are taking the first load of buckets and gear to shore.

The dolphins came to escort us to the island.

There are a lot of buckets to swap out.

 More unloading and loading.

 This is the camp.  Storage buildings, bunkhouse, and outhouse on the left, old US Coast Guard building on the right.

 This is the new bunkhouse that they put up last year.  It's a bit more weatherproof than the tents that they used to use.
Kure has a big verbesina problem just like Midway.  They've had a year round camp, so they've been able to really knock it back.  It looks great now compared to the last time I was here.

This was a view of the same general area from back in June of 2009.  You can see that they've done a really nice job of geting rid of the verbesina. 

Back to Midway.  Here's a Laysan albatross preening one of the young Short-tailed albatross that has been coming showing up recently.

We had a medevac yesterday from a passing fishing boat.  It was really windy and choppy, but the swells were low so at least it wasn't as bad as the last one we did.  Sometimes I go out on the boat to pick up the patient, but yesterday I was the backup boat driver and stayed on the pier.  A US Coast Guard C-130 came out last night to bring the patient to Honolulu.