Sunday, September 29, 2013


A barge came in this week bringing equipment and materials for our taxiway repair project.  With our lead based paint abatement still going on, there's a lot of activity.  We have to do these kinds of projects while the albatrosses are gone because it's really difficult to move equipment around when they are everywhere.
We're losing 9 of our Thai workers tomorrow, since it's the last day of the fiscal year.  Most of them have been out here more than 6 years with one leaving after 17 years.  We'll miss them and all the work that they do out here.  

The barge is being brought into the atoll by a tug.

The barge is quite a bit bigger than the Kahana.  They have to go back to Hawaii to get more materials and will come back in a couple of weeks. 

 It's been windy and rainy lately.  Only one big section of a tree has fallen so far, but it's supposed to be windy throughout the week.  I'm glad there are no albatross around that would be squashed.

 The old theater at the Midway Mall has been treated and painted to take care of the flaking lead paint.

 A White-tailed tropicbird chick just hatched today.  I hope the parent is just out getting some food and will be back to keep it warm and dry.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oscar Elton Sette

The NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette came in for a day this week.  They were picking up the monk seal monitoring camps throughout the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.  They usually don't have crews out on the islands during the winter months because the weather is normally stormier during that time, and emergency evacuations would be more difficult.  A couple of the people from Tern Island were dropped off to fly back to Honolulu from here.  I was hoping to have some time to catch up with what was going on back on Tern, but didn't get a chance to chat with the guys.  

We also had a big influx of people this week.  A crew came in this weekend to do some work on our taxiway at the airport. Most of the people working on the lead based paint abatement are still here too, so they'll have to make a lot more food up at the Clipper House. 

The Oscar Elton Sette pulls up to the cargo pier.

A Brown noddy is trying to climb out of its egg on an old ironwood stump on Eastern Island.

There were 4 Hawaiian monk seals playing at the pier on Eastern Island as I was trying to leave the island.  I didn't get a photo of all 4 at once.  I had some time to take a couple of photos since I had to wait for them to get away from the boat before I started it.

The Hawaiian spinner dolphins are around fairly frequently these days.

Here was a mom and youngster (cow and calf if you want to be technically correct) jumping nearby.

 For every decent dolphin photo I get I honestly have dozens of photos like this, either blurry, nothing but splashes, or just water and sky.

This is the maintenance shop at the old fuel farm.  I like the "Dramatic" setting on my little Olympus camera to make some of these shots a bit more interesting.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Extra Help

We have a bit of extra help around here for a few days.  The crew working at Kure Atoll is swapping out for the winter so we had the group going out there for about a week, while they waited for a ride from the supply ship, Kahana.  The Kahana came in on Friday, with our supplies, then went to Kure and came back today.  We'll have the off going crew here until Thursday when the plane comes in.    

Thawal waits to catch lines to tie the Kahana up.  

 The light was nice just after sunrise on my bike back from meeting the Kahana.

We needed a lot of extra help looking for sick or dead ducks this past week.  Thanks Scott, Nick, Richard, Gary, Noah, Jenny, and Mary Ann.

A gas cylinder of some sort washed up on the cargo beach last week.  The turtle doesn't seem to mind, but I got rid of it anyway.

It's been a little while since the tennis court has been used, but Jackson, who's here doing some maintenance at the airport, likes to play so he cleaned it off.  It was the first time I've played in a couple of years, and my shoulder is a bit sore today from serving.  I lost, in case you were wondering.

We got out to the reef today and this young monk seal came over to check us out.

The waves were breaking above the convict tangs.  

These fish usually swim around in large schools and all converge in one little area to feed at the same time.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Paint Work

It's been a nice but busy week again.  A few rain showers have made the ducks happy.  They love to splash around in puddles on the street after a rain.  Our botulism problem isn't really slowing down yet, but I'm hoping it will soon.  I've been saying that for a while, but one of these weeks it may happen.  I can't believe that we've still got some albatross chicks around too.  There are only a few, but it's a couple of weeks past the normal time for them to be gone.  It's nice to have the work crews on island for the lead based paint removal.  There's always a bit more socializing when that group is here, and they are preventing quite a few albatross deaths by removing or sealing the lead paint.
Chris Jordan's Midway Film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival a few days ago.  I was looking for some writeups or reviews, but haven't found them yet.  I still haven't heard anything about distribution of the film yet, so don't expect to be able to see it right away.  I, like the rest of you, am anxiously awaiting the opportunity to see it. 

The lead based paint abatement project is ongoing again this summer.  The workers are remediating the paint on the Midway Mall right now. 
We've been doing some work around the Midway Memorial.  The petrels keep digging under the sidewalk causing sections to collapse.  There's now some fencing under the dirt to keep them out from under the sidewalk.  It'll look nice when the grass grows back again.

We went over to Eastern Island to see if any seal pups needed tagging.  We found one that needed a tag, and quite a bit of trash on the beach too.
I had a report of a dead monk seal in the corner of the harbor.  It might look dead, laying in the marine debris and dead albatross feathers and bones.  Don't worry though, it's fine.  It just picked a gross spot to sleep. 

This is Bravo Barracks.  No one lives in it anymore.  The third floor was deemed unsafe quite a few years ago, and now we've just put people up in houses or Charlie Barracks.  It will probably be torn down one of these years.  Wisdom, the albatross, nests behind this building and was already raising chicks when it was built in 1958.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Late Albatrosses

Well, not quite all of our albatrosses are gone yet.  I see only a few per day, but I've never seen them hanging around this late in the year before. We're still finding sick and dead Laysan Ducks, so it's another working weekend, like every weekend this summer.  It's not too bad though.  We just walk around all of the duck ponds on the two islands.  We do have to search through all of the plants and grass around the ponds, so it takes a few hours every day.  Every now and then I see some dolphins or manta rays on the way over to Eastern Island and the boat trip is almost always nice, so don't feel too sorry for me having to work the weekends.    

This is one of the few Laysan albatross chicks left on island.

The Wedge-tailed shearwater chicks hatched recently.  This chick and parent are in the bunker by the south beach. 

 A motorcycle helmet washed up on the beach and someone put it on the rock so it wouldn't wash away again.

 I still take a lot of flying White tern photos.  I've got thousands of them, but they are asking for it by just hovering a few feet overhead.

 I like the back-lit shots but it's tough to get good ones.

 We haven't had many social events lately, but Saturday night we had a bingo and karaoke night at Capt. Brooks'.