Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bad Weather and Marine Debris

This week was pretty busy. I'm trying to learn where everything is and its taking a while. The volunteers were counting all of the Black-footed albatross nests and banding all of the nesting birds. It took most of the week.
We had some bad weather with big surf. The waves washed about a quarter of the way across the island in some spots. A lot of nests were washed away, bushes uprooted, and rocks thrown around and we lost most of East Beach. It was over 100 yards long, but now it's just a little sand slope. We also took a trip to Trig island and East Island. All of the nests on trig island got washed away (about 250). It looks like the birds were all ok. They'll just have to try again next year. About 1/4 of Trig island got washed away too. Now it's 2 separate islands. That happens quite often in the winter I guess. Hawaii got the worst of it though, they had mudslides and flooding everywhere.
East island was interesting. There was a lot of marine debris to pick up. We brought a lot back on the boats, but there's still a bunch over there. We only found one glass fishing float, the rest was the same old junk, like nets, bottles, plastic fishing floats, nets, ropes, etc.
This week will be more of the same, except this week it will be counting and banding Laysan albatrosses.

This is East Beach a few weeks ago.

This is East Beach now.

This is East Island. The big pole has a camera to monitor turtle nesting. There is a transmitter also so we can check the island from here.

We had to rescue a green sea turtle that was stuck here in the shallow water behind the seawall. They sometimes are feeding near the seawall when a wave will push them through the holes. They usually can't get back out, so we have to put them back out. There have been 3 stuck in the last week. One was about 80 pounds, and was pretty hard to catch, but we got it out. The others were smaller. Sooner or later the seawall will get repaired, when there's enough money for that project.

While we were boating, we saw this contraption. We thought it was trash and were going to pick it up. It says on it that it's "providing valuable ocean research data" and not to remove it from the water. I looked it up on the internet, and they attach these things to ghost nets (abandoned fishing nets) to track their movements. They actually put their GPS information online so you can see exactly where they are, but this serial number wasn't being tracked on their website ( I hope it doesn't get stuck on our reef or tangle any animals.


Birdnerd said...

I was on Tern in 1993 so I'm so glad you're there to send me photos of it! I thought the sea wall was going to be repaired in 94 or so.....didn't happen, eh?
Thanks for sharing!

Pete Leary said...

The west half of the north seawall was replaced with rock (which gets washed away too). And from the barracks to the boathouse was also replaced. There's still a lot more to go.

Shammickite said...

I've recently returned from a holiday in Florida where I visited a rehabilitation centre where injured turtles are cared for until they can be returned to the wild. Very interesting creatures.