Sunday, March 7, 2010

Let's Try This Again

I don't really know where to begin. It's been a while and a lot has gone on around here since my last real post in September. Shortly after I left, the island was evacuated for Hurricane Neki (at least I posted that one). No one was on island for a few weeks and then Ty and Alex came back and started getting the place fixed up. Two freezers and four refrigerators full of food went bad since the power was off, but it was taken care of with a little help from the crew of the NOAA ship "Oscar Elton Sette". Ty and Alex held down the fort until I got back with a new volunteer crew in December. We've been a little shorthanded over the winter, so it's been busy.

A week before last Monday, it looked like we were finally going to catch up on things with the addition of 2 more people and the return of the internet. One of those people was Dasha, my wife, who'll be volunteering for a few months now that she just graduated with her Ph.D. in Pharmacology. It'll be a nice break from lab work. The asst. manager position was also filled, so when you hear me mention Paula, that's who I'm talking about. I said "looked like" we'd catch up because 5 days later we got evacuated for a possible tsunami from the earthquakes near Chile. It was good that there was no wave since the elevation of the island is only about 6 feet. At least I got to take care of some busines and get a few supplies during my 5 days in Honolulu.
The usual things are going on around the island; the albatross chicks and Tristram's storm petrel chicks are getting bigger, the great frigatebirds, red-footed and masked boobies, red-tailed tropicbirds, Bonin petrels, and gray-backed terns are all laying eggs, thousands of sooty terns are hovering over the island, and the whales are swimming around outside of the atoll.

That's the quick update for 6 months' worth of things going on. I thought about writing a lot of detail or actually writing with some sort of style instead of just a few lines about what went on, but that would be too much reading. I don't like to read a lot of pages on the computer, so I try to keep it sort of short and just show a few pictures. I keep threatening to write with more adjectives, but for the moment, I'll spare you.

Laysan albatross flying.
Here's another Laysan albatross shading its chick.

Here's a black-footed albatross chick panting in the sun. It seems like it may not be a great food year and many of the chicks are being left sooner than usual.

The frigatebirds are busy trying to find mates. The males sit in their spot and the females fly over to evaluate. Almost all of the males are displaying right now, so the bushes are pretty colorful.

The old seawall still looks the same and the water still looks like a swimming pool.

Here we are at the Lihue airport on Kauai on our way back to Honolulu. It's me, Dasha, Sarah, Ruth, Paula, and Melinda. I know we're tiny so you'll have to take my word for it. We only left with what we had in our pockets, since the plane couldn't take extra weight.

Here's a closer up picture of Dasha out meeting the neighbors (the birds, in case you didn't get it).


Seagull Steve said...

Pete. A triumphant return. I would be confused and concerned if your writing style ever changed....glad things are getting back to normal out there.

Forest & Kim said...

Aloha Pete,

Great to hear things are getting back to normal. We look forward to hearing about the happenings at Tern Island.

Forest & Kim

Anonymous said...

Great blog...but you are right, you could use more adjectives :)

By the way, do you really find dentures washed up on the beach?

Anonymous said...

So pleased to have you back!

Kauai - my old stomp'n ground.


Anonymous said...

I am sorry that I had to miss your presentation in Bismarck. I really would have liked to hear it but, it was really to far to drive--bummer. Good to see your current post and that things are going well.

Nellie Northern said...

Good to see you're "back on the air". Glad you can share your adventure with your wife...hope she enjoys roughing it.
Keep the blog going.
Mona & Nelson

Pete Leary said...

Thanks for the comments all. It's good to be back. And I guess I'll have to post a picture of the dentures I found.