Sunday, March 21, 2010

Busy Saturday

The Kahana paid us another visit on Saturday and brought us another 3 months worth of supplies. We should be set pretty well with groceries and supplies for when the monk seal crew and the turtle techs get here in May. It got a little busy on Saturday since we also had to have a plane fly in with a freezer repairman for the Kahana. It all worked out, but I'm hoping I won't need another plane during a supply offload anytime soon. At least we had extra help from the volunteers and staff heading out to Laysan Island. It was nice to have one of my ex-volunteers going there (Whitney) so she could help out as a tour guide for all of our island visitors. We had 20 people here for a little while, including the pilots.

I'll have a little more help this week since I got another volunteer. Caitie will be helping us out for a few months. Also, for those of you who used to read my Midway blog, you'll recognize the name Greg. Greg and I got rid of quite a few invasive plants during my year on Midway. He's here to help out for a week and a half with my invasive weeds. He should be able to get rid of quite a few of them since this island is only about 34 acres, compared to about 1200 acres on Sand Island at Midway (of course he's not done with that yet). We'll get all kinds of projects done with all of these people here now!
I just noticed I didn't take any pictures of the Kahana or airplane this time. Oh well, you can check my older posts if you want to see them again. Just pretend they are from Saturday.
Here's Caitie getting a good picture of a green sea turtle.

Here's a reef whitetip shark (I took this picture a couple of weeks ago). It was too close to fit in the frame.

You need at least one picture of the birds.

I'm a week late on posting this picture, but this is some of the trash that has washed up on Gin Island. There isn't any vegetation over there. Just some seals, sand, birds, and marine debris. We picked up a bit, but we can't fit all of this in the boat in one trip.

Just another Tern Island sunset.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nice weather

This past week was a pretty good week out here. We got a lot of birds counted and even finally got out on the boat again. The trade winds have been blowing us around for the last few weeks, but yesterday was beautiful and we checked up on the condition of the other islands. It was good to see that they didn't get washed over like last year. We are expecting the Kahana (supply ship) later this week, so it's time to get the trash all packed up to send back to Honolulu. We would normally really be looking forward to getting the fresh food, but since we just came back with some fresh groceries after the evacuation, it will just be really good, instead of really, really good. So here's a few pictures and I'll throw in a couple now and then from the last few months. Maybe next week I'll show our Christmas tree.

White banded surgeonfish and convict tangs swim around in large schools around LaPerouse Pinnacle.

This monk seal swam by to check us out.

Here's Melinda helping to unload the big pile of ropes that we found while we were out. At least there were no animals entangled in it.

A white tern is bringing a little squid or cuttlefish to its chick.

I was up on the roof of the barracks and took this.

On Christmas Eve, I found a glass fishing float still wrapped in it's netting. That's the first one I've found in a net. It took a long time to get all that algae off too. We found a couple on East Island yesterday too.

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).