Saturday, May 16, 2009
I haven't given the blog much time in the past week as I prepared to go home. It is amazing how much stuff can be accumulated in 3 months. My stash included rope and net from the debris pile for use in various craft projects. I also had borrowed books from friends, work and the library that had to be returned. I had snorkeling gear that had to be returned to the boathouse and many people to thank and tell goodbye. I had last pictures to take of new friends and addresses to be exchanged. I'm now on my way home. I'm in a hotel room in Waikiki after a 4 1/2 hour flight last night that ended about 3:50 a.m. so I'm moving a little slow today. It was a wonderful 3 months and I'm already scheming on how I can return. I found this graffiti scratched into a concrete project near the outer end of the breakwater. It seems an appropriate end!
Laysan Ducks were moved from Laysan to Midway several years ago to establish a separate population of this very rare and endangered duck. Two populations make it less likely that one catastrophic event would drive the bird to extinction. The populations on both islands are monitored very closely and seem to be doing well. They show up just about everywhere on Sand Island including wandering through the garage at U.S.F.&W.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I've had a wonderful time snorkeling and taking pictures over the past 3 months. We went to a new spot today and saw interesting things and got pictures of some new fish. We swam along the rip rap seawall from Cross Point to the WWII submarine pier and returned through a little deeper water, although nowhere was it more than 5 feet deep. I've put these pictures in separate posts so I can identify the photographs.
Midway House was built in 1941 for the Commanding Officer of the base on Midway. It is a very close neighbor to the house where I live and some of these photos were actually taken from our back yard. Midway house was designed by Albert Kahn, an architect of international renown and who,as of 2006, has approximately 60 of his buildings on " The National Register of Historic Places." The house has an interesting history and began life painted in camouflage and survived the "Battle of Midway." In June of 1969, then President Richard Nixon, and South Vietnamese President Thieu met in the house for lunch and informal talks to discuss the war in Vietnam. It has been recently restored and is beautiful inside and out. Barbara Bush slept in the house on her trip to Midway several years ago and I was invited there for drinks Friday evening by our Refuge Manager Matt Brown.
The following pictures are all of nudibranchs or sea slugs, that I've taken under the cargo pier. They are usually found on the shady side of pilings or cement structures under the pier. They are very colorful and if you look carefully you can see the filamentous external gills. All of the animals pictured are under 2 " long.
Friday, May 1, 2009
This has been the week for snorkeling. The winds have been very light and the days are getting long enough to swim for a while after work. I can pick up dinner by 4:45 and put it in our refrigerator and be in the water by 5:00. Tonight I saw a Frogfish which I had seen several weeks ago with the leader of one of the Oceanic Society trips that came to Midway. It is an unusual fish at snorkel depth. It has a lure dangling in front of its mouth and waits for prey to swim close. It opens its mouth and expands many times its original volume and sucks in the prey. It looks like a bright yellow blob of jello but if you look close you can see eyes and mouth and fins that help anchor it to the substrate.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Yesterday after work we went snorkeling under the cargo pier. It was a beautiful calm day and the visibility in the water was very good. In about 4 feet of water on our swim out through the pilings we found 3 Whitetip Reef Sharks resting on the bottom. We watched them for a time and then swam slowly on out through the pilings. The fish diversity is high and we saw a seal and 2 turtles. On the way back to shore I had a 7 foot shark investigate me. It would swim toward me and then veer off and turn and come back for another look. It was a little unnerving.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I occasionally get comments on my blog that send me on interesting scavenger hunts; thank you Mona & Nelson. The next few posts are all pictures that I took in a couple of hours in some of Midway's abandoned buildings, of which there are many. The pictures that accompany this post are all in and around the Navy Mess Hall which appears to have been abandoned in 2001 or 2002, based on the magazines and newsletters that I saw inside.
Fresh water is not used wastefully on Midway but there is no shortage. It comes from rainwater falling on a large area of the runway that has been designed as a catchment. From there it runs into a large open pond and is then pumped into three, 5 million gallon storage tanks. That is a huge amount of storage for only 50 or 60 people but is left over from the military days when there were many more people on the island. From those tanks 2 separate water systems begin. Non-potable water is pumped partway up the water tower to supply pressure to the fire hydrants and a few other non drinking water outlets. The other system begins with water being pumped from the huge tanks to an underground concrete storage vault near our treatment plant. The water is then treated and pumped into several rubber bladders that sit on the surface of the ground and act as the pressure tanks for the potable water system. We have plenty of water for washing clothes, showering, and drinking but the taste is nothing to brag about. I miss our Feather River water at home.