Wednesday, January 28, 2009
My stay at Midway will differ slightly from my time on Tern Island in the Spring of 2008. Tern had a population that varied from 4 people to a maximum of 11 during my 4 month stay. Midway has between 50 and 60 people much of the time with about 80% of these people maintaining the emergency runway and the island infrastructure. The other 20% are U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees and volunteers. Midway is not a part of the state of Hawaii, but is part of the Hawaiian Island chain. The island is located about 1200 miles northwest of Honolulu and is a U.S. possession. It is about 1,200 acres in size. Tern Island is about 35 acres so I will have more room to roam on Midway. It is home to a huge seabird nesting colony and has nearly 500,000 Laysan Albatross nests. These huge seabirds were an overwhelming presence on Tern Island where there were only about 3,500 albatross nests. The Laysan nests on Midway represent about 70% of the world's Laysan Albatross nesting population. The island has an interesting human history as well as magnificent wildlife populations. The first round the world cable was finished at Midway and the luxury airliner the China Clipper made regular stops here during the 1930's. Many people remember the island name because of a decisive naval battle fought near Midway in 1942. I have talked to several members of the WWII generation about my upcoming volunteer time and all of them have recognized the name. I'm now busy reading and studying as part of my preparation for another volunteer stay in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.