Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things on the Beach (Part 2)

Part 1 of Things on the Beach showed you the things you are supposed to find on a remote island far away from civilization. Seashells, fish and lobster parts, sea urchins and the like. Unfortunately, there has to be a Part 2 that shows us all that there really is no such thing as remote.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

White Terns

I think that one of everyone's favorite birds here is the White Tern. Besides it's obvious appeal - the white plumage, big eyes and blue-black bill - it has a curious streak that often leads to up close and personal investigations of your face.

You will be minding your own business, walking on the trail, when a group of one to three birds are suddenly fluttering around your head and squaking at you. To my knowledge, this doesn't happen because I've invaded their nesting territory, but because they are simply checking out the strange bipedal creature that has landed on their tropical planet. I have to admit to feeling quite special on the occasions where I've had a flock of ten White Terns following me on the beach.

Monday, April 5, 2010

In addition to being a wildlife refuge, Midway serves another purpose: it's the Pacific's go-to place for medical emergencies and mechanical failures. We've got a Physician's Assistant on island to attend to any injuries or illnesses as well as a fully operational airport facility that can receive any aircrafts wishing to refuel or even land safely in the event of, well, something bad.

Just in the time that I've been here, there have been quite a few events along these lines.

In early March there was a worker aboard a Chinese ship that had crushed his hand. They sailed here so that he could be brought on island to be looked after and then flown to Honolulu.

In this really bad picture, you can see the ship just off the reef.

Later, this Coast Guard plane arrived here to refuel on its way to a rescue mission. The crew was looking for a sailboat somewhere between here and the Aleutians that was sending out a distress call. Turns out the signal was a mistake and everybody was okay. Good thing because that's a HUGE search area.

Just last week, we had a visitor group that was on their way back to Honolulu when one of the plane's engines failed 45 minutes out (!). With only one working propeller and engine, they were able to turn around and land here safely. Yikes.

On a slightly different note, we were recently treated to the arrival of the Kahana, a US Fish and Wildlife freighter boat. Everyone gets really excited about this because the Kahana brings supplies and goodies such as fresh fruit, soda and most importantly, beer. I was excited about this because the Kahana was on my favorite show, LOST.

You know, the freighter that blew up?

Yup, it was that very boat. Don't worry everyone, I got pictures.

Chick Update:

Older and fatter.

Check out these tracks in the sand:

They consist of two small webbed feet and one large belly mark in the middle.

This has contributed to spontaneous bouts of giggles on my part.

To all the history buffs out there...

I apologize.

With so many feathered distractions around, I've been slacking on my Midway history. I know the gist of what went on here but have yet to dig deeper into the details. But! I have been taking pictures of some of the older buildings built during the military days and thought that they may be of interest to some of you.