NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette
May 9 – 23, 2006
Mission: Fisheries Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: May 15, 2006
Weather Data from Bridge
Latitude: 28, 06.7 N
Longitude: 177, 21.3 W
Visibility: 10 Nm
Wind direction: 095
Wind speed: 17 kts
Sea wave heights: 2-3
Sea swell heights: 5-6
Seawater temperature: 23.2 C
Sea level pressure: 1027.2 Cloud cover: 3/8 Cumulus
Science and Technology Log
Today we hit Midway Atoll, the largest island we’ve visited so far. It is covered with tall Ironwood trees and has been well developed by the military. A large airstrip and an enclosed harbor can be seen on the approach. We docked at one of the two piers on the northeast side of the island. Midway is no longer a military base. It has been turned into a wildlife refuge. The park rangers came over to the boat and gave a briefing and rules of the island. I went for a walk on my own and did not see the Laysan duck because I did not have a guide to the restricted refuge area. Forty-three ducks from Laysan island were brought here one year ago and 40 have survived. They have also produced ducklings so the project is considered to be going well.
I did have a great time just moseying around taking pictures of odd and interesting man-made curiosities. There was a 12-foot gooney bird between two super huge canons in front of the bowling alley and mall. Everything had a ghost town sort of look, and there were birds everywhere as usual, but no people. I made my way to the famous seaplane hanger to get a picture of its bullet-riddled side, but the side had been removed. In another hanger I found the Midway Military Museum. It had been the airport arrival and departure area. There were two bombs at the gateway, one 6 feet and the other 20 feet. There were great paintings of aircraft, some in battle scenes. Everything was from the 1940s and being alone there kind of creeped me out. TWILIGHT ZONE.
I made my way to North Beach next to where we docked the ship. This beach is rated as one of the best four beaches in the world and it lives up to it. It’s about two miles long and the sand is blinding-white coral. The water is crystal clear and 3-5 feet deep for about a quarter mile out to sea. You can easily see the abundant fish swimming fearlessly by you, and any Tiger shark approach would give you fair warning. Even the sand is great because it is made of crushed coral and it stays cool. It is not silica sand. I was told that the fishing is great here, but it is catch and release because of sanitaria.
That evening the OSCAR SETTE had a great barbecue and the whole town was invited. I think there are only about 30 permanent residents. It is interesting that most of the help is from Thailand. I met a Thai artist who does sand-blasted glass illustrations. I showed him the bust of Chad Yoshinaga that I was doing and then he took me up to his home and showed me his artwork. I was very impressed with his wildlife and Buddhist images. He said he just does it to pass the time.
We spent the night at Midway and left at 7 a.m.