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expeditions/August/September 2007/Midway Atoll
9 - Midway Atoll.
by Carlie Wiener
here to see where the Hi'ialakai is now.
here to see current data from the ship.
Me enjoying the crystal blue waters in the
lagoon at Midway, Carlie Wiener.
Today is our one and only day at Midway
Atoll. It was really neat coming up to Midway as it is the
first significant chunk of land I have seen since Oahu. This
atoll is historically significant with numerous shipwrecks,
the famous World War II Battle of Midway, amongst other
things. The infrastructure set up on the island is that of
a small rural town, only in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,
and it is a US Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife
Refuge. It is really surreal and a unique place. Since the
weather has been very unpredictable the crew decided to downscale
to three dive boats. Today’s
focus is on invertebrate collecting for Dr. Toonen as Midway
is one of his high priority sites. The maritime archeology
crew is also interested in the numerous ship and airplane
wrecks found at this atoll. Dr. Meyer continues to work with
his receivers and tagging large apex predators. The
morning was really difficult to carry out dives and as a
result some of the wrecks that the maritime heritage group
wanted to accomplish could not be fulfilled. A ten foot swell
rocked the boat as the team did get to dive the Corsair,
a World War Two plane wreck.
The jet boat faces rough seas trying to get to dive
site, Carlie Wiener.
Around lunchtime, the team took
the boat into the calmer lagoon at Midway for some lunch.
It was hard to eat being surrounded by such beauty. I have
never seen a prettier shade of blue in any lagoon, or other
body of water. The long, white sand beaches stretch across
the atoll where sleeping monk seals lie and rusted World
War Two artifacts still stand.
World War II artillery gun on Eastern Island, Midway
Atoll. Carlie Wiener.
Sitting out in the jet boat
and observing my surroundings, I feel an overwhelming sense
of happiness to have been lucky enough to experience this
wonderful place. It feels good to know that the hard work
of this expedition will be put towards future knowledge to
help maintain and manage this spectacular place. The day
ends with one last dive at an old wreck in the lagoon. Not
much is left from the wreck except for the exposed anchor.
The team uses a metal detector to help identify artifacts
that may be buried under the sand.
Sean Corson dives with a metal detector to search
for wreck artifacts, Carlie Wiener.
The days seem to go by
so quickly when working out in the field, I am trying to
enjoy every moment possible. This evening the ship is beginning
to transit down to French Frigate Shoals which should take
three days. This will provide lots of time for everyone to
process samples, enter data and plan for the last stop of
the expedition. It saddens me to think we only have one more
place to see, but I am also eager to get back to share my
stories with others. From Midway atoll a hui hou!
here for maps of the region