While I was on Midway Atoll, a team of filmmakers from Tandem Film arrived by request of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway and to document the ongoing conservation efforts on the island. Ian Shive (founder of Tandem) and his underwater cinematographer James Scott filmed daily for a period of a couple weeks, highlighting the cultural significance of the island, as well as the natural resources it has to offer.
In May 2017, I packed up my car and headed north from Austin toward the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) in Jamestown, North Dakota. I was granted a temporary contract position with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as an ecological science technician on a project researching how land-use change affects the health and pollination services of commercial honey bee colonies. After a grueling 20 hour drive through the less-than-stellar and overwhelmingly agricultural landscapes of central Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas, I arrived at the USGS facility just as the sun was starting to set.
On this fine Memorial Day I decided to do a little more marine debris removal from the beach. While swimming or working at this particular beach on the north side of the island, sea turtles are a common sight mere feet from the water’s edge. They’re somewhat timid and won’t typically swim toward you. They can be seen coming to the surface for air and taking a quick peek at their surroundings. If there are any human occupants on the beach, they do their best to avoid you. However, that was not the case on this gorgeous afternoon.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wondered about how the 2.4 square mile island of Midway generates its electricity and where the water comes from. To help explain, I decided to take a long bike ride around the island and snap some photos for you. Apologies in advance for the dreary imagery: it has been rather drizzly and cool the last week.
It’s been a couple weeks since the NOAA Marine Debris crew has left the island and the beaches are starting to show it. Yuki and I decided to start cleaning up the north end of the island near cargo pier. We started cleaning the east side of the pier on Saturday and cleaned the west side on Sunday (along with a short length of beach west of the fuel pier).
Recently the NOAA research vessel Hi’Ialakai stopped at Midway after visiting a handful of the other northwestern Hawaiian islands. They picked up the NOAA Marine Debris crew and also dropped off members of the monk seal recovery team to a few different islands for demographic/population studies. The monk seal team’s veterinary technician named Angie is also a Texas Longhorn!
Continue reading “Midway Is A Bird Colony”
It’s been close to two weeks since I arrived at Midway. I spent one night in Honolulu waiting for my flight to the island via a private chartered Gulfstream jet. It was my first time on one of these executive flights and it was pretty luxurious, including faux-gold finishes everywhere and as much potato chips and soda as we could handle. On the flight was a team of about six NOAA Marine Debris people, a couple US Fish & Wildlife employees, a cook, and two other volunteers.
Well it’s three days until my six-month stint at Midway Atoll begins. This is just a sample of the gear I’m packing and doesn’t even include all the photography and video equipment!
Questions or comments? Email me: james (at) jamesweaver.net