Midway Weather

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Unexpected badness

Photo credit: Bret Wolf, taken from cab of fire truck

Second MEDEVAC this week.  Fortunately the Coast Guard was able to direct one of their C-130 with a medical crew.  The biggest concern here is the several million birds that could potentially strike a plane during take off/ landing.  The flight earlier this week had a couple strikes on the wing during their landing.  Last night the flight took a couple birds to the nose on take off.

1 bird per sq ft

On this 2.5 square mile island there are estimated to be 1.5 million laysan albatross, 1 million petrels and several hundred laysan ducks, frigates, tropical birds, white terns, naughties and a few others. It gets crowded.

Since the island is so small, the main transportation is by bicycle tha all personnel are issued upon arrival. I chose a tricycle for the big basket. Though I've found the albatross chicks also like the trike basket for the shade it provides.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Site seeing

Sand Island in the distance
This weekend one of the FWS folks kindly offered to take a group of us out to the reef for some snorkeling.  Since the atoll is several miles across, it can take up to half an hour by boat to get to the outer ring of coral.
The start of a lovely snorkeling trip
We crossed the sandy bottom lagoon and set anchor before setting off for the coral perimeter of the atoll.  Our guide/ captain took us to the 'Reef Hotel' site.

Reef Hotel as it originally stood
There's not much good data on the structure that I was able to find on the internet.  Locals say that it was built in the 1960s by USGS as a drill platform.  They were able to drill 400' through the coral to find the lip of the old volcano that originally created the island 400 million years ago - well before any of the main Hawaiian islands.

Reef Hotel pilings today
 After the drilling operation, rumor has it the Navy left the structure as VIP accommodations.  Unfortunately nothing remains today above the water line.

Spinner dolphin display. Several just off the bow underwater
On our return trip to the island we were greeted by a pod of spinner dolphins that played in the bow wake and gave us quite a show.  Now I know how they got their name.

Another good day stuck working on a tropical island

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Culinary adventures

It's been just over a week and I'm just starting to get settled in.  The food is still the biggest hurdle.  There is either delicious authentic thai food or pre-fab frozen american entrees.  The problem is that the authenic thai food is really authentic.  Chicken soup is a chopped up chicken, bones and all.  The picture of last nights dinner was actually squid and HOT basil

Many of the food choices / purchases are done by the thai chefs.  Hence some odd selections in the dining facility.  The 'Grass Jelly Drink' tastes a bit like licorice, but the jelly chunks in the bottom are a bit hard to swallow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Battles lost ... and won

The Midway Naval Station clinic in flames during the Battle of Midway [June 4-7, 1942].  A good reminder that some battles 'won' come at a great cost.  Though the Albatross in the foreground don't seem to mind.

Lost the battle today.  I'd been monitoring a patient for 36 hours - hoping that they would respond to the treatment we have here on station.  Without success.  Hopefully the Coast Guard C-130 will arrive before dawn, otherwise they will have to park out on the taxiway until tomorrow night.  Due to the risk from bird strikes during take-off / landings, planes are only allowed to use the runway at night.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bounty from the sea

After being here for a few days I finally had the opportunity to get into the water this morning.  Within a few feet of getting into the water I stumbled on a 4' sea turtle lounging in the shallows.  He didn't seem to worried at my arrival.

Then on the way back from the water I found one of the mythical japanese glass fish floats sitting in the sand.

What a day

Friday, April 18, 2014

Doctor to the ... birds

Hopefully there won't be a use for the ambulance while I'm here; historically there are only a couple medevacs each year.  Though it seems that recently wherever I've been, disease follows.
The mechanics assure me the ambulance will work if needed.  Fortunately there is also a clinic dedicated golf cart, complete with white cross on the front and a few bandaids in the back.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

without good company for lunch

Had lunch this afternoon out on the covered porch of the dining hall.  A bowl of Thai food deliciousness with a cacophony of birds for accompaniment.  This is going to be a wonderful three months.

Midway ... to heaven

First day on island.  What a day.  Sunrise on the beach was absolutely incredible.  While sitting on the stairs to the old lifeguard shack an albatross got curious about my toe shoes and decided to take a nibble.  I may have avian rabies.

It's difficult to appreciate just how many BIRDS there are here on this 2.5 square mile island.  Estimates are approximately 1.5 million albatross.  Just in the last few years the kestrel population has climbed to approximately 1 million after the eradication of the introduced rat population.  For a perspective of what the ground level view is, try watching this you tube video of a typical bike ride around the island put together by a documentary film maker that was out here earlier:

Midway bicycle ride

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Last sunset

Tonight was my last sunset at home for a while.  The poor air over the Central Valley made for a phenomenal sunset up at the knoll.  Hopefully there will be a home there soon.  Dreamflows shows the the South Yuba flowing at 650 cfs but the roar coming up the canyon walls sounds like a bit more.  I'll miss having the rumble of the river lull me to sleep in the yurt.