Latest News
For Teachers
For Keiki (Kids)
About the Area
Photo Images
Video Images
Maps and Satellite Images
More Info

You are here: /main/research expeditions/May 2005/Day 2 Kure Atoll

Kure Atoll, Day 2: Rough Weather
by Kelly Gleason, Maritime Archaeology Team


Kure AtollThis morning we all woke up curious as to what the weather had in store for us. While the sun was shining, there was still plenty of wind and chop in the water. This didn’t bode well for a couple of the teams who had hopes of working outside of the reef, in the unprotected areas that are especially vulnerable to the gusty conditions. Both the maritime archaeology team and the fish team had targets that they wanted to hit outside of the reef. Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, we all set out as usual this morning in the small boats, although extra layers of wetsuits and raingear were added to the daily inventory getting loaded onto the boats with the scientists.

The maritime archaeology team had high hopes of reaching the site of the USS Saginaw this morning. We all set out fearlessly in HI-1 to check out the conditions outside of the reef all optimistic that the site would be diveable. Unfortunately, seas were high and since conditions need to be safe in order to dive at some of these sites tucked in close to the reef where surge and wave action inhibit the work that can be done, we decided to dive on another shipwreck site where we still had a great deal of work to do. Frustrated but not defeated, the maritime archaeology team consisting of Hans, Kelly, Tane, Bob and John headed to the site of the whaling shipwreck inside of the lagoon. After setting our permanent baseline yesterday, the team was able to accomplish a great deal of mapping and documentation of associated artifacts. We were accompanied by photographer John Brooks who was documenting the site and our work here for the maritime heritage video that Hans is putting together for the Pacific Islands Region of the National Marine Sanctuary Program. With John Brooks, the team Houei Maru at Kure Atollalso documented the rapid deterioration the Houei Maru, a modern Japanese fishing vessel lost at Kure and first recorded in 2002. The team headed ashore to Green Island at Kure Atoll where the team was interested in matching the drawings of shipwrecked sailors from the USS Saginaw to the actual landscape of the island in hopes of getting a better idea of where their survivor camp may have existed.

As most of the scientists on board the Hi’ialakai slept, the mapping team had a successful night of survey around Kure Atoll, an area where they have huge gaps in information to fill. The multibeam mapping conducted last night revealed interesting information about the boundaries of Kure Atoll. The extent of the one hundred fathom boundary revealed a submarine platform much larger than was expected. The shape of this boundary also differs significantly from the subaerial portion of the atoll. The group continues this mapping tonight, and their work has important implications for a better understanding of the boundaries of federal and state waters. The work that the mapping team does, led by Joyce Miller, can be seen in greater detail on their website at:

And the NWHI Bathymetric Atlas:

The fish team returned to the ship after another successful day. Brian and Carl deployed a listening station in the entrance to the south channel of the atoll and collected fish specimens including some difficult to get wrasses. Meanwhile, Randy was able to collect wrasses at a shallow water surge site, an area especially difficult to work in. As we are coming closer to the end of this research cruise, I was curious to hear Brian’s thoughts about the data that he was able to collect. Enthusiastically he told me that he has enough data from this cruise to start working on the first five or six species of fish that he will be studying for his connectivity research. We both agree that this is an amazing experience, and the Hi’ialakai is an amazing platform to work off of. We have just gotten word that due to the weather conditions, we will be heading out of Kure Atoll tonight and on our way back down the chain of islands. We will make another stop at French Frigate Shoals before arriving in Honolulu.



West point  Kure Atoll 

Home | News | About | Expeditions | Photos | Video | Maps
Discussions | Partners | Teachers | Keiki | More Info | Search
Contact Us | Privacy Policy
This site is hosted by the
Laboratory for Interactive Learning Technologies
at the University of Hawai`i