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expeditions/May 2005/Day 1 Midway
Atoll, Day 1
by Kelly Gleason, Maritime Archaeology Team
morning we woke up after the night’s transit to see
the booming metropolis of Midway Atoll. After fourteen days
at sea conducting hours of productive field work, Midway has
been an eagerly anticipated destination. Tonight’s plans
for a BBQ on the pier where we are currently docked has everyone
looking forward to the steward’s take on outdoor cooking.
We launched the small boats this morning, and all teams had
busy days planned before the evening’s activities.
maritime archaeology team led by Hans Van Tilburg returned
to two wreck sites that they had documented in 2003. The wreck
of the submarine rescue vessel USS Macaw wrecked on the reef
at Midway Atoll in 1944, and the wreck of the three-masted
sailing vessel Carrollton wrecked at Midway Atoll in 1906.
These are both beautiful wreck sites that add to the historic
record of maritime activities at Midway Atoll. We were accompanied
on our survey dives today by the film crew who is taking footage
of the wrecksites for a short maritime heritage video that
we are putting together as an outreach tool for maritime archaeology
in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. For maritime archaeologists,
Midway Atoll is loaded with history and potential heritage
resources. These two wrecks are just the beginning of the
potential for maritime heritage management at this atoll.
two fish teams headed out in tandem this morning to get samples
for the connectivity study led by Brian Bowen. Jeff Eble,
who works with Brian came back from work today excited about
the presence of blue striped snapper. As we put away our dive
gear this afternoon, Jeff’s immediate response to how
his day went was an enthusiastic “beautiful day! Beautiful
spot!” The blue striped snapper is an important fish
for their study because it was a species that was introduced
in the main Hawaiian Islands several years ago. The fact that
they are now seeing it in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
adds to their work on the genetic dispersal of fish in this
region. Carl and Yannis deployed a fish transceiver at the
same location this morning. These transceivers help Carl and
Yannis determine which of the fish and sharks that they are
tagging have been in the vicinity. They will return to collect
and download information from the transceiver in about three
months. The morning was full of data collection for the fish
team. In addition, Randy collected sand samples for Harvey
which he took back to the ship and processed for benthic microalgae
so that he is able to do stable isotope analysis on them.
This is part of the trophic food web study that Harvey and
Randy are working on. Harvey continued to process tissue from
fish that were collected this morning for stable isotope analysis.
never ceases to amaze me how much data the scientists are
collecting on a daily basis. Fourteen days into our projects
and no one seems to have lost their energy and enthusiasm.
Every day when I ask people about their day they are continually
awestruck by the things that they see, and the new places
that they have gone. Jen Salerno and I were discussing at
breakfast this morning the incredible opportunity that we
have to visit spots that we are probably the first people
to lay eyes on. Every day is rewarding, and every day we are
reminded of the importance of the work that we are doing and
the incredible opportunity that we have to be here.