The expedition has been going fast and furious and moments to write blog entries are sometimes fleeting. The deck salon and cabins are spaces with the constant motion of people, dive gear, science gear, NAI'A crew in their blue uniforms doing their part in running the ship, and so on. At this moment, Stuart Sandin just walked by with his wetsuit half pulled up and looking for his clipboard. Craig Cook just came to me and said he was about to set up the hyperbaric chamber again for testing; Brian Skerry walks by with two underwater camera housings with strobes, one draped over each arm like leggy spiders. All is going well as we make our way through the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA).
A dive skiff approaching the Phoenix Islands photographed for the National Geographic article about a previous expedition (Photo: Paul Nicklen)
Yesterday, we stopped for nine hours at McKean Island, the smallest Phoenix Islands; it is no more than a big piece of coral rock rising some two meters out of the heaving swell of the Pacific Ocean with thousands of seabirds circling, screeching and walking around this an outpost for ocean bird life (including red-tailed tropic birds, masked booby, brown booby, red-footed booby, sooty tern, great frigate bird, white-throated storm petrel, Audubon's shearwater, brown noddy, white tern---to name a few!) Not a tree or bush taller than 12 inches anywhere, bird eggs lying on the ground everywhere, very hot, and you can walk around perimeter of island in about an hour.
© September 17, 2009 New England Aquarium