Saturday, April 5, 2008

Our last days at Palmyra

So I have been very delinquent in posting recently. The past several days have been terrific diving, but less than invigorating on the surface. My first post from Palmyra documented driving rain and fierce winds. In the subsequent days both abated slightly, but not enough to make it what you would call ... nice.

The diving, however, was spectacular and I personally think that many of the areas of Palmyra rival if not surpass Jarvis in sheer brilliance. In many areas coral cover was near complete and the fish life was spectacular. Missing were the clouds of yellow and purple anthias that covered the reefs of Jarvis, but n their place are clouds of fusiliers and jacks along with a multitude of sharks, napoleon wrasse and milkfish. Some of the most spectacular diving I have done so far.

On our last day at Palmyra we finished operations early and were able to take in a few hours of R&R on the island. The Nature Conservancy personnel on island were very hospitable and pointed us in various directions to a secluded beach on the north side of the island, the airstrip with the remains of a plane whose landing was less than perfect, a small path through the jungle patrolled by hermit crab sentries, and finally and idyllic swimming hole complete with a rope swing suspended from palm trees high above. The sun came out for a few hours that afternoon bringing with it welcome warmth and the lighting of spirits we all needed.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Palmyra: Day 1

The water at Palmyra is so warm compared to Jarvis ... the air is SOOOO cold and wet!  Today was our first day at Palmyra and, well, I can't say we actually got to SEE the island.  We were seldom more than 100 yards off shore, but most of the time the island and beaches were behind an opaque sheet of rain and miserableness.  Yes, that is a word.

Our switch-outs between dives were very fast as the water was much warmer than the air and the surface team was ready to hit the water as soon as the dive team hit the surface.  Rain came in a mix of drizzle and downpour and the wind was near constant.  This is what marine biology is all about!

All kidding aside, the dives today were excellent and would have been spectacular if for a little sun.  Oh, I hope the sun comes out tomorrow!  Our last dive of the day was exceptional even though it was so dark we could hardly see.  We heard dolphins and saw huge numbers of fish, rivaling even Jarvis in their abundance.

Tonight the rain continues unabated and it appears our ship has become a temporary refuge for a number of boobies seeking a dry place to roost for the night.  Oh I hope the morning brings the sun ...

Jarvis: Video Retrospective

We should be arriving at Palmyra in an hour or so and I thought I'd dash off this quick blog entry before breakfast.  During the transit from Jarvis to Palmyra I had a chance to look back through some of the video we had taken and put together a few clips.
Dolphins were regular companions  and seemed to enjoy racing the REA team to the dive site.

Underwater clouds of tiny neon yellow and purple anthias fish covered the reef in clouds.  I cannot begin to comprehend the sheer number of these tiny fish.

Small curious grey reef sharks were also common, checking in to see what were were up to in their watery home.