Thursday, April 10, 2008

Kingman Reef

We have finished our work at Kingman Reef and are transiting back to Honolulu as we speak. The weather has been a little rough, but not too bad.  Two more days to go.
Kingman was again amazing.  The REA team had the opportunity to survey the area around a new shipwreck that appears to have occurred within the last year.  It appears to be a derelict vessel that has been floating around the Pacific for a time before grounding itself on the reef at Kingman.  Conveniently, this also allowed for us to go 'ashore'.  "Shore" in this case consisted of a spit of land that took 5 minutes to walk the length of and at its widest point was maybe 20 feet!  The island itself is fairly ephemeral and has disappeared at high tide in years past.  This year it was visible throughout the day.  Perhaps a recent storm has deposited more material.
Our last dive site was at a place called 'Clam City' which has a higher density of giant clams (up to 3 feet wide) than we have seen anywhere in the Pacific.  Giant clams are really a beautiful creature with the mantel, or soft part, coming in colors of blue, green, purple, turquoise and any number of patterns. Very beautiful. 
video
Kingman, however, was ready for us to leave.  We were called back early from this dive due to boat troubles on the surface. By the end of the day, two of the small boats needed to be towed back to the ship, squalls had closed in and one last dive that was attempted had to be ended early due to high current.  Everyone made it safely back to the ship, however, so all in all it was a successful day.