Day 4 – On to Midway

January 19, 2012


Lazy day. Oh, wait. There’s no such thing as lazy here, even when everything scheduled for the day is – go to airport and get on the plane.

I woke up and ran before checking out of the East-West center. It was a nice run where I followed people who looked like they knew where they were going and ended up at the University of Hawaii athletic complex.

A good number of us then decided to walk to breakfast (my third meal of the day at this point) and stopped at a nice vegetarian grocery store for coffee, scones, shakes and cookies J

Then we headed onwards towards the beach. Including the walk to breakfast it was a 3 mile walk; but oh, so worth it. The water was clear to about 20 feet and there were parts that dropped off that quickly. I wish the color of that water could have been painted everywhere for me to stare at everyday.

A few of us decided to brave the chill and stay in longer than just a few minutes. It proved fruitful. While staring out at the ocean I spotted what looked like an awkward snorkeler, however, it was staying underwater too long to be a snorkeler….it was a green sea turtle! There turned out to be three green’s in the water with us, some close enough to swim over and touch – even though we did not.

After geeking out like teenage girls around Brad Pitt, we headed for lunch. Instead of braving the three mile hike back, we hitched a cab and made great time. Then on to the airport!

Free food awaited us in the plush lounge of the private company chartered for all flights to and from Midway Atoll. As we sat and vegged we contemplated the journey we were about to partake in. I could not imagine what was in store!

The flight was a little over three hours long hopping from island to island following the chain up the archipelago. Upon landing on Sand Island (one of three in the atoll) we were met with pitch-black darkness, sounds of the birds and a welcoming crew of workers and “limo” drivers. Our “limos” – extra long golf carts, escorted us through the dark highlighting pockets of hundreds of birds.

We arrived at the Charlie Barracks, were given the orientation for housing and told to head up to the bar for a welcoming night beer and pizza. We played darts and Jenga and tried to relax from the excitement.

On the way back to Charlie, I was fortunate enough to have my first petrel encounter. Previous students informed me these birds – who fly at night – will take care to fly over the light source. Now I am told they fly straight into it. The person ahead of me decided to investigate the bird further at which time the bird freaked and flew straight into my stomach. After flapping about for a few seconds trying to figure out why in the world it was not moving forward, it came around and flew away.

What an amazing welcome to the island!

For more pictures and other perceptions of the day, go to the class blog