NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

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Hurricane Neki Update

7 Comments

For newcomers, I’m writing from the NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette, on a mission to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to remove marine debris from the shallow-water habitats and shorelines of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. We’ve been pulled away from that mission to evacuate seven souls from a low island that’s within the tropical storm watch area.

All the personnel from Laysan Island are now on board. They’re probably a little freaked out at being swooped in upon and having their lifestyles and season’s work disrupted. These folks live in tents (NOAA) and Quonset huts (FWS), with few first-world amenities. They’re probably happy to have left the flies behind (although a few flew out to greet the ship while the small boats were picking up the scientists and their gear) and get the delicious food we have served to us every four hours or so, but the comparatively cramped quarters on the ship are a big change from living mostly outdoors for months on end.

The pickup was a surgical strike; four small boats deployed with minimal personnel or equipment, each made one quick trip to Laysan, and all personnel and equipment were on board and stowed (the equipment, not so much the personnel) in the space of about 90 minutes. If anyone was expecting drama, she was disappointed. Before 5pm we were back en route to where we’d come from.

An announcement just came over the ship’s PA system advising all hands to secure personal equipment in anticipation of high seas overnight. Is it wrong to be kind of excited? We’ll be well out of the cone of hurricane watch but will still be within tropical storm watch territory. It’s kind of fun to hang on when walking down the passageways, get pitched around in your bunk, see how well you’ve secured everything, listen for the door slams of the unwary, and even attempt to run on the treadmill (up a steep hill for a couple paces followed by a steep downhill; repeat). My roomie Sarah and I still need to secure the infant fish and the TV, which shows the fantail, the ship’s instruments, three channels of movies being played down in the movie room, and Fox News and is, not surprisingly, seldom on anyway. Bet you wish you were here!

Author: NOAA Marine Debris Program

The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris. Our mission is to investigate and solve the problems that stem from marine debris, in order to protect and conserve our nation's marine environment, natural resources, industries, economy, and people.

7 thoughts on “Hurricane Neki Update

  1. What about the Laysan Finch or Laysan Duck? Were any captured to save them in case the hurricane devastates the island? It breaks my heart to think this one storm could drive the finch extinct.

  2. Hang in there swabby. Did I tell yhou about the time I was in the ………. Oh. You already heard that story? Dad…

  3. That was a great blog post!

    You have picked up my sister from Laysan!! Brette is her name, let her know I say Hi and am watching the storms progress. Also tell her I think its time she comes home.

    Also where are you guys going?? Are you just going to wait it out in the ocean??

    I will keep reading your blog! Best of luck to you!!

    Thanks, Brooke (Brette’s twin sister)

  4. To all of you on the Oscar Elton Settee, Thank you for picking up the seven Laysanites.

    Your always welcomed at our door!!!!,

    May (Brette’s Mum)

  5. I’m relaying (via mobile)this to your husband, who is in the middle-of-nowhere Oregon where apparently he has horrible Internet connections. Be safe!

    Dave (your bro-in-law)

  6. Hey, any chance you’ll go back to assess the damage post storm? Thanks for pulling the folks off to saftey!! And BTW, luckily some endangered Laysan finches, and endangered Laysan ducks were translocated to Pearl and Hermes, and Midway Atoll respectively, to help save the species if Laysan gets nailed by something like Neki. Michelle R.

  7. Thank you so much, Kris, for your well-written
    blog. The good ship Elton Sette rescued our dear
    only daughter, Ma:lie! Her mom and I are especially thankful for the captains of those four small boats that made the rescue. The families of all the scientists who caretake, study, and protect the rare plants and animals on Laysan are proud of what they do. Moreover, the people of the good ship Elton Sette are also caretakers of the NW Hawaiian Islands. The fact that you pick up marine debris and that you bravely rescued our daughters and sons make you heroes in two ways from my point of view. Like Brette’s mother, our home and hearts are open to the crew of the Elton Sette. If any of you get to the Big Island, give us a call. We will be happy to give you a room, some home-cooked meals, and, perhaps, even a song! Thank you again! Mahalo no: Malie’s dad 966-6337

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