NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

The Best Hurricane Ever


Just a quick update since I can’t seem to figure out how to post a comment on this blog! Brette, the beloved daughter and sister, is fine following a brief period of discomfort while she found her sea legs. All the Laysanites have integrated into transit mode (sleep, eat, and watch movies).

It was a typical sleep-eat-watch day until a while after lunch when a fire drill was followed closely by an abandon ship drill. That’s the closest we came to hazing the newly embarked folks; they had to don their Gumby suits. We’d just gotten settled back into a sedentary groove when an announcement came over the ship’s PA stating there were dolphins on the bow. Most of us rushed up to see them doing their clever Flipper leaps. I estimated 20; my roommate, Sara, guessed 50. Lots of them, anyway, all strung out in a line. Looked kind of like a wildebeest migration—except for the savannah/ocean, legs/fins, Africa/Pacific Ocean kinds of differences.

Okay, so this photo is not of the dolphins off the bow.
Sue me, I’m over taking the camera everywhere.

But wait! My excellent bunkmate, Sara, took some pix.
This is what they really looked like. Only more of them.

As the last dolphins slipped away from sight, another announcement came over the PA: “Shave ice is in the wet lab.” Over the patter of marine debris specialist feet, one could make out “This is the best hurricane EVER.”

shave ice in the wet lab
And, yes, this photo is technically from last month’s cruise, but it wasn’t
much different today. Shave ice in the coldest non-freezer
spot on the ship
. Brain freeze!

And it truly has been. We had some work to do securing everything, which did our souls good. Then we pulled the Laysanites off, which did our self-esteems good. The swells we encountered were a nice accent but not overpowering. No saltines needed. And today was gorgeous. Cool in the morning (from the front that brought the swells, not from the hurricane), toasty in the sun in the afternoon. The dolphins and shave ice made it feel like a birthday and 4th of July all rolled in one.

Exactly what happens for the rest of this cruise is still being determined. But it looks like on our way back to Honolulu, we’ll check out Laysan and help re-establish the NOAA and Fish and Wildlife Service camps, if possible. The folks on Tern Island (where we picked up land debris and rode tricycles on the runway) were evacuated by a Coast Guard C-130. Tern looks to be right in the path of Hurricane Neki. We’ll stop by and assess the damage there as well.

One more piece of good news: we get one last day of operations at Pearl and Hermes tomorrow, which should put us over 20 metric tons. Lots of fingers and toes are crossed hoping for good weather.

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.

2 thoughts on “The Best Hurricane Ever

  1. I left a longer thank you at your 10/22/2009
    blog. Thank you SO MUCH for picking up the
    Laysanians. Say “hi” to Malie! –her dad 🙂

  2. Hello!
    I recently wandered upon this blog, and I am absolutely intrigued by the Marine Debris Program in the NWHI! I am a young free diver from Lanai and this would be something that I would love to do one day. How would one go about becoming eligible for a position on a mission like this? If you guys have internet access (which I think that you do since you are writing a blog) I would love to get the contact info for anyone who would be willing to talk about how their life journey landed them onto the dock of this boat. Thank you! ~Megan:

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