Thursday, January 19, 2006

Johnston Atoll

16 39N x 169 33W It is now 9:30PM and I have litterally been running non-stop since 630 this morning. NUTS!!! I haven't had the time to train anyone on the stuff that I usually do, so now I am doing both that and all the "lead" stuff. Planning the next day, looking at the video, etc. Tomorrow I am going to try to deligate more. Otherwise I won't get ANY sleep for 5 weeks!

Johnston is amazing. We started out in the lagoon this morning and then moved ot the outer reef because conditions were so good. A light wind and small swell. Hopefully it will continue tomorrow so we can finish out the forereef.

The lagoon was cool. Shallow with lots of small patch reefs with table corals (Acropora) and crystal white sand. It was an absolute maze. We had to cut one two short because we got caught in a maze of reef with no way out :-) After lunch and our mid day tank switch we made our way to the south end of the forereef and started working our way northward. We dropped into 70 feet of water and were immediately greeted by two small gray reef sharks (about 3 feet) who followed us for much of the dive. Soon they were joined by their friends and shortly after we towed through as school of another 20 or so. They were all small and very docile (almost like little puppies following along behind). Before long they bored of us and we were left to ourselves. We saw little for the rest of the tow in terms of large fishes, but did see clouds of smaller ones along the ridges of the reef. It was wonderful. Not a whole lot of live coral on the forereef and you can tell it usually gets pounded in the winter. We had a good day!

The island itself is definitely tropical but not all that noteworthy so far. It is low and flat and dotted with stands of Australian pine. There is one large building tat looks like an assembly building or large storage unit and many small bunkers undoubtedly used for storage of some kind. It would have been neat to see it before it had been completely leveled and paved. Oh well.