Field Journal – Jarvis Island, Day 1

5.2.12 – Wednesday. Jarvis Island on the near horizon.

A (Slightly Rough) Beach Landing

After days and days and DAYS of traveling across the ocean at 8.5 kts, today, near the end of the afternoon, there she was- Jarvis. Low lying island with scrubby veg and white sand. The ship had traveling through a squall with 30 kt winds, so there was some hemming and hawing about whether or not they’d launch the small boat to take us to the island. There was just enough daylight and the seas had calmed down, so at 4:45pm sharp they launched the Avon, and then Rubber Ducky (one of CRED’s safeboats). We loaded our 7 buckets, 3 dry bags, 4 pelicases, 1 cooler, and 3 water jugs, and climbed aboard one of the boats ourselves. A pod of shiny, muscular dolphins escorted us in- leaping next to the boat, riding our bow as we sped across the water to the island.

Gaetano, who has landed folks on this beach before, coached Scotty on the landing spot, and how to thread the channel. There were waves breaking on shallow coral baumies to either side, but a calm slot down the middle, so Scotty drove the boat straight up to the sand.

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We hustled all the gear off, carrying it to the tide line, and then pushed the boat off so they could return to the ship. Once they were out of sight, we stripped off our ‘non-quarantine’ clothes, put on Jarvis clothes, and set up camp. Amanda Meyer, the Fish & Wildlife Refuge Manager, and I each have a pup tent.

We ate foil packets of chickpea curry for dinner, and then read through our laundry list of scientific tasks while on island. Amanda Meyer is the Fish & Wildlife Refuge Manager for Jarvis, Palmyra, and Kingman, and part of my duties on this expedition are to help her with terrestrial surveys on this island. It’s just the two of us on the island, and we have a lot to do!

Southern cross, and the false cross are both up, as is Maui’s Fishhook (Scorpius). There’s an almost full moon, and scattered clouds. It’s a beautiful night. My skin feels salty and sticky, and we need to save our fresh water for drinking so no shower in my immediate future.

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Ocean sounds and birds calling (those noisy terns, they talk all night!), but no generators or air-conditioning or all the interior and exterior background noise of a ship.

Pretty peaceful here. The ship looks far away in the dark- just a small patch of light on the horizon. I can’t tell if that makes me feel small and insignificant, or if I’m ok with it. I think I’m fine with it. Time to set up a night sky timelapse! Then, I’ll climb into that little tent for some well earned shut eye, and dream of birds and hermit crabs.