Field Journal – Jarvis Island, day 4

5.5.12 – Saturday, Jarvis Island, terrestrial.

At 5am I called out ‘good morning’ to Amanda, and she and I climbed out of our respective tents, quickly got packed up and headed out for the day’s work. I speed-walked along shore, racing the fast rising sun, and filmed the stone

monument right at sunrise. Amanda caught up with me a few minutes later, and I filmed her collecting samples from the bug traps we’d set on the first day. The light was so nice that I interviewed her perched on the edge of the stone tower. The island is a soft, gentle, beautiful place early in the morning. By

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6:30am, the sun was high enough that it started to get hot. By 7:30- no more soft gentle light, just hot desert island sun. Amanda headed off to collect the bug traps on the far side of the island, and I walked around filming tern skeletons scattered about the hardpan ground, and then made my way back to the shoreline by the sign. I meant to walk back to camp and continue along the coast past there, but instead I just sat for a few minutes in the narrow wedge of shade made by the sign. I closed my eyes and just listened, and breathed.

When I opened my eyes, I saw the beauty of the shoreline at low tide- coralline pink algae and flesh frilly green algae covering the rocks at the edge of the shallow reef flat. The reef crest was beyond, with waves breaking on it, and a jar8_sgordon1deep cerulean blue channel leading thru the barrier up to the area near the sign. The Hi’ialakai was running alongshore a quarter mile off. I picked my way carefully down the steep slope of coral rubble, and then even more carefully across the tidepools with my tripod and camera balanced on my shoulder. I filmed the waves washing over the pink algae, filling the tidepools, and the surreal landscape that is Jarvis island’s shoreline- brilliant white beach, pink reef, jade green shallows, deeper blue water, crashing waves, birds zipping from sea to shore and back, water washing up and then sucking back. The beach was made of bleached white coral pieces, shells, and the occasional jewel-colored lobster carapace or bright orange crab shell. The colors are all so intense and pure.

Tip of the day- Stop, close your eyes, and breathe.

I almost walked right past the place I ended up happily filming for an hour.