19 May 2013 – Makumanamana Miss and transit

We were scrubbed from diving Mokumanamana today by large swells and high winds. The island is very small, with little reef, which provides no lee in which to launch and recover the small boats that provide us diving platforms. We ran along the 60m ledge around the bank with the ships sonar to scout potential dive locations for future cruises, and then headed further west towards French Frigate Shoals.

We plan to continue operations there for a couple days, and then head to Laysan which will be our farthest point west. I began Ric Gillespie’s Finding Amelia, which covers Amelia Earhart’s disappearance and search. Once we get to Johnston Atoll, we will be several hundred miles north of the same area where she was presumed lost. She intended to land at Howland Island, where through political connections and fortuitous events, the US built an airstrip for the sole purpose of allowing her to complete her Pacific crossing as a refueling stop between Lae New Guinea and Honolulu.

After dinner this evening, I tried to film Black Footed Albatross that trail the ship – very challenging, as the boat, cameraman and bird are all moving on three axis independently. I don’t think it’s broadcast ready yet. I had better luck shooting birds with a still camera. Red Footed Boobies, Frigate Birds, Red-tailed tropicbirds and Terns all passed over or by the ship whilst near Mokumanamana island.

A pretty slow day aboard ship – lots of movies and constantly eating.

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