On to Palmyra Atoll, Part 1

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December 14th 2011
Published: April 10th 2012
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Christmas Island, Republic of Kiribati to Palmyra Atoll (US)

North beach-Cooper IslNorth beach-Cooper IslNorth beach-Cooper Isl

North Beach, our 'home' island on a typical day
After a nearly 400 mile sea journey, we arrived at Palmyra Atoll, roughly 1100 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands. Palmyra is a US territory, a US Wildlife Refuge and national monument. Partly owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy, its an amazing low lying volcanic Atoll, home to hundreds of thousands of pelagic birds, and covered by dense jungle and Coconut palms. Palmyra is really a group of smaller islands, and was nearly cleared of trees during WW2 to facilitate use as a military base, a project that dramaticaly altered the atolls ecology and landscape. 70 years later, nature is coming back in force, but many old war relics such as gun turrets, bunkers and ammo magazines can be found all over the atoll, mostly covered in thick jungle growth, giving the island a weird 'Lost' sort of look, such as a manhole deep in the jungle, or remnants of underground passages. My 3 months here are part work part travel, seeing a part of the Pacific tourists and backpackers cannot visit. To go here you need to work here,

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


map of palmyramap of palmyra
map of palmyra

Palmyra Atoll
lagoon triplagoon trip
lagoon trip

kayaking through the channels and passes between islands

kayaking around one of many amazing islets in the lagoon.
tropical angel??tropical angel??
tropical angel??

Fairy Tern, hovering overhead. A common sight on Palmyra
evening cruiseevening cruise
evening cruise

sunset on the inner lagoon from a kayak, drifting along on the tide-one of my favorite ways to relax
coworkers coworkers

me and my coworkers 'stranded' on the island, plotting our escape -but have to fix the plane first!
sea viewsea view
sea view

Looking easterly along Palmyra atoll, a typical view
SW point, PalmyraSW point, Palmyra
SW point, Palmyra

nothing but the open Pacific from here on...
exploring war relicsexploring war relics
exploring war relics

Remnants of one of many WW2 gun batterys around the atoll.
gun turretgun turret
gun turret

On the west shore of Strawn Island, another turret mount lies in the lagoon, about the size of a small house!
artificial reef???artificial reef???
artificial reef???

a war remnant now a home for marine life.
jungle hatchjungle hatch
jungle hatch

like something from 'Lost' a hatch through one of the WW2 bunkers, slowly losing its battle with nature.
land crabland crab
land crab

carefull where you step! landcrabs of all shapes and sizes, day and night!
the swimming hole-or sea wind hideawaythe swimming hole-or sea wind hideaway
the swimming hole-or sea wind hideaway

an idealic spot on the Atoll, sadly the site of the 1974 Sea Wind Murders, subject of the bestseller and TV movie, 'And The Sea will Tell'
working hardworking hard
working hard

yours truly, workin on the runway
rust in reliefrust in relief
rust in relief

70 years after WW2, this barrel still stands guarding Palmyra.
holiday palmholiday palm
holiday palm

tacky ? yes, but a little technolgy in the tropics doesnt really hurt, Christmas lights along the equator.

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