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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
July 23, 2015
Witnessing Kanton Island
At Anchor, Kanton Lagoon
Sunny skies, Force 1 winds.
This has been an amazing and exciting experience thus far. The work is tough, but days like today make it all worthwhile. Today I stepped foot on Kanton Island for the first time with some of my shipmates. We explored part of the island that still carries ruins of relatively recent human occupation. This used to be an airfield for PanAm airlines, as well as a hotel site, and some of the remains are still on the island.
It's a stark reminder of the impact that humans can have on such a fragile ecosystem. Fortunately, this is a protected area now, and other than the 25 government employees and their families live here full-time, this area is rarely touched or seen by humans. As we made our way to the other side of the island, we were able to snorkel on a reef about 500ft from the beach and it was here that I was able to witness the true beauty of this protected land.
The coral here is the biggest I've ever seen; some of the towers are over 30ft tall. Each area of coral that I saw was teeming with life. There were lots of different varieties of fish, we also saw some sea turtles, and yes, even a shark (sorry, Dad). Aside from enjoying the island's submerged splendor, we were actually there to photodocument coral bleaching. This occurs when the algae that keep coral alive, leave the coral due to changes in the environment. There were very few instances where I saw this, which is a good thing. We must all be stewards to the earth if we intend to continue to enjoy it! To Mom, Dad, Barry, and Onji, I'm doing well, I love you, and I'll be seeing you soon!