Time: 54 minutes
Distance: 6.1 miles
Weather: Overcast and humid
Palmyra Atoll is located approximately 1,000 miles south of Hawaii. That's 1,000 of nothing, save for Kingman Reef, between the Honolulu Airport and the crushed coral landing strip on Palmyra. That's a long way to go for a run.
|View from base camp on Cooper Island northwest toward Strawn Island|
The running surface -- well, the islands' surface is crushed coral. Instead of having to watch out for rocks and roots, the chief trail obstacle here are crabs. There are three types of crabs to watch out for -- hermit crabs (everywhere), big fiddler crab-looking crabs and the Big Daddy of 'em all, the coconut crab (these crabs actually eat coconuts and can get to be the size of basketballs).
|A coconut crab refuses to let a certain trail runner pass|
The coral reefs here are among the best on the planet. Because there is so little direct human impact (save for climate change), the reefs are very healthy and resilient. Bleaching events and disease do happen here, but because the reefs are so healthy and the human impacts relatively minimal, they recover quickly. There are places with 100 percent coral cover. Went for a dive today in an old channel dredged by the Navy during WWII. Saw about 20 manta rays...big ones, too, with 10-foot wing spans.
There are several scientists here doing all sorts of research project, from seeking to spot the extraordinarily elusive beaked whale, to shark tagging, climate research and more. Because the ecosystem here is so intact, it's a great place to study how things work.
|Thou Shall Ensure This Place Remains for Future Generations!|