Turtle Rescue 2010

I got up for a run last week and stumbled right into the middle of a turtle hatch! I watched as hundreds of baby turtles flocked out of their nest and made their way to the water. Unfortunately many of them got confused and headed the wrong direction. I wasn't sure what to do, so I skirted the mass and finished my run. When I got home, I grabbed my camera to see if I could get some pictures. When I arrived, other residents were collecting the lost babies and taking them to the water to set them on their way. I joined in and while I was there, we helped over 50 of them. It was truly a special event to get to participate in!
Young girl gathering baby turtles.

Baby turtles heading into the ocean.

They flapped all the way to the water.


The Underwater World

I don't dive, yet ( I like to leave the option open) so as a result, you miss out on getting see an aspect of Kwaj that I'm sure everyone would like to see.

A friend of mine posted this pic on his Facebook page today and it was so cool I decided to borrow it so that you could see it for yourself.
Photo belongs to Dan Farnham


2010 Fishing Tournament

The Labor Day Hanapa'a Fishing Tournament on Kwaj isn't a highly competitive tournament. It's for fun because this time of year is not so great for fishing. When the doldrums hit, it gets hot and the fish go deeper, making the typical trolling style of fishing quite unsuccessful.

We managed to accidentally snag one fish in the four hours we were out. We're not even sure what it is, the officials called it a gray snapper.
While we were out, one of our engines decided to die so we had to make our way to the nearest pass and return to the lagoon side and limp back to the harbor.

The fact that we managed to snag anything ensured us a place in the drawing and there were 5 boats that didn't even catch one fish so we felt somewhat vindicated.
 The next week (since I'm always behind on my posting means this week) my husband went fishing on a Saturday when the rest of us are working and they caught a bunch of fish. Over 10 Ahi and Aku, 4 that got away.


Labor Day Events

This weekend was full of fun stuff to do.
  • Chili Cookoff
  • Hana'pa Fishing Tournament
  • Candied Apples & funnel cakes
  • Home Brew Tent
  • Carnival Games
We had a very enjoyable time. I hope you did too!


Black Wednesday

This is from an article in the Marshall Islands Journal

Although rumors have swirled for days on Ebeye, Kwajalein and Majuro about an imminent “massive” layoff at the missile testing range, a US official told the Journal Wednesday the actual number will be 79 jobs cut. US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Eric Watnik in a telephone interview from Kwajalein Wednesday said 28 Marshallese and 51 Americans will lose their jobs effective this month at the US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA). “The numbers going around are much larger than the reality,” Watnik said. “USAKA worked hard to bring the number (of job losses) down.” Kwajalein Range Services President Dave Norwood told the Journal he was faced with accommodating a 20 percent budget cut for fiscal year 2011, that starts October 1. Originally, he said, this amounted to the need to cut 250 KRS positions. But the reduction in cost was accomplished by cancelling 150 vacant positions, reducing some departments’ weekly working hours, and laying off 79 workers total.
The 79 jobs that are being cut amount to about four-and-a-half percent of the existing American and Marshallese workforce, which now number about 800 and 950, respectively. The cuts will reduce the Marshallese workforce to about 775 and the American workforce to about 900.
Watnik and USAKA officials said rumors of “massive” layoffs are not correct.
Joe Moscone, Deputy to the USAKA Commander, told the Journal Wednesday that notification to the RMI government would be issued shortly. Moscone said that soon after new Commander Col. Joseph Gaines arrived in July, the command began addressing the FY2011 budget situation. “The cuts being discussed were so significant, we felt the need to go through a process to mitigate them,” Moscone said. “Though (the cuts are) still significant, they are not anywhere near where we thought we’d be when we started in July.”
Moscone said USAKA and KRS officials looked at “every single line item in the budget — everything was on the table” — to hold job losses to the absolute minimum.
“This lay off thing is creating a panic on Ebeye,” RMI Liaison Officer to Kwajalein Jelton Anjain told Major Christopher Mills, head of USAKA’s Host Nations Office, in an email at the weekend as rumors made the rounds.
As recently as Saturday, Mills told RMI Assistant Secretary of Finance Bruce Bilimon that he was unable to give him a definite answer regarding job cuts, “as the current budget review is not yet finished.”
Bilimon had asked Mills for information, pointing out that if major cuts were planned, “then we will need to make adjustments to our tax revenues out of USAKA for the upcoming fiscal year (budget).” Mills told Bilimon at the weekend, “Though we are expecting less funding this year, we are still calculating the impacts to this command.” The RMI Ministry of Finance receives a five percent tax from the salaries of all American workers at Kwajalein, as well as income taxes on Marshallese workers at Kwajalein, so any cutbacks at the Army base have a negative impact on the General Fund budget. In addition, Marshallese contribute to the Marshall Islands Social Security Administration fund so reductions in force affect the retirement fund, which is already stressed because benefit payments are higher than its income. Watnik said the reduction in force at USAKA was part of a worldwide cutback in line with Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ decision to slash the Defense budget by $100 billion over the next three years. “Every defense facility is affected,” he said.