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We finished dismantling the weather radar and placed it in storage (with help from a large crane). We also finished dismantling the Telonics weather satellite data receiver. Tomorrow, with the help of a fork lift, we’ll box up the pieces and place it in storage as well. Feeling as if a small celebration was in order, Chester and I walked to Drifters Reef Bar after dinner and had a few drinks. I conversed at length with a rather tipsy Australian gentleman and now know quite a bit about Australian politics! :-)

One of the two geckos living in my bathroom.  At least they're making a dent in the ant infestation! A temporary shelter (left) and silo for missile tests (right). We required the use of an aviation stair truck to gain access to the roof of the radar building in order to dismantle the dish and pedestal. Clint and Chester on the scaffolding atop the roof of the radar building, donning hard hats and safety harnesses.
A large crane was used to lift wood boxes onto the roof,  which we loaded with pieces of the dismantled radar for storage. The crane lifts the first box. Chester guides the first storage box onto the roof. Wow, a hard hat.  I'm just having too much fun with this.  Must be the sun.  Ok, back to work!
Small showers were passing through the area, creating occasional rainbows. With the radar in storage, Clint was free to apply a treatment of sealant and termite repellant to the parts of the scaffolding containing wood. One of the many beach houses scattered around the island.  The lagoon at low tide.  At neutral tide, the average depth is only 6 feet.
Chester watches on as Clint feeds scraps of our lunch to the fish. ...and now, the fish. The inlet that seperates Wake Island from the smaller Peale Island. A C-130 on approach.
The three of us take a break while dismantling the Telonics weather satellite data receiver on top of the terminal building. The Wake Island terminal...MUCH nicer than the Kwajalein terminal!! The Wake Island terminal...MUCH nicer than the Kwajalein terminal!! The exterior of Drifters Reef Bar.
Ahhhh, liquid therapy for the Wake Island blues! Those who walk into Drifters Reef Bar wearing a hat get it taken away and nailed to the ceiling.  In addition, they owe the entire bar a round of drinks.    

February 18-21, 2004 Wake Island Pictures  

We were scheduled to fly to Honolulu today but, due to mechanical problems with a C-130, we're stranded here until Wednesday. The Wake runway is currently undergoing renovations with only a small portion presently open. C-130's are the only aircraft flown in the area capable of landing on such a short runway. If the runway was completely open, we could catch a flight back to Honolulu on any of the numerous aircraft, both military and commercial, that would be landing on Wake for refueling. Although it's not home and I desperately miss Valerie, my fiancée, I could be stuck in much more inhospitable places!

Read the High Surf Advisory associated with the pictures below.
Clint watches the lagoon. Wake Lagoon. A fairly intense tidal surge passed through the area on Wednesday, causing beach erosion and flooding in low-lying areas.  The runway was closed for a day as workers removed small rocks deposited by the flood waters.  Clint and I hiked to a causeway on Wilkes Island that's normally above the water level.  We found it covered by 4 to 6 feet of water. The flooded causeway became an outlet channel for rising lagoon water.  As periodic surges plunged through the channel, the fast moving outlet water would temporarily change direction, causing intense rapids and riptides.  We dared not wade through the channel!
Low-lying areas became flooded. Huge waves, on the order of 20 to 24 feet, were generated at the edge of the reef. Huge waves, on the order of 20 to 24 feet, were generated at the edge of the reef.  Sea spray could be seen lingering in the air. A wave crashes over a large rock.
Not a good day to be out on the open ocean. Tanks containing jet fuel are located as far away from the residential area as possibleÖabout 6 miles.  Yes sir, this is considered far on Wake Island! Ahhhhh...and I'm getting paid to be here!  :-p Ron too!
From left to right: myself, Clint, Chester, and Ron. I was told, but can't remember what kind of bird this is.  They're very common on Wake. In coming!  These birds have short webbed feed and canít walk worth a darn.  Instead, they attempt an awkward waddle thatís rather humorous to watch. Since part of Wake Atoll is a bird sanctuary, these creatures are protected and have yet to develop a fear of humans.  As a result, I was able to slowly approach to within five or six feet of this beautiful bird without causing agitation.
Since part of Wake Atoll is a bird sanctuary, these creatures are protected and have yet to develop a fear of humans.  As a result, I was able to slowly approach to within five or six feet of this beautiful bird without causing agitation. The end of another beautiful day on Wake. The end of another beautiful day on Wake, with Venus shining brightly in the evening sky. Venus reflecting off the ocean.
I decided yesterday to feed our hungry friends while snorkeling.  Within minutes, thousands of them had surrounded me, eating out of my hand.  They range between 2 and 8 inches in length.  Good thing I didnít go skinny dipping! One of the many hermit crabs that call Wake their home. Again, good thing I didn't go skinny dipping! I witnessed a small crab successfully challenge this larger crab for his shell.  The larger crab became homeless and decided to move into this tiny shell.  As determined as he was, the shell was just too small!  

Notice the light, tanned-colored back end of the crab.  This area is very soft and has a texture similar to that of a grub.  Hermit crabs insert their rumps into hard shells for protection, keeping a firm grip with small
As he became more and more exhausted, I decided to find him a new home and eventually found an empty shell, suitable for a crab of this size. As I placed the shell next to him, he would ignore it and immediately return to the smaller shell!  After another 20 minutes of patiently watching him strain to get into the smaller one, I grabbed him, and stuck his rear end into the larger shell.  I donít think he wanted to admit defeat because he just sat there, motionless.  After about 15 minutes, he got the idea, accepted the gift, and sauntered off with a new After becoming somewhat embarrassed for spending an hour watching a hermit crab, I decided to have some fun experimenting with an external flash unit.  I donít think it helped my case! Drifters Reef Bar.

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