Kwajalein: I Have Arrived!

It is BEAUTIFUL here!

I’ve been on Kwajalein for almost a week now, and it still feels pretty surreal. I’m starting to settle in more though, and I really enjoy it here.

Picking up from where I left off in my last post, I took about a 5-hour flight from Hickam AFB in Honolulu (had to get up at about 1 am!). I arrived here Tuesday morning local time.

The first surreal experience was just beginning to notice little islands covered in palm trees surrounded by the bluest water you could imagine. We barely saw any land before we approached and landed on the runway.

After I got off the plane and got my temporary badge, I met Ed (the ATSC site manager), Mark (chief meteorologist), and Josh (one of the staff meteorologists). After I dropped off my bags in my BQ (bachelor’s quarters), Josh showed me around the island. First, I have to say my BQ is nicer than I expected. It seems fairly new or newly renovated, perhaps (or at least kept in good condition). It’s pretty much like a hotel room. My room is furnished with a bed, bookshelf, dresser, entertainment stand, bedside stand, computer desk and chair, coffee table, and chair. There are two large closets, a little kitchenette (mini fridge/freezer, sink, counter space and cupboards and a few shelves), and the bathroom. I have a large window facing west towards some more buildings and palm trees (can’t quite see the lagoon though). I’m on the third floor.

Anyway, I started to unpack that first day and get settled in. The next couple of days I spent finishing up some paperwork and getting another tour of the island from Mark.

On Friday I began to shadow Mark. I’ll be shadowing him for a while, to get forecasting training. The day shifts (which I’ll be on for a while) are from 9:30 to 5:30. So far I’m just working Tuesday through Saturday, with Sundays and Mondays off (our “weekends”, to correspond with Saturday/Sunday in the US). While a overwhelming at first, I think I’ll get the hang of things fairly quickly and really enjoy it.

Today I got out and took some photos around the island. I also went wading in the lagoon. The water’s great! I still can’t believe how turquoise blue the water is…it’s better than Hawaii. There aren’t a lot of people here, so the beaches and the water is quite nice.

Here are a few photos. Since the Internet connection I have at home is slow dial-up, I won’t post too many photos just yet and I’ll be shrinking them down so they upload faster.

Enjoy!

PS – Note I changed the header to a photo of the ocean from Kwaj! 🙂

My (eastern) view as soon as I walk down the hall from my BQ and out the outside door onto the third floor landing. Isn't it AWESOME?!?

View of the ocean from third floor

View of the ocean from the south shore of Kwajalein, looking southwest

Part of the marina, looking west across the lagoon (most of the small boats were left of this image)

Looking down to over a dozen nurse sharks! I've heard they hang out here as fishermen throw fish and fish guts down there as they come in at the end of the day.

Nurse sharks

More nurse sharks

Boat pier near the marina

Looking across the lagoon to several islands, including Carlsson and Carlos

Camp Hamilton Beach (lagoon side), looking southwest

Great Eggfly or Blue Moon Butterfly in the Kwaj public gardens. Two of these were flying around fighting with each other, and finally one of them landed on the scaveola and posed for me. I also saw a large yellow butterfly with some dark orange/brown splotches. I'll have to go back and see if I can find it again later.

Great Eggfly or Blue Moon Butterfly

Some sort of banana spider

Looking north-northeast over the lagoon. Ebeye is the island on the far left (where many Marshallese live)

A shy gecko on a bench

One of several battle stops around the island. This one commemorates those who lost their lives in the first American battle for capturing Kwajalein from the Japanese

First landing site for Americans seeking to capture Kwajalein from the Japanese...looking over the ocean towards the southwest

A few other random notes. There are a handful of radio stations out here, to my surprise. Several times a day there’s a bugle call. They have different ones at different times (morning, noon, early evening, and late evening). The one I usually hear so far is at 10 pm. It’s interesting. 🙂

I’ll try to update with more photos and writing as I have time and patience to work with a slow Internet connection. 🙂

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4 Responses to Kwajalein: I Have Arrived!

  1. Nancy Hultquist says:

    Bekah, thanks for taking the time on dial up to load all the pictures of Kwaj. Simply awesome. While here I checked out your blog entry from Honolulu, and really enjoyed it too. There is one link missing for a picture (I think at Waikiki beach).
    Good luck with all your new exciting career and experiences for the next 2 years.
    We’ll keep reading your blog. Nancy (and John)

  2. Robin says:

    Very beautiful!!
    Hmm…how much more money is it to Kwajalein? 🙂

  3. terry ramos says:

    It was nice to stumble across your pictures. The last time I saw Kwajalein was in 1963, before my dad retired from the USMC. He had always said that if he could, he would take me back to see where I was born in 1947. I don’t remember there being so much greenery, mostly I remember the heat. I couldn’t believe it was so much hotter than Hawaii, where we were then living.

    • Rebekah says:

      Wow, that’s really interesting, I have heard there have been a lot of changes over the years, even in the last decade as population has really gone down, mainly due to funding cuts. Thanks for checking in!

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