For a remote tropical island, Palmyra’s field camp is quite nice. First, we are fortunate enough to eat fantastic food… when the vegetables actually make it on the plane from Honolulu. For example, Alex, one of the chefs, made breadfruit pita and a heart of palm salad for dinner with sweet potato haupia pie for dessert one day. I wasn’t expecting to get to try new foods while in the field, so this was a welcomed surprise! Second, there are showers and washing machines, although water is limited as we in a drought and the field station is completely reliant on rainwater. Cleaning chores rotate between groups of researchers. Third, we stay in small but cozy cabins shared between two researchers. Some of them are even waterfront, although the donors were assigned to those when they flew down to visit.
With regard to the science, there is both a wet and dry lab to process samples on the island. One researcher even brought a tiny -80C freezer to keep samples cold before being transported back to Hawaii. We have access to four lagoon boats (shared between all researchers on the island), and there is also a larger boat for diving on the forereef. There were on average 23 people total during my stay, so resources weren’t spread too thinly.
When you’re not working – although it’s a pretty constant state of working – you can explore the main island Cooper and the adjacent island Strawn, stroll to North Beach, go swimming at the swimming hole, relax in the galley or yacht club, or run on the runway. We even have science presentations and movie nights in the yacht club and bonfires on North Beach occasionally.