Monday, May 25, 2009

Midway Socializing :)

Since we're so isolated at Midway (3-4 planes per month normally, plus phones, Internet, but very little TV), we try to create our own social events fairly regularly. Captain Brooks (the only bar) is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but there's a lot more than that happening, especially recently! Midway's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) committee runs the "Ship's Store" (with most necessities from shampoo to pizza and wine) and the bar and plans events like these. We also have movie night and less organized events like margaritas or cocktails at someone's house or impromptu parties at Thai houses.

The day after we arrived was the first round of a 3-month bowling league incorporating 5 teams of 5 - very exciting!! Lots of beer and pizza at Midway's old-fashioned bowling alley every Saturday night - we have lots of bowling balls and bowling shoes, but I don't think most things have changed there since Navy days. Bowling isn't my thing, but it's very fun to watch and cheer every time someone gets a strike!

Saturday was the 2nd annual 5k race, with bikers, runners, and walkers. As predicted, our refuge biologist, John Klavitter, won the running division by a few minutes - he seems to be very skilled at everything athletic, from bowling to basketball. I think at least 30 people participated, while others staffed water stations, took photos, and cheered! Kate and I took photos and cheered from the Boathouse - it would have been a shame to miss it to work, so we went out to work afterwards! Every participant and volunteer received a raffle ticket and the winners of the various divisions received extra raffle tickets for the prize of a nano iPod. At left, head chef Pong competes in the bicycle race. Below John Klavitter leads the runners and transportation mechanic Tawan race-walks while Laysan duck biologist Jimmy supplies water and Kittipong/Bob takes photos.

We enjoyed Midway's Chugach band last night at the All Hands Club - they covered the Eagles' "Hotel California", John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads," Eric Clapton's "You Look Wonderful Tonight," "Sultan of Swing," and many Thai songs. Apparently the band hadn't performed in over two months, so we were glad to participate! One of the Thais, Prajim, sold beer and sodas and helped Kate figure out the popcorn machine. There's also a game room with 3 pool tables, a Ping-Pong table, and shuffleboard, which was popular for a while. We had two Coast Guard C-130 planes arrive last night for a medical evacuation mission and a search-and-rescue mission - apparently one Japanese fisherman fell overboard and was lost 700 miles north of here and another suffered a heart attack and is being evacuated. The crews joined us after they all arrived at 11 or so and the party lasted until 1 am with an iPod player eventually replacing the band. Glad we were taking today off and could sleep in!!

For Memorial Day today, FWS Visitor Services coordinator Tracy and acting refuge manager Ken Foote organized a ceremony at one of the Battle of Midway memorials. We started outside, but then it started raining pretty hard so we moved inside while Tracy read a message from Ken Foote welcoming the Coast Guard crews and remembering America's brave armed service members. After a moment of silence in their honor, head chef Pong and Kittipong/Bob deposited a beautiful wreath they had made at the memorial and we listened to "Taps". We also took photos of all the island's military veterans at the memorial.

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