Daily Log Report for
19 May 1997

Submitted by Richard Pyle

Ken, Lisa and I (with the help of Sara) were up late, frantically trying to pack all of our equipment for our departure early this morning. We somehow managed to cram all of our stuff in the same number of packages we had brought it in (11 for Ken and I, plus 3 for Lisa), all of which were just slightly over-weight... After a short nap and early rise, we hauled all the gear into Pat's boat (photo at right) and cruised through the Rock Islands towards Babeldaob -- the island where the airport is. Upon arriving at the dock on Babeldaob, we lugged all the gear up to a waiting "hut", where we persuaded the driver of the government-operated shuttle to transport us and all of our gear to the airport.

After checking in and paying the excess-baggage fees, Ken, Lisa and I cleared immigration and waited for boarding time. As the plane left the runway, it banked out over the ocean toward Augulpelu Reef. I could see the spot where we had made most of our dives (shown in red on the photo at right), and I thought about how much still remains to be explored here in Palau, and elsewhere in the tropical western Pacific. I leaned my seat back, sipped some ice water, and reflected on what was clearly a very successful expedition. A great deal of work awaits me back in Hawaii; not the least of which is helping with the Ocean Planet exhibit at the Bishop Museum, which opens May 24th and will feature this expedition. I also have promised my academic advisory committee that I will put these sorts of expeditions, and all of my involvement with coral-reef Twilight Zone exploration, on a "back burner" while I finish up my Ph.D. research over the next two years. Although I fully intend to keep this promise, as I drifted off to sleep, I couldn't help but think about the many exploration expeditions yet to come.

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