So, you may have heard this rumor that I, on occasion, do things other than blog, tweet, or facebook. It may seem shocking, but I do have a day job (if you can call it that - a graduate student's job never seems to be restricted by sunlight).

For the past couple weeks, I've been getting my butt kicked into super shape by an intense 2-week scientific diver certification course, which covers from open water to master scuba diver at warp speed. It was intense, physically exhausting, and mentally draining. But it was well worth it, because now, I can do something even more intense, physically exhausting and mentally draining: spend a month aboard the NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai conducting research in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.


My home for the next four weeks

Very few people get the opportunity to visit these isolated outposts, and I feel unbelievably lucky to be one of them. However, this trip is no pleasure cruise - I'm going to be diving all day pretty much every day, collecting samples and doing monitoring for ongoing coral reef research. I'll be up at 6am, carrying around close to 50 lbs of gear, and not back in bed until more than 12 hours later. The hours are grueling and the work is complex and laborious.

But, of course, the scenery couldn't be better.

c/o the The PapahÄnaumokuÄkea Marine National Monument media website

The Northwestern Hawaiian islands, for those not familiar with the term, refers to the various miniature islands, atolls and reefs that lie, as the name implies, to the northwest of the main eight Hawaiian islands. They are all that remains of islands that formed 7 to 30 million years ago by the same volcanic hotspot that formed the islands of Hawaii. All 139,797 square miles are protected as a part of The PapahÄnaumokuÄkea Marine National Monument (try saying that five times fast).

In less than two days, I'll be departing from Pearl Harbor to start my month-long trek to the northwest. I promise that I will keep you involved to the best of my ability. In the meantime, aloha, and ahoy!

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Hello Christie,

I am curious if you or anyone onboard Hi'ialakai will be writing software? I am looking to connect with people writing code "on the beach" or in other extreme or unusual locations.

Wow! That sounds (and looks) like it will be wonderful! I hope that you have a great, rewarding adventure - and keep us posted!

By Satcomguy (not verified) on 20 Jul 2010 #permalink

Is that video all your photos? Some of them look downright professional. It looks like an awesome place, and I'm glad for you. Keep us posted.

I'm going to be diving all day pretty much every day, collecting samples and doing monitoring for ongoing coral reef research.

Sure this is not pleasure cruising, but i bet you really love it

hey did you meet my friend Viv that works for NOAA at the UH campus office? She is a British girl, a good friend of mine. I think she was on that boat with you?