Everything Should Be Waterproof


On a recent field expedition to the remote western end of Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific, the team encountered a different sort of problem than what they’re used to.  There was no safe place for the boat to land.  The shallow reef flat and heavy surf prevented the 50′ boat supplied by the US Army base on Kwajalein from getting close to shore or dropping anchor.  This problem, while unusual for a group used to operating off of shallow draft vessels in protected coastal waters, had been anticipated.  The gear was loaded into water tight Pelican cases, dry bags, wrapped in plastic bags, and strapped to a kayak.  The team then donned masks, snorkels, and flippers and swam in through the surf towing the gear behind them.

Fortunately the gear (and personnel) all made it ashore intact, and after taking a few minutes to dry off and collect themselves, it was time for the team to get to work.


Jimmy Bramante (center) and Richard Sullivan (left) tow the ground penetrating radar across Ebadon Island at the extreme Western end of Kwajalein Atoll. Mollie McDowell (right) maps the topography with the high precision differential GPS. Photo credit: Charlotte Wiman