Packing Buckets

Fly fishermen are brilliant. Andy, Eryn and I are trying on field kit that has arrived in the mail and so far the fly-fishing vests are our favorite items due to the pockets. We’re already choosing which pockets will hold our radios and admiring how different loops and built in cords will help ensure that we don’t lose our GPS’ (a time consuming and unfortunate field mishap).

If someone were to walk in the room right now, I don’t know if they would be more overwhelmed by how good we look or by the current state of the base. There are stacks of buckets tucked in corners and in the middle of the floor. There is a wall of bins with Kure Atoll Only clothes, the tables are overflowing with groceries and random field kit is tucked into any and every spot it will fit.

Just like I used to tell my mom about my messy room, this disorder is very calculated. Only now, that statement is actually true.

The clothes are left from previous field seasons. Kure’s quarantine status means any visitors must wear new clothes or clothes that have only ever been worn on Kure before. This rule helps restrict the introduction of invasive species. The winter field team members will all have a chance to look through the bins and take what fits to use during our time on Kure.

The food has been carefully bought to supplement food stores currently on island and to ensure we have enough food for six months and the field kit will not only aid our work but will also update and replace gear currently on island.

Part of today’s task is to pack all of these items into our 5 gallon buckets. Each bucket is assigned a number, contents are written on the outside, on the lid and on a master list. Each bucket also gets purple flagging tape to indicate that it should be offloaded on Kure. Two additional striped varieties of flagging tape are given if a) the contents are sun-sensitive and/or b) the bucket can be frozen.

A few hours and over 80 packed buckets after we start working, we decide to walk to a nearby cafeteria for lunch, which happens to be in a hospital. As we sit down with our food, a doctor walks by with medical devices looped around her neck, tucked into her belt and more medical kit overflowing in her hands. It looks quite cumbersome.

‘She needs a fly fishing vest,’ says Eryn.

Aloha,
Noel Dunn

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