Amanda Pollock, the Wildlife Refuge Manager for Palmyra, had returned on-site the day before we had and invited us along on her site arrival boat survey. This was an opportunity for us to tour the East Lagoon (map), off-limits to visitors due to current at the entrance and water shallowness. The military built a causeway that created East Lagoon. This radically altered water flow in the atoll, effectivetly killling off underwater life in the lagoons due to lack of flow. The causeway slowly is crumbly away and natural flow eventually will be restored. In the video below, we’re running north along the eastern edge of the causeway, shortly before exiting into Center Lagoon.
Later the day, Amanda took us out to Penguin Spit (bottom left in map) to brief us on snorkeling there. And since we were going out there anyway, we all went for a snorkel. No anchoring, even of dinghys, is allowed anywhere in the reserve except at the designated anchorage where Dirona is. Several buoys have been installed along the western reefs that small boats can tie off to to. The underwater life there is astonishing–we were particularly impressed with the colorful giant clams and stands of staghead coral over ten feet in diameter. Below are some stills and video that we shot.