Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Archipelago: Portraits of Life in Hawaii

Just got back from an amazing lecture and photographic slide show at National Geographic headquarters.

They showed hundreds of portrait-like close-up photos of all the spectacular wildlife on a handful of atolls in the northwest island chain of Hawaii. These atolls are not open to visitors. In fact, Nat. Geo. photographers had to go through a year-long process to obtain permission from NOAA to visit most atolls---a process that included only being able to wear soft, brand new clothing that had gone through a freezing process in order to prevent introducing new and unwanted species to the islands.

It blows my mind that there is that much life that will only be seen by human eyes a couple of times, ever. In many cases, there were species that existed on a 65 acre atoll, and nowhere else on earth. But it's not immune to human impact. They showed several slides of beaches strewn with washed up human garbage---plastic lighters, buoys, bottles, etc. The birds accidentally feed their chicks some of that plastic and they end up dying. Other than that somewhat tragic fact, it really makes you realize how enormous and untouched the earth is, and how lucky I am that I live in a city where I can bike eight minutes and see such a thing for only five bucks.
I read the full article in the last magazine - It's pretty amazing.

But listen - there's another feature in that issue about Admiral Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar which is a must read. It's like Master and Commander but real.
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