Packing for a Submarine: John Sparks and Explore21 Team Head to the Solomon Islands
by AMNH on
This month, Museum Curator John Sparks is leading The Explore21 Solomon Islands Expedition. A part of the Museum's Explore21 initiative, this three-week research journey is headquartered aboard the Research Vessel Alucia. Researchers will report periodically from the field.
The last two weeks have been a mad rush getting ready to depart New York for the Solomon Islands. Fiber optic cables critical to running our submersible cameras are going to arrive late, and a myriad of other essential equipment is scheduled to arrive at the Museum on the day of our departure….
Although we have been shipping equipment in advance to the Alucia, the vessel we will be based on, for several weeks, our group of five researchers departed the Museum with 29 large cases of luggage containing underwater camera equipment, lab supplies, and our diving gear.
After a couple of hours of heated discussion at the American Airlines counter at John F. Kennedy Airport, we are told our bags can only be checked to Nandi (Nadi), Fiji, not to Honiara, our final destination. We are flying from NYC to Los Angeles, then to Fiji, and finally to Honiara on the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
We meet our expedition underwater cinematographer at LAX and add another 10 large cases of camera equipment, including an underwater RED Epic 3D rig, capable of generating IMAX-quality footage. The flights are long and uneventful, and I try to get some sleep in anticipation of all that will need to be done in Honiara to mobilize our expedition. We fly over Guadalcanal, a rugged, mountainous island, from the south and circle around Henderson Field, a site critical to the allied cause in the war in the Pacific during World War II. The shores of Honiara, as well as underwater in Iron Bottom Sound, are strewn with wreckage attesting to the epic battles that took place here just over 70 years ago.
As the remainder of our research team works on transferring equipment to our hotel, I go off in search of supplies I have stored in Honiara since our last visit just over a year ago. It is hot and oppressively humid.
Click here to read more from the explorers.