View from Piper Aztec just before turning final, Aug 27, 1997.

French Frigate Shoals Today
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Here is a short video (21.2 Mb mpg file) showing an overflight of Tern Island and ending with a landing on Tern. Video taken by Allen Tucholski in 1997. (added 10-04-2006)


Track flights to/from Tern Island with This links to a slide show with music.
This is an extremely large file, suitable for broadband only. Images are screen-filling hi-res and the soundtrack is full fidelity. If you have the capability, you have got to see this fantastic video.

French Frigate Shoals Desktop Images

Collapsing Sea Walls Endanger Wildlife
October 2, 2000. Here is a Honolulu Advertiser article describing the deteriorating state of the sea walls surrounding Tern Island and plans for reconstruction. A tip of the hat to Jeff Winter of Kwajalein Island for giving us this link.
25th Anniversary of FFS Turtle Tagging
June 1, 1998, marked the 25th anniversary of the turtle tagging program at French Frigate Shoals. The tagging program has been a magnificent success and to commemorate the anniversary, Peter Bennett and Ursula Keuper-Bennett, authors of the award-winning Turtle Trax web site, have created a special web page. When you pay them a visit, also take a close look at some of their beautiful underwater photos of the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle.
The Monachus Guardian is a new website by IMMA, dedicated to the preservation of Monk Seals. The main focus of this site is THE MONACHUS GUARDIAN, a biannual newsletter offering international and regional news items, and in-depth articles and reports concerning the Mediterranean, Hawaiian and (where appropriate) Caribbean monk seals. A regularly updated 'Breaking News' section will be available as and when events dictate.

Staff and volunteers on Tern Island (1997)
At the far right is Lee Metzgar PhD, a Research Professor, Division of Biology, at the University of Montana.
Others - Brian, Jessica and Anthony (Refuge Manager)
NASA Astronaut, Charles E. Brady Jr, is at the bottom of the photo.

How about it Volunteers? Let's have some updated photos for this page!

Tern Island, part of French Frigate Shoals, now belongs to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife as a wildlife refuge as do all the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and their shoal areas. There are two main buildings on the island and several unused above-ground diesel tanks. Part of the seawall near one of the buildings is severely deteriorated. This portion of the wall stabilizes the foundation of the building. (It appears that this seawall and building are located on a corner of the island which has a history of seasonal beach erosion and natural rebuilding. See the main French Frigate Page reference to the "cement blocks". JML)

The tall Loran antenna tower is gone. The runway looks the same as in the old photos. There are now 3 fresh water tanks and one salt water tank, mounted on towers. A third building, located by the water towers is used as a storage shed.

The welcome sign reads, "Tern Island, Population 4, Elevation 6 feet, BYOB."

Entering the main barracks, you are in a large room which leads to a hallway with rooms on each side. Inside the hallway is a telephone with a crank. (Sounds like a military style sound-powered phone. JML)

There is a functional weather station which includes wind speed and direction.

The island now has over 200,000 birds including Frigate, White Terns, Red-footed Boobies, Albatross, and many more.

The most memorable experience was the night sky. Millions of stars and Mr. Tucholski's first view of the Milky Way. He also witnessed some incredible turtle hatchlings.

Allen installed a new satellite ground station and a Globe Wireless E-mail system. At the time, there were 8 people working on Tern - the Refuge Manager, and some biologists and volunteers.

more to follow...

Allen (on left) and Chuck Brady
E-mail from Thomas Georgen, 29 Aug 1997
Thanks for the map locations of French Frigate Shoals. We have a daughter (graduate student in marine geophysics) currently sailing around the shoals on a research cruise. Your website is great and gives us an idea of her location. The music on the website is great.
Thanks again.
The Georgens

Photo Gallery

The photos on file are listed below. Descriptions by Allen Tucholski.

View from outer space. Finally found a better shot but still can't make out Tern Island on it.

One of my favorite Flight Sim experiences is shooting approaches to Tern Island's tiny airstrip using Microsoft Flight Simulator 98 and a DC3 downloaded off the internet. French Frigate is reasonably well represented in the Flightsim including the locations of many of the smaller islets. In the above screen shot, the approach resulted in a good touchdown just beyond the threshold and a full stop with lots of runway to spare.

FFSHELO1.GIF - Screen shot of La Perouse Pinnacle as seen from Microsoft Flight Simulator 98 and the Bell 206 helicopter.

The Crew (2000)

(l-r) Scott Freeman, Nadya Leinau, Stacie Schoppman, Elena Rudd
The Crew (1999)


Gina Reppucci, Teri Kman, Aaron Dietrich, Vanessa Pepi, Mitch Craig, Melissa Shaw, Brad Page, Julie Rocho


Brian Allen

The Crew (1997)

Vanessa, Allison, Jessica and Anthony (Refuge Manager)

Vanessa (volunteer)

Brian, Anthony, Allison, Allen Tucholski, Chuck Brady

Allison, Vanessa and Jessica

Homeward Bound

French Frigate Shoals Aviation & Space History Page
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This page was created on September 20, 1997; last update: September 08, 2011

Mr. Allen Tucholski (KB8MTZ) can be reached at manual entry required - unclickable - unspammable
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