View from Piper Aztec just before turning final, Aug 27, 1997.
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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)ffsaviation1.mpg
Track flights to/from Tern Island with http://flightaware.com/live/airport/PHHF/
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
http://www.monachus-guardian.org 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.
The photos on file are listed below. Descriptions by Allen Tucholski.
- FFSBIRD2.JPG - Allen holding a Sooty Tern.
- FFSPAN2.JPG - The water tanks provide a good reference when looking at the old photos. (JML)
- FFSRAD2.JPG - Allison, using the ATS-3 Satellite Communications Radio Network. Installed by NASA (Allen Tucholski, Chuck Brady, )
- SEALBCH2.JPG, SEALSLP2.JPG and SEALBCH7.JPG -
Seals resting on the beach after being in the ocean for several days.
- FFS0093.JPG - Large monk seal snuggled into the sand.
- TURTCHK2.JPG - Anthony, Brian and Allison holding and measuring a female Turtle
that found its way onto the beach and into the breakwall area. Estimated
weight at 300-400Lbs. We later carried this turtle in a net and released
her back into the ocean. It took myself, Chuck Brady, Anthony, Brian and
Allison to carry her back to safety and into the ocean.
- SEATURT2.JPG, SEATURT5.JPG
and SEATURT7.JPG - Closeups of the above turtle. The are probably the
clearest and most vivid photos of a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle available on the internet short of the
Turtle Trax web site. (JML)
- TWOBRDS2.JPG - Abstract art and the real thing. Also the inspiration for the
separation graphic used on this page.
- FFS0293.JPG - Outline of where I believe the new shoreline is located
based on conversations with Allen and the photo pair listed below. Allen reported a small building
about 8' square partially submerged in the water. After viewing these photos, he confirmed that it was
the small out-building just to the right of where I have drawn the yellow line. (JML)
- FFS0282.JPG - In the above photo, just below the black rubber tank
the we had named "The Whale", you will find an antenna base with the white
fiberglass radiator extending across the whale. (On the original French Frigate Shoals web page,
this is the antenna that hooked an albatross.) In this photo pair, you see another
old photo of the antenna along with one taken by Mr. Tucholski which shows how much the
beach has advanced and how the sand has sunk below the base exposing much of the concrete
- FFS0132.JPG and FFS0022.JPG
are half of what the trip was all about. This is the antenna array at ground level and at its final
position on the rooftop.
- FFS0032.JPG - Solar panel array located above the "dry room". Provides DC
power for Tern Island.
- FFS0052.JPG - My sleeping quarters. Notice 3 candles on the nite stand.
The first nite I was there, 2 White Terns stayed together sitting on the window
ledge all evening. They woke me in the morning!
- FFS0083.JPG - Frigate birds sitting in the sun.
- FFS0202.JPG - Diesel tanks, no longer used. Believed to have run large generators
back in the Loran days. (Web master note: Looking at the old photos, these diesel tanks seem to have been re-arranged from
time to time as well as changing in number. Hurricanes may have been the reason. The tanks held a two-year supply of
diesel fuel for the 4 generators operated by the Loran station. 2 generators at a time were run 24-hours a day. The tanks
were replenished once a year by the CGC Kukui. Small landing craft carrying large tanks would come to the nearby
beach and a motor driven pump would send the fuel through a long hose to the station tanks.)
- FFS0153.JPG - Sooty terns on the ground at sunset.
- FFS0122.JPG - My favorite - the Red-footed Boobie.
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
The Crew (1997)
Vanessa, Allison, Jessica and Anthony (Refuge Manager)
Brian, Anthony, Allison, Allen Tucholski, Chuck Brady
Allison, Vanessa and Jessica
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
Visit his web page at http://radioal.com/
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