Another "Only on Kwaj" Moment

When's the last time you went to make coffee and had a gecko run out from underneath the maker? Yeah, me either....until now. Needless to say there was some involuntary squealing and lots of giggling when I realized what it was. This wouldn't happen if my cat was doing his job....slacker. ;)

In other news, I got a new camera for Christmas so I'll be able to post pictures again.


I Don't Get It

Not too long ago, they posted these signs in the "industrial" area. I pass by them every day and I think the same thing....

Makes sense.....

Good advice......

Sure, why not?

What exactly does this mean? And how does it fit in with the rest of these safety messages? I don't get it.


Coolest Thing Ever!

I love blue!
Blue everything.
This starfish has to be the coolest thing I've ever seen though. I didn't see a blue starfish until I went to Palau but this one was found near the island of Nell, not too far from Kwajalein.


Department of Defense Announces Successful Test of Army Advanced Hypersonic Weapon Concept

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) News Release

On the Web: http://www.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=14920
Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Public contact: http://www.defense.gov/landing/comment.aspx or +1 (703) 571-3343

November 17, 2011
Department of Defense Announces Successful Test of Army Advanced Hypersonic Weapon Concept

Today the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command conducted the first test flight of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept. At 6:30 a.m. EST (1:30 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian Time), a first-of-its-kind glide vehicle, designed to fly within the earth’s atmosphere at hypersonic speed and long range, was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii to the Reagan Test Site, U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll.

The objective of the test is to collect data on hypersonic boost-glide technologies and test range performance for long-range atmospheric flight. Mission emphasis is aerodynamics; navigation, guidance, and control; and thermal protection technologies.

A three-stage booster system launched the AHW glide vehicle and successfully deployed it on the desired flight trajectory. The vehicle flew a non-ballistic glide trajectory at hypersonic speed to the planned impact location at the Reagan Test Site. Space, air, sea, and ground platforms collected vehicle performance data during all phases of flight. The data collected will be used by the Department of Defense to model and develop future hypersonic boost-glide capabilities.

The AHW program is managed and executed by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command program office in Huntsville, Ala. The booster system and glide vehicle were developed by Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M. and the thermal protection system by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, Huntsville, Ala.

The Department of Defense is using AHW to develop and demonstrate technologies for Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS). As part of the CPGS effort, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency conducted boost-glide flight tests in April 2010 and August 2011, results from which were used in planning the AHW flight test.

For more information contact Lt. Col. Melinda F. Morgan, melinda.morgan@osd.mil or call 703-697-1252.


Please Leave A Message......

It's vacation time! Just a short one; a week in Palau. It's time though. The last time I got off this rock was in April so I'm ready and this should be a blast! I'll tell you all about it when I return. Later!


Thank You!

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who reads this blog, and for the numerous folks that have contacted me with additional questions and comments. I've met several folks who have ended up getting jobs on the island and have introduced themselves letting me know that they found my blog while researching Kwajalein.

My apologies for not keeping on top of it a little better lately. KRS monitors this blog and I have to make sure I don't talk about them or work so I'm limited to writing about my extra-curricular activities. This is all well and good but I'm so busy doing them I don't take the time to sit down (on my really slow, dial-up internet) to write about them. Sorry.

I'm still diving, hanging out at the beach, partying with friends and having a great time and in two weeks I'm headed to Palau for vacation.

I just wanted to take a moment to acknowlege my supporters! Thank you all.


Night Diving

Night diving has all but been banned for Kwajalein but occasionally there are opportunities to pay for an evening when the commercial divers are available and we're even had a few sponsored night dives that anyone can participate in. As part of my advanced open water dive class that I'm taking now, we got to do a night dive last night during one of these sponsored events. It was an interesting experience. The bioluminescence was my favorite part. Being in that environment with limited visibility does impose some challenges and makes for a completely different experience. I'm not going to say that was my favorite thing I've done so far. I think I get much more pleasure out of it when I'm able to see more.


Mission Statement

I was at the Kwajalein Hospital today and noticed a sign on the wall that read:
Treat Patients With Respect
Treat Coworkers With Respect
Don't Screw Up
I guess that about covers it.....


Bus Guidelines

This was one of the rules that I saw posted on the Roi bus today:

No open fish containers allowed on bus.

Where else in the world is that a rule? ;)


Never Saw That Before

Today I saw a chicken eating a crab....

There are about 10 or so chickens that live on Roi; I always enjoy seeing them since they seem so out of place.

My Mom is a big chicken fan so wherever I go I take pictures of them for her.

I sure wish I had a picture of this!



I've been on Roi-Namur for almost a week now and if you didn't know already, rats are rampant here. Much more so than on Kwaj. Mainly because half of Roi is jungle and there are so few residents.

Everywhere I go, I see rats traps and I've been hearing rumors that they are planning to introduce cats to help with the rat population as well. In the rat traps though, I'm not seeing the typical bait one would find in the States....I'm guessing the rats here are a bit more "gourmet". Most of the traps I've seen have coconut in them. Mmmm....coconut. Typically you'll find cheese or peanut butter or as one site suggested; bacon! (What a waste of perfectly good bacon!)

Also if you don't already know, the people here are referred to (affectionately) as Roi Rats as well. Us Kwaj folks don't get a cool name but we do live "downtown".

It's always fun to come to Roi to work for awhile for a change of pace. Just make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the rats....


Fish Story

I was taking a break out by the lagoon today and as I was sitting on the rocks staring into the water I saw a fish cruise by. I believe it is a needlefish.
That's not so unusual but as I was watching it, I saw it go after another fish and THAT fish jumped out of the water to get away. Kind of interesting.
I keep expecting to see fish getting eaten when I'm diving but I haven't yet. I'll keep looking though!


Wow Wowee Wow Wow!

I woke up to the loudest, closest, scariest sounding thunder of my life this morning. I swear the thundercloud was sitting on top of my house! There was no time between lightning flashes and thunder and you could feel it. It was very impressive!

Currently we are up +20.69" for the year!


This Has Been My Preoccupation *Updated*

Well, now that it's plastered all over the news and on several military websites, I can post about the project I had the priviledge of working on recently.

I found a few articles on the DARPA website this morning that are very informative and interesting.

The first is an overview of the project and the second is specific to this mornings results.
This article from Fox News presents a little less technical outline of the project.

I gotta admit, it's pretty cool to get to be part of activities like this.

I was forwarded a couple of more articles on the HTV mission this morning.
In this CNET article, I was on one of the 20 "test assets".
And in this article from CBS News we are listed as an "observation station". This article includes a video of what was expected to be the flight path of the vehicle.


It's Classified.....

Oh how I wish I could talk about some of the cool stuff Ive been doing for work lately......unfortunately, I can't.


Going Out To Sea!

I'm going to get the opportunity to work here:
USAV Worthy

I never though I would be doing this when I came out here but I certainly couldn't pass up the opportunity for this experience.

It ought to be interesting!


Start Building The Ark!

Last night we got 2.73 inches of rain! That's more than a quarter of what we got all last month in one day!

The streets were flooded, the ditch next to my house was completely full and anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in it was probably wishing they had their scuba gear.

The days have been hot and still with little wind for the last few days as well. It appears that the doldrums are back!


Dive Certified!

I am now PADI Open Water Diver certified!

Over the 4th of July weekend I got to do 6 dives! Four were for the certification and two were to celebrate!

I couldn't have asked for a better start to my diving experience. I got to see some really incredible stuff on those dives; a sea turtle, trillions of little fishies, a HUGE manta ray (the instructor said he was probably about 12' across but he looked more like 20!), two white tipped sharks and three ship wrecks! Amazing!

I can tell you right now I'm going to have to get an underwater camera. I must take pictures!

Currently I am limited to diving 60' or less. The next step is to take the Advanced Open Water class which will allow me to go to 130'. Beyond that, I'm interested in getting Nitrox certified and at some point after that Rescue Diver. I feel it's the responsible thing to do to be able to help out fellow divers if any issues arise.


Experiencing Technical Difficulties....Again.

Ahh the inconvenience of Kwaj......

My laptop hard drive crashed on me the other day and it's going to take at least two weeks for me to get a replacement and then however long it takes me to sit down and rebuild it.....fortunately for me I know how.

Unfortunately, while I can still post and get my email on other computers, it's going to detain me from uploading any pictures for awhile.

And I so wanted you to see how empty the shelves are in the stores. I'm beginning to wonder if they are trying to starve us out....


Second Pool Session

Our second pool session went far better than the first. In the first, you are introduced to all the equipment and it's a lot to process. This time, we were more familiar and knew what to expect so it went much smoother.

If all continues to go well, as of July 4th, I should be open water certified! My plan is to continue to Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver and when it's available (coming soon) to get Nitrox certified as well. Beyond that.....who knows.


First Pool Session

I'm about halfway through my scuba diving lessons. I'm enjoying it and can't wait to get out of the pool. The first two sessions are in the swimming pool so you can get used to the equipment and practice your technique before you add factors like current and real depth to the experience. Now I just need to get my own gear....
Setting up the gear


Sailing To Bijej

Bijej (pronounced bee-gee) is another beautiful island in our atoll which is a pretty convenient 3 hour "straight" shot from Kwaj by sailboat. A few weeks ago I got to go up with a group of folks for a day of sun, fun and snorkeling. We stayed a few hours and sailed back in the sunset. It was really wonderful.


What To Bring

I'm constantly being asked about what to bring/not bring with you when you relocate to Kwaj. This is a tricky question. First of all, it's really a personal preference choice and second, it depends on what company your hire on with and what your status is.

If you are a KRS employee, you can bring 750 pounds unnacompanied and 1500 if you are accompanied. I think you can add X amount for each child as well but it's not a large number.

USAKA and AAFES employees get something outrageous like 15,000 pounds and a house no matter what your status. In this case, you can bring everything if you want.

I've seen people come out here with two checked bags from the plane and that's it.

The items I would definately suggest you bring would be electronics. Computers, TV's, etc. These are not readily available here. You may get lucky and get something good when someone PCS's but the store does not carry much if any selection.

The one thing I do recommend is to mail bedding and towels to yourself or your sponsor before you come so they are here when you get here. (At least two weeks) Again, the selection is very limited here and the hospitality kit includes these items but you only get to borrow them for a limited time and they are not exactly nice.

As far as bikes go...I would almost suggest you wait until you get here. It could take almost two months for your stuff to arrive so you will have to borrow or walk or ride the bus until then. Also, you can pretty much guarantee a bike you use in the States won't hold up out here. Mine only lasted about 6 months. Unfortunately a good bike here is about $400 but it will be sure to last.

Hopefully other Kwaj folks will pipe up in the comments if there is anything I forgot....


It's Time!

I'm finally ready to dive!

In about two weeks I'll start the classes for getting my open water certification.

That should make for a few good posts...


Tonight's Movie Is....

Drop Zone Fiji.
The Drop Zone Fiji is the ultimate dive and surf film which follows professional surfers on the adventure of a lifetime. The film documents professional surfers Alex Gray, Cheyne Magnusson and Holly Beck, Maria Gonzalez as they surf legendary breaks, dive pristine waters and immerse themselves in the Fijian culture.


Parrothead Party

For the second year (that I'm aware of) one of our long-term, re-tread, fun-loving islanders has pulled off a great Jimmy Buffet Parrothead party including coconut bowling, Land Shark beer and a ton of fun. The only rule; don't show up if your not dressed the part.


Stunning Sunsets

We have been getting some phenomenal sunsets lately......


Rusty Family Triatholon

A few weeks ago was the annual Kwajalein Rustman Triathlon. I had several friends that completed that event and it was very inspiring to say the least. Just last week though, they held the annual Rusty Family Triathlon which is a half marathon. Most of the participants in this event are younger but equally impressive. It was great to see so many folks out being healthy and fit!

Nice job everyone!


The Coasties Are Here!

Every so often we get ships in for fueling. Sometimes Navy, NOAA, and sometimes Coast Guard. I've been hearing about their arrival for days and didn't really think about it much but there are a lot of people here that get excited to see new faces on island and really look forward to these events.

The ship visiting the weekend is the Coast Guard Cutter JARVIS.

The Cutter is named after Captain David H. Jarvis of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service. Captain Jarvis served aboard cutters HAMILTON, RUSH, and BEAR. He devoted the majority of his career to pioneering and developing maritime activities in the Bering Sra off if Alaska's northwest coast. While assigned to the BEAR, he led the famous three man expedition to save 300 whalers stranded off Barrow Point, Alaska. Trapped by ice, the harsh environment, and a dwindling food supply, the whalers had little chance of surviving. Through the relentless artic winter, Captain Jarvis' expedition drove a herd of reindeer across 1,500 miles of Artic ice and snow to rescue the starving whalers. For his heroism, he was awarded a special Congressional Gold Medal.

Click here for more information on the ship and it's crew.


Slacka Blogga

I've been off island for two weeks on vacation and since my adventures weren't Kwaj related, I decided not to post anything while I was gone. Today I was informed that I was slacking on my blogging duties (thanks Bill!). I knew I hadn't posted in awhile but I was really surprised to discover that I've only been back for 9 days! It feels like at least a month, I've been so busy since I got back.

In the last 9 days I've:
  • Been sailing 3 times
  • Been to 2 Yacht Club Happy Hours
  • Played softball twice (we lost both times)
  • Spent an hour at the gym 3 times
  • Went on a B-boat snorkeling trip to Bijej
  • Cheered on friends in the Rustman Triathlon
  • Been to two barbecues
  • Played a game of Electronic Battleship
  • Worked my full time job
  • Kept up on my chores (cleaning, dishes, laundry, yard work, etc.)
  • I know I'm forgetting something.....

Amazingly, I haven't taken one picture in all that time. I usually carry my camera everywhere with me. I'm also feeling incredibly satisfied; enjoying my life again. It feels really good!

There are some upcoming events I will be sure to post; sooner, rather than later. (And with pictures!)


Blasting Target From Sky, Key Test of Missile Defense System a Success

The U.S. military successfully conducted its most challenging test yet of its ballistic missile defense system, blasting an incoming target out of the skies over the Pacific Ocean.

In the test, an intermediate-range missile target was launched from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, approximately 2,300 miles southwest of Hawaii. A ground-based radar detected the launch and relayed that information to a central system, which passed the data to the Aegis destroyer USS O'Kane.

That ship launched an SM-3 Block IA missile 11 minutes later to shoot down the incoming threat -- a process the military calls "birth to death" tracking.

"Initial indications are that all components performed as designed," the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said in a statement, which described it as "the most challenging test to date" of the Aegis BMD system.

The test was conducted by the MDA, using Lockheed Martin's shipboard Aegis combat system and a Raytheon missile interceptor, with U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS O'Kane and soldiers from the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command operating from the Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.

It was a crucial test for the program: The last two intercept tests of a separate U.S. ground-based missile defense, aimed at protecting U.S. soil, have failed, Reuters reported.

The "successful test demonstrated the capability of the first phase" of the European missile shield announced by President Barack Obama in September 2009, the MDA statement said.

"The two demonstration Space Tracking and Surveillance Satellites (STSS), launched by MDA in 2009, successfully acquired the target missile, providing stereo 'birth to death' tracking of the target," the statement said.

"The Lockheed Martin-led team has evolved Aegis from an anti-ship missile system to the basis for the U.S. approach to global missile defense," said Lisa Callahan, vice president of maritime ballistic missile defense programs for Lockheed Martin, in a statement about the test. "With this test, Aegis BMD proves that it can expand the battlespace and destroy ballistic missile threats earlier in their trajectory than ever before."

The defense system is meant to shield the U.S. from a potential ballistic missile attack, possibly from North Korea or Iran.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/15/military-successfully-tests-missile-defense/#ixzz1JnlXtZ9P


Spring Break Music Festival 2011

The Kwajalein Yacht Club sponsored yet another Spring Break Music Festival and as usual, it was a lot of fun. A few of the festivities included:

  • Dunk Tank
  • Many Talented Singers/Bands
  • Chili Cook-off
  • BBQ
  • Slip-and-Slide
  • Vendor Booths
  • Home Brew Beer Garden
  • Temporary Tattoos
It was a good time. I was there for the entire thing, helping set up the Yacht Club Ships Store in the beginning and enjoying the various activities all the way til the last band played. We really are lucky to have so many talented folks on this small piece of land.


What Do You Think?

Is it time for a new fender?

Yeah, I thought so too. But do you think there are any in the store here? No!
I'll have to try and get one in Honolulu on my way through for vacation in a few weeks.


Do You Know Where Flies Sleep?

I do!

Well, not all of them maybe.....

The other night I was out walking my cat. Yes; cat. It is against USAKA regulation for any animal to be outside unless they are on a leash. Just to clarify, you don't walk a cat, a cat walks you. If I even try to decide where we are going, the cat will do nothing but lay down and has to be carried back to the house. Also, he will never return to the house on his own....I can only let him wander as far as I'm willing to carry his 16 pound butt back to the house!

But I digress...

So I was out walking my cat, which is not a brisk event; there is a lot of exploring that happens....when I noticed that there were several flies (like houseflies) clinging to the ends of a palm frond. Next palm, same thing. Almost every palm tree I came to had at least a few flies attached to it.

We always talk about how the flies "go to bed" after the sun goes down around here but I didn't really think of where they may be going. I kind of half thought they were like the sun, when they go to bed here they are just getting started in some other part of the world. So I Googled it. http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/604566.html

I tried to take a picture but it's kind of difficult because of the wind. The palm trees won't hold still and by the time I get close enough the flies are on to me and take off. If I ever manage to capture one on film, I'll make sure to post it.



Japan Earthquake Unleashes Tsunami *UPDATED*

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii has widened its tsunami warning to cover most of the Pacific Ocean, including Russia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific coast of South America.

Read the full article regarding the tragedy in Japan here.

There have been at least three tsunami warnings since I've been here this last two years, maybe even four. So far none of them have amounted to much of anything but a high tide.

The risk of a tsunami on Kwaj is pretty much nil, as the drop off from the shore to the ocean floor is severe, and the shock waves from a quake would be slowed down as they approached.

However, a siren is now blaring but I don't know what it means.....good thing my bed is on the second floor!

**All is well here, no wave action to speak of. Thank you all for your concern.**

Sorry, I've Been Busy

As I've said before, there is no lack of stuff to keep you busy around here and I don't even take advantage of all of it myself. I've yet to dive, I haven't been fishing in months and I've only been to the hobby shop a few times since I've been here.

This week my schedule includes the following:
  • Sunday: Sailboat Race (this got canceled because of lack of wind and I was called into work so I'm kind of glad or I would have been terribly jealous!)
  • Monday: Softball Practice
  • Tuesday: Bowling
  • Wednesday: Making Shrimp and Shiitake Risotto for dinner with friends
  • Thursday: Yacht Club Happy Hour
  • Friday: Pampered Chef Party
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: I was going to go to the St. Patty's Day Celebration at the Vet's Hall - Live music by the Insane Gecko Posse. But now I'm going on an overnight sailing trip!! I've wanted to do this for a very long time! YAY!
  • Monday: Softball Practice
On top of all that, I've been working a minimum of 9 hours a day, running 3 times a week and spending time with my cat.  I've been busy!


    Awfully Wet Dry Season

    Per the the official web site for the ATSC/RTS weather station:
    Kwajalein’s location gives it a tropical marine climate. The atoll experiences a relatively dry windy season from mid-December to mid-May and a relatively wet calm (wind) season from mid-May to mid-November. Normal annual rainfall is approximately 100 inches; approximately 72% of the annual rainfall occurs during the wet season and 28% occurs during the dry season. On average, the prevailing wind direction is from the east-northeast during the entire year, although, winds may become more variable during the wet season, when occasional southerly or even westerly winds occur. Average wind speed is near 17 mph from December to April and near 12 mph from May to November.

    The average daily maximum temperature is 86.5ºF; the average minimum is 77.6ºF. The extreme temperatures are 97ºF and 68ºF. Average relative humidity ranges from 83% at local noon to 78% at midnight.

    Although most of the rainfall at Kwajalein comes from showers, thunderstorms are infrequent. On average, thunderstorms occur fewer than 12 days each year. The frequency of thunderstorms ranges from 0.1 per month from January to March to 2.0 per month in September. During the modern era of record keeping, since 1919, a fully developed typhoon has never struck Kwajalein Atoll; however, tropical storms (sustained winds of 40 to 74 mph) impact the atoll about once every four to seven years on average.

    2011 March total: 3.02”

    2011 March deviation: +2.03”

    2011 Yearly total: 20.92”

    2011 Yearly deviation: +11.08”


    Another Unknown

    OK, here's another one for all you past Kwaj residents or maybe even someone who was involved in developing this.....

    There is a channel/trench/culvert(?) that runs approximately 2 blocks from the corner near the Small Boat Marina and lagoon road, near the AAFES warehouse. Some of you may not recognize this shot since there is a building missing just to the right of where the bus is. It was torn down last year.
    When the tide is really high, this channel fills up and there can even be some random fish swimming around in there. It appears to dead-end under the AAFES warehouse.

    Does anyone know what this is for?

    There is another one that runs near the fuel pier and ends just as mysteriously kind of in a field. I'm very curious; it's not to prevent flooding of some kind is it? That doesn't really make any sense...

    I can't wait to hear your ideas.


    Hobie Cat Sailing

    I got to do something today I haven't done in 30 years! Might as well say I've never done it since the first time, I was a kid and didn't get to participate much and it was nothing like what we did today.....

    This is what I got to do today:
    This picture isn't from today but we were definitely at this angle a few times. I can pretty much guarantee that any Hobie Cat pictures you see were not taken by people on Hobie Cats. You are far too busy to take pictures and there is no place to keep anything without it flying off the boat.

    What fun it was! I never expected it to be so fun. I'm thinking this is my new challenge, learn how to sail it, not just be crew.

    I also learned how to recover after it capsized. That was also pretty fun. I couldn't find any pictures of that but I found this one which I thought was pretty funny:


    Lovely Evening

    The other night I grabbed my beach blanket and headed down to the lagoon watch the sunset. It was a beautiful evening. I got quite a few shots but this was the best:

    Last night was another gorgeous sunset but unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me.


    Wet Weekend

    From February 1st to the 5th we barely got any precipitation at all. The weekend hit and we got 5 inches! 3.47 of it on Monday (our Sunday) Here are a couple of shots to show a little bit of how it looked. So, not much beach time this weekend. Maybe next weekend.


    Sticking Around For Awhile

    Well, I did it.

    I signed the contract form to continue my employment on Kwaj on what is commonly known here as "rolling 90's". This means the next time I'm eligible to leave is July as long as I provide 90 days notice; after that October, then January and so on. Of course, the company always has the option to end the contract at any time but that's nothing new.

    So, a few more months of sailing, snorkeling and island exploration for me! Oh, and work. Did I forget to mention that?


    Fairy Terns

    I took these pictures today of a white turn and her fuzzy little baby. I think it's funny that the Mom is sitting on the baby because it's not like it needs to be kept warm. I wondered if maybe she was actually shading it.


    Winding Down

    Well, for those of you that have been following along, you know that I've almost completed my contract and it's time to start thinking about what to do next.

    My original contract would have ended in February but when I got promoted and my status changed to accompanied, I was required to sign a year contract extension which makes my new contract end date April 15th.

    A few days ago, I received a letter from HR stating that I was eleigible for re-contracting and I currently have three choices:
    • Sign up for one more year which would make it April 2012
    • Switch to rolling 90 day contracts, which means I can leave at any time as long as 90 days notice is provided
    • Terminate my contract on the original agreed upon date, April 2011
    I have to make this decision before February 14th.

    At this moment in time, I am ready to go.

    It's been fun here, it's nice to know I have a guaranteed job (although we did have a round of layoffs), I'll really miss the 12 hours of daylight every day and the beautiful, beautiful landscape. I have to admit though, there are times when the lack of seasonal changes and the inability to get away can be frustrating and boring.

    I spoke with HR to discuss these options and the rolling 90 day contracts offer the most flexibility but they are still tricky. If I did that, the next soonest date I could leave would be July. And I haven't figured out how to arrange for a new job that will wait until your 90 days is up to hire you. Getting off the island almost seems as hard as getting on, unless you just call it good when your contract ends, job or no job lined up.

    We'll see.