‘Surreal’: For the last 9 months, they’ve been isolated on a remote atoll with no news

Isolated on a remote island, DLNR crew says news during the pandemic was “surreal”

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A DLNR crew spent the last nine months hundreds of miles away from the global pandemic.

On Kure Atoll, they were also isolated from the tumultuous presidential election, the surging civil rights protests and the record hurricanes and wildfires on the mainland.

“Hearing about the riots, hearing about shortages and hearing about all the stuff seemed really surreal,” said Naomi Worcester, one of the leaders of a DLNR group.

Worcester said the group didn’t have internet access, cell phone service or television.

“It was definitely a bit of a shock coming back into the airport because all of the shops were boarded up and we’re all standing single file,” added Charlie Thomas, a volunteer with the crew.

The team deployed there to help restore the island’s native habitat and to protect the wildlife.

“A lot of non-native species and invasive species have been introduced along the way and they’ve kind of wrecked havoc on the natural cycles and they’re displacing species that are supposed to be there,” said Matt Saunter, a Kure Island field camp lead for the DLNR.

They also collected and removed marine debris.

DLNR crews say marine debris pose a threat to the local wildlife on Kure Island.
DLNR crews say marine debris pose a threat to the local wildlife on Kure Island. (Source: DLNR)

“The wildlife will get entangled and sometimes, the marine debris will be ingested,” said Saunter.

Added Worster: “Just the fact we’re out there and doing the work we’re doing is beneficial for the whole atoll.”

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