18 Sep

We’re still flying! And new Midway film teaser…









Dear supporters of Midway:

Thank you from deep in our hearts for all the support and comments and well-wishes. Midway has been shouldering the blustery winds of film post-production, taking its inspiration from the albatrosses’ winged perseverance through all that man and nature send their way.

We are proud to announce that a work-in-progress version of the film screened at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival last week, and had several edifying showings over the course of the festival. Co-directors Jordan and Emiliani are now back to work polishing a final version of our film. Our new goal: another festival premiere in early 2014.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already, please check out the new film teaser created for TIFF at www.midwayfilm.com.

It’s been a long flight, but Midway is closer than ever…and we are so grateful you are with us on this journey.

In deep appreciation,
the Midway film team

10 Feb

Midway V – Poem: On witnessing an albatross feeding

On witnessing an albatross feeding

To witness a young albatross open wide
its translucent, newborn throat,
open the soft, pink shell to its mother,
to the contents of the sea she carried
in her body for thousands of miles,
for over twenty million years – to watch,
today, the chick wholly embrace
the amber-colored squid oil
and cloaked shards of plastic,
to see it all slip down in an act
of ancient swallowing – is to witness
eons of trust absorbed into nature’s gut.
And for our own trusting throats
defended by lips, teeth and taste buds,
we evolved to sweeten what poisons us.


02 Apr

Midway Journey III – Poem: Courtship Medley à la Albatross

At this moment on Midway Atoll, the juvenile albatrosses are in the throes of their courtship dances. Their nonstop rave is the main source of all the buoyant motion and noise on the island as they seek a bond before flying out to sea to feed for the remainder of the summer. In this poem I’ve attempted to capture the sights and sounds of this ecstatic dancing season.

Courtship Medley à la Albatross

It begins with a prance dance,
a tiptoe head-bob waddle
and a wing fluff.  Then, fake a preen,
shake out a sideways
head-breaking shriek,
a chair-leg-floor-scrape scream,
and sidle into a crooked raga
with fast and furious tabla drums,
and applause, applause, wait –

it’s a drill-hammer fixing
a squeaky door behind the beak,
a flanking feather-grab tease
to a show of chocolate origami wings,
quick switcheroo to a bass kazoo,
throw the head up high, trumpet
to blow the clouds from the sky,
it’s a match, it’s a mate, a pact
to hatch an egg, raise a chick,

then bid adieu until next season,
dancing days forever over
in favor of a lifelong bond.

~Victoria Sloan Jordan


photo: kris krug

30 Mar

MIDWAY JOURNEY III – Open Hearts, Broken Hearts

It’s the mid-point of our current journey and Chris Jordan checks in from an albatross-covered field on Midway Atoll to share the abundant sights and sounds, as well as the realization that all albatross chicks here likely have plastic in their bellies.

16 Mar

MIDWAY JOURNEY – Education Outreach

Chris Jordan and Jan Vozenilek share their experiences on Midway with students at Penticton Secondary School in British Columbia – Canada, and announce that Emily Chartrand, a grade 11 student, will be joining the expedition on their next journey to Midway Atoll in March 2011.

Working with Emily, the Midway Team is expanding its education outreach program, to connect with high school students in Canada and the United States. Starting on Sunday March 20th, Emily will be providing daily reports on her blog:


Video by: CHBC – Global TV – Kelowna, BC
Reporter: April Lawrence

16 Jul

MIDWAY JOURNEY II – Kaleidoscope, a poem by Victoria Sloan Jordan

In this poetic offering, a plastic filled bird carcass becomes a symbol for awakening.

Filmed and edited by Jan Vozenilek

Music by Christen Lien

16 Oct

Midway Brushstrokes 2

In the midst of the tragedy of plastic pollution on Midway, Jan Vozenilek’s camera tuns, for an instant, to the triumph of life over decay.

During our journey, Jan would occasionally steal away from the group, and wander alone in the island with his camera.  The rest of us would wonder where he was, and what kind of footage he would be capturing.

The scenes on Brushstrokes 2 speak of moments of intimacy, where the cinematographer is alone in the field, tuning into the pulse of the land, and letting its natural beauty tell an ancient story of survival and renewal.

In this short video lies a reverence for nature so profound, that our eye has to concentrate on the small details, and peek shyly through blades of grass, lest the direct contemplation of the greatness of it all be overwhelming.  As we watch, we feel the emergence of that peculiar sense wonder that is often thought to belong only to childhood.  A sense of awe and discovery that we are taught to suppress and forget as we grow up.

As time slows down, and the rays of golden light fall gently on the tortured landscape of Midway, subtle brushstrokes of natural beauty are painted over a canvas too many times torn and blotted by the blindness of man.

Video by Jan Vozenilek. Music by Vanessa LeBourdais.

04 Oct

Plastic Water

Scientists say that plastic now outweighs plankton 6 to 1 in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The lagoon of Midway Atoll is the perfect laboratory to witness all sizes of plastic slowly breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces.  A variety of plastic washes up on the beaches daily, but not before some local fish make a meal of it.

Video by: Jan Vozenilek.  Voiceover: Victoria Sloan Jordan.

Music by Christen Lien

21 Sep


In the middle of the Pacific lies a sandy island, where seabirds and humans mingle in a process of renewal and soul-searching.  A place where the middle of nowhere becomes not only the middle of somewhere, but the heart of everything.

Midway Atoll is a place of ancient power. A revered elder in a long dynasty of fire that once stretched from Kure Atoll to Kaua’i.  Flowers of molten lava that bloomed and decayed with the long seasons of geology, and left a marine landscape strewn with exquisite petals of azure.

In the Hawaiian tradition, the rosary of atolls that form the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands represents a long lineage of Kupuna, ancestors, that live a solitary life, like hermits, in the heart of  Papahanaumokuakea,  the place where the union of Papa, the mother Earth, and Wakea, the paternal sky, “gives birth to the islands in the vast expanses”.  For the natives, this long line of small islands is not only the umbilical cord to their past, but also a series of stepping stones along an ancient route that leads their souls to the netherworld.  Leaping from island to island, the spirits of the dead advance westwards towards their meeting with Po, the great darkness, where they reunite with their dead relatives.

Understanding the significance of Midway in the Hawaiian tradition has added many layers of meaning to our journey.  Layers that fit together perfectly, even if we look at Midway from a literal perspective.  After all, the Hawaiian view of this island as an old elder has been corroborated by geology; and the notion that this place is a living organism fits perfectly with James Lovelock’s theories.

MidwayJourney_Manuel_Maqueda_day3 1As for the souls and spirits that inhabit this place, they are present in every decaying building, in every trembling blade of grass that breaks through the tarmac of an abandoned runway, and in every glorious sunset over the turquoise waters of the lagoon.  Even those who don’t believe in the supernatural often feel a chill going down their spine when a white tern flutters and swoops over their heads, so close that one can feel a delicate whiff of warm wind with every flap of their wings of pure white.

And yet Midway is a land raped and tortured by man. A land destroyed, rebuilt, exploited, deformed and, these days, covered with rotting carcasses of albatross chicks full of plastic.  It is a hub for an intricate web of messages and  symbols that we came here to explore.  A place for witnessing, a place for learning, and a place, perhaps, for redemption.

I write these lines as we leave behind the middle point of our journey, and enter our final week on the island. By degrees, the pressure of accomplishing the tangible goals of our expedition is subsiding. And simultaneously, I feel the urgency to pursue and share the intangible.

I hope that sharing with you the significance of Midway in the Hawaiian tradition is a good place to start.  After all, who would have thought that here, where the union of Papa and Wakea gave birth to a tiny island in the vast expanses, the middle of nowhere could become not only the middle of somewhere, but also the beginning of everything?

-Manuel Maqueda