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Hawaiian Shell News
An Educational publication of the
Hawaiian Malacological Society

Majuro Marshall  Islands Trip
28 January, 1996
Introduction & Comments by Wesley M. Thorsson


This set of volumes provides photographic and written descriptions of the common shells of Majuro Atol. I had previously spent time diving in Majuro in 1774 and 1978 with Bob Purtymun and Ray McKinsey.

During a two week trip to the area in January, 1996 for the purpose of  photographing animals of as many mollusk species as possible. These volumes are part of a series of similar volumes that to date deal with shells from Hawaii, Samoa, Guam & Yap, Kosrae & Pohnpei, Vanuatu, Fiji and Baja, Mexico. All but the Hawaii set of volumes deal only with shells found on the reef flats easily accessible by snorkeling. The Hawaiian volumes are more extensive including collecting by diving and dredging as well as by snorkeling and cover a period of about 20 years.

Collecting in Majuro was by myself and my wife, Elizabeth Thorsson who covered the shallower waters near the shore. Twelve days were spent at the Hotel Marshall Islands. snorkeling for several days in 1984 with my wife. On these occasions we had stayed a the Hotel Eastern Gateway and on each occasion were not expected in spite of reservations previously made. This hotel had undergone a number of incarnations. On the first trip in 1974 it was a new two story hotel with about 10 to 15 rooms, none of which were completely finished. In 1978 the hotel had deteriorated considerably due to termite and dry rot and a replacement concrete hotel
was in process of construction next door. In 1984 the hotel had been demolished and only trailers were available for guests except for a few stone/concrete cottages. The columns for the replacement hotel constructed during my 1978 visit had been abandoned and were wrapped with vines and trees grew between them. However, a new, larger building was under construction on the site of the 1974/1978 hotel. On this 1996 trip we had confirmed reservations again, but the hotel did not meet us at the airport as scheduled. We were offered a ride to the Eastern Gateway by a stranger who owned a new Hotel just opening. Passing the Eastern Gateway, we saw that the exterior of that hotel had been essentially completed but the interior remained unfinished for over 10 years.

A small number of temporary one-story motel rooms existed, but did not appear inviting so we became the first guests in one of the rooms at the Hotel Marshall Islands.  Hotel Marshall Islands is located near the "financial district" in the more populated portion of the Atoll and has a number of quite acceptable restaurants in easy walking distance including Kitko Restaurant which existed during all my prior trips. The Hotel Marshall

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