(click on the picture below)
Midway Atoll sits roughly halfway between North America and Asia in the northern Pacific Ocean. It has three official designations with the US government: as a National Wildlife Refuge, the Battle of Midway National Memorial and part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The atoll is considered a territory of the US and not part of the State of Hawaii like the other Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are.
The atoll has had many uses and claims to fame, most memorably as a US naval base during WWII that was attacked by the Japanese from June 4-7th, 1942. The US victory in that battle was a turning point in war and one of its most important naval battles. During the Cold War, Midway served as a strategic airfield to monitor Soviet Russia and at one point was home to as many as 4,000 servicemen and their families. The atoll held a school, golf course, movie theatre, church and multiple runways, all on the 1,200 acres of Sand Island. The population wound down with the end of the Cold War and during the 1980’s and 90’s transitioned from military to civilian management administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Midway has always been important nesting ground for seabirds, currently over 3-million annually. Hawaiian Monk Seals raise pups on the wide, sandy beaches and forage for squid and fish on the atoll’s barrier reef. Green Sea Turtles haul out and bask in the sun with dozens of others. Despite pollution still remaining from the military days and washing ashore daily from the Pacific Trash Gyre, Midway is a beautiful and isolated natural wonder.
Use this tour to explore Sand Island, the largest of three islets that make up Midway Atoll, through 17 panoramas of the military ruins, current facilities and natural surroundings. Navigate through them by clicking on red arrow links or utilizing the interactive map accessed though controls in the lower right corner.