Civil Beat reporter Nathan Eagle and his wife, photojournalist Alana Eagle, traveled to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in 2017 for our award-winning multimedia report, “The Last Wild Place.”

In this Offshore Postcard, Alana and Nathan talk with Offshore host Jessica Terrell about their trip — from having to freeze their gear so it wouldn’t contaminate the highly protected area known as the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument to the natural wonders they discovered on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Wildlife abounds on Kure, an atoll in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

This podcast weaves Jessica’s interview of the couple with open audio and discussions with scientists Nathan and Alana recorded on their trip. “The Last Wild Place” aimed to take readers along on a journey to a place most people would never experience and this podcast offers readers the opportunity to learn even more about the trip and the scientists and volunteers to make this remotest of areas an even more special place.

The sun sets on the open ocean in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2018

Looking back on the project, Nathan and Alana say it brings a new perspective on their current reporting on climate change. They saw how urgent the problem is and how important it is to understand the significance of the wildlife refuge and the scientists who work there.

“They’re buying time out there for these populations and other species,” Nathan says. “It’s not a question of if we should deal with this but how quickly can we.”

“It’s important and it’s incredibly urgent,” he says. “You can feel that sense of urgency when you’re out there.”

“It wasn’t until the end of the trip that I realized how much I had changed,” Alana tells Jessica. “It’s really hard to describe but it’s more of a connection with where I am, with the earth, with everybody that’s around me.”

“Something had turned on in me.”

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