Jane Temoshok, October 23, 2001

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jane Temoshok
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown
October 2 – 24, 2001

Mission: Eastern Pacific Investigation of Climate Processes
Geographical Area: Eastern Pacific
Date: October 23, 2001

Latitude: 20º S
Longitude: 78º W
Air Temp. 16.0º C
Sea Temp. 17.0º C
Sea Wave: < 1 ft.
Swell Wave: 2 – 4 ft.
Visibility: 8 – 10 miles
Cloud cover: 8/8

Science Log

Doldrums and Horses

We are in the doldrums. It’s true. The ocean looks like a lake. No wind, no waves, nothing. I went to the captain and asked him about it, and he gave me information about doldrums and horse latitudes. Apparently there is a belt of low pressure at the ocean surface near the equator. It is usually overcast (stratus clouds again) and it is incredibly still. This was really, really bad for the sailors of the old days (no wind, no go). In fact, the horse latitudes (which are similar to the doldrums) were so named because ships that were stuck here for long periods of time used to throw their horses overboard to conserve water and lighten the load. For us though it is wonderful (love those engines!). With no wave or wind to slow us down we have made excellent time. In fact, we have slowed down on purpose (we can’t arrive in Chile too early) so the crew can go fishing. If they are successful we will have a bar-b-que on the deck tonight!

Travel Log

Just after my last webcast I went out on the deck and saw a HUGE leatherback turtle! The water was so calm it was easy to spot him. The Boson thought it was as big as a Volkswagen Beetle! Then we saw a few more off in the distance. I don’t have any reference material out here so I can’t find out much about them. So here’s your question…

Question of the day:
How large do leatherback turtles get, and what do they eat?

Only 2 more days until land,

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