Dana Tomlinson: Day 4, March 4, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Monday, March 4, 2002

Latitude: 20 N
Longitude: 112 W
Seas: 4-7 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 60-68 F
Winds: NE 13-18
Air Temp: 78/65 F

Happy Monday, all! And a very happy one it is out here. Last night, at sundown, we actually saw the elusive “green flash” at sunset. Personally, I think it’s a bit overrated! It was my first time seeing it and I expected a mini-St. Patrick’s Day explosion and got a little bitty green line on the horizon. Poof.

Anyway, today was another beautiful day in paradise. Since we are now south of the tip of Baja California, the weather is much balmier. I am thankful for the breeze the ship creates! We have 2 more days of transit before we encounter our first buoy and the scientists and crew are spending our days preparing for that.

Today, I received training in how to do a CTD line cast. CTD stands for Conductivity Temperature Depth. And those three things are what this machine measures – at depths of up to 1000 meters! These measurements are taken every 6 hours round the clock from the time we reach 12 degrees north latitude, which will be on Wednesday. There is a survey technician on board who does this, but to give her a break, some of us have volunteered to learn how to do it to relieve her once in a while. It involves computer operation as well as manually setting the instrumentation on the device (which is taller than my 5’8″ and much heavier). After setting the tubes to catch the water, it is deployed over the side by a winch and lowered to the desired depth. Then one of the 15 or so tubes on the device are tripped closed at the depths you desire on the way up. Once at the surface again, the water is removed from the machine into bottles and it’s on to the laboratory (on board) for testing. Fascinating. I can’t wait to be involved (see pictures in photo album 3).

Question of the Day: I’m going to make this a regular daily feature. The first person to get back to me will be mentioned in a future log. Today’s question: What is an anemometer? (There are several on board that will be deployed on the voyage.)

Answer of the Day: On Day 2, I asked what my #2 and #3 questions that people had asked me before I left San Diego were. Can’t tell you yet, because no one’s asked (or guessed)! Come on – any takers out there?

Til tomorrow, aloha! 🙂

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