Dana Tomlinson: Day 11, March 11, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Monday, March 11, 2002
Long: 110°W
Seas: 2-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: cloudy, rain possible
Sea Surface Temp: 77-82°F
Winds: N/NE 5 knots
Air Temp: 88-77°F

What an interesting day, all the way around. Weather-wise, we awoke to clear skies, with clouds on the horizon and we could tell it was going to be hot. By 9am, I could feel the backs of my legs burning with my back to the sun. I went in for lunch and came out and it was totally clouded over and a few minutes later, it was raining! Not drizzling – raining. Welcome to the equatorial Pacific!!

Yes, we made it to the Equator! My days as a Pollywog are numbered. Shellback is coming soon. Today, there were several important events going on onboard. Most importantly to me was our first live webcast. This was an exclusive to my school only and fortunately, was a technical success! It was actually a pretty perfect broadcast, a great way to start. All of the schools that have contacted either the NOAA offices or myself have received word about future live webfeeds. Once again, if there are any teachers out there who would like a live feed right into your classroom or any computer at the school that has an internet connection and RealPlayer (a free download), just let me know asap and we’ll get you the info you need.

The other important events on board today were another buoy recovery (more barnacles!!), a ADCP recovery/deployment and a deep CTD cast (to 3600 meters). The buoy was recovered, but it was 30 miles from where it should have been due to the strong currents at the equator. We will deploy the new one tomorrow morning. It will be a very special buoy – the first one ever dedicated to a school. It will have a sticker on it signed by the Commander, the Chief Scientist and me, dedicated to Emory Elementary! Neat, huh?!

The ADCP is an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler that’s been in the water for the last year. This is a big, round orange device (a little bit bigger that a weather balloon) with instrumentation on it that records the currents. There are 4 of them across the equator resting at different depths. It is anchored so that it rests 250 feet below the surface and periodically sends sonar waves up to the surface that bounce off of the surface and the plankton above and somehow that helps to record the currents. The information is stored in the device until it is recovered and then the data is learned. Like the buoys, it has an acoustic release device on it that releases it from the anchor when remotely told to do so and it floats to the surface.

The recovery went perfectly. We had a bit of trouble with the deployment, however. Hey, sometimes, things happen and this was one of them. Just as the crew was carefully loading it into the water, a wire snapped and the ADCP fell into the water untethered. It had to be rounded up just like the old one and brought back up on deck. Presently, it’s still sitting there as the scientists decide whether or not to deploy it tomorrow or to wait. Stay tuned.

Question of the Day: 

Above I mentioned being a Pollywog and being a Shellback. What do I mean?

Answer of the Day: 

Once again, since the logs weren’t posted over the weekend, let me give the GMT/Zulu question one more day. 🙂

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

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