Diane Stanitski: Day 8, August 18, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 8: Sunday, August 18, 2002

The weather observations at 1700 today were:
Sea Water Temperature: 26.7°C
Visibility: 12 nautical miles
Wind direction: 055 (on a 0-360° scale) – NE
Wind speed: 20 kts
Sea wave height: 5-7′
Swell wave height: 6-8′
Sea level pressure: 1013.2 mb
Cloud cover: 3/8, cumulus

Today’s quote: “Best be yourself, imperial, plain and true!” – Robert Browning

The crew was abuzz today due to the fact that we were about to deploy a test buoy after surveying a 3×3 mile stretch of the ocean to find an area with a flat surface for the buoy’s anchor to rest upon. The entire exercise took all morning and a part of the afternoon. I interviewed John Bumgardner, our mechanical engineer on the boat, about the buoy array and videotaped a short segment to be used in one of our upcoming webcasts.

A buoy deployment is serious business on the ship. One of two cranes is used to lift the extremely heavy buoy off the starboard side of the ship onto the water. Thousands of meters of durable nilspin and nylon are then spooled out into the ocean behind the buoy with a large anchor (a railroad wheel) weighing approximately 2 tons dropped as a final way to secure the buoy in its location and anchor it to the ocean floor (see photos in the photo log). The buoy drifts off into the sea for a few km as the ship slowly drifts in the opposite direction so that the rope doesn’t become tangled. An acoustic release device is then discharged into the water, which will allow the buoy to become detached from the anchor after it’s at the bottom of the ocean. This will be handy when the buoy is retrieved from the water at the end of September during the return of the KA to Honolulu.

The deployment was successful except for one rope that was caught over the sonic wind sensor. A group of us decided to ride the RHIB to the buoy in order to pull the rope off of the sensor. It was a rough ride through the 6-8′ swells, but boy was it fun! We all hung on and received a nice salty shower during our return to the ship.

While all of this was going on, Larry, our Electronics Technician, hooked me up to my email account so that I could keep in touch with all of you. He also downloaded software so that I could provide photos of my experience for you to view. Larry keeps the ship rolling with his expertise in so many areas. We’re definitely lucky to have him on board.

After turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes for dinner, John videotaped me on the back deck in front of a beautiful sunset. I then came inside for a short French lesson. Takeshi, our foreign observer, is from France and is teaching us some basic French before our arrival in Nuku Hiva, the French Marquesas. It’s all coming back to me after 3 years of French in High School – definitely worthwhile classes to take in school.

I’m off to bed after a long day in the fresh air. Looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures.

Today’s question: What percent of the ocean’s water is saline?

All the best,

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