Leyf Peirce, July 10, 2004

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Leyf Peirce
Onboard NOAA Ship Rainier

July 6 – 15, 2004

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area:
Eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska
July 10, 2004

Time: 18:00
Latitude: N 55°17.29
Longitude: W 160°32.13
Visibility: 6 nm
Wind direction: 110
Wind speed: 12 knots
Sea wave height: 0 – 1 foot
Swell wave height: —
Sea water temperature: 10.6 °C
Sea level pressure: 1016.3 mb
Air temperature: 13.3 °C
Cloud cover: 3/8

Science and Technology Log

Today was the first day we launched the survey boats. I was assigned to a boat with SS Foye, ENS Welton, and ENS Samuelson. A very interesting and eventful day, the best way to describe it is with a timeline:

08:00 board 5 boat with SS Foye, ENS Welton, and ENS Samuelson; Lt. Slover (the FOO—Fieldwork Operations Officer) came aboard for about 20 minutes to run tests on the Reson 80101 multibeam echo sounding equipment we are using (soon dropped Lt. Slover back at the Rainier); NOTE: Reson 80101 is used primarily for shallower water, for it has better resolution at depths less than 75 meters

08:45 arrived at our first way point near Halfway Rock; took first cast with the CTD (testing for conductivity, temperature and depth—all things that factor into velocity speed profile) and found an average depth of about 65 meters

09:00 started doing lines (mowing the lawn pattern) around Halfway Rock; after about 3 lines, Lt. Slover called us back in because the data he had taken did not process correctly—the new programs aboard the ship were not working as well as they had thought

11:25 board the RAINIER while FOO checked our equipment; turned out we had to switch to 6 boat—including downloading new maps and figuring out a new system

11:45 board launches 6 boats and sets out for new set of lines at deeper water than the morning; this boat uses the ELAC multibeam systems which are better for deeper waters (up to 400 meters)

12:00 arrived at new line destination (lat: N 55/14/54, long: W 160/27/43) and ate lunch before doing our CTD cast

12:30 conducted first CTD cast, but computer messed up, so had to repeat the cast and got a better reading (average depth = 150 meters) began line pattern

** After a few lines of learning the computer program, SS Foye allowed me to drive the boat for almost the rest of the time—my experience on boats made this part so much fun—especially using the computer imaging as a navigational chart**

17:30 arrived back at RAINIER for dinner

I was truly impressed with the amount of different technology aboard these ships: 5 computer screens, 2 key boards, and a lot of different software programs used to immediately process the information we were gathering. This was also a great change from being on the big ship all day!

Personal Log

This was definitely my favorite day on the ship so far! The fog lifted early this morning to reveal beautiful islands, puffin, sea gulls, kelp, and even a whale! I was able to experience what it is like to have to make computer programs do what you want them to do (any researcher knows this isn’t always easy), and I had to do this on a rocking boat (for all of you “land researchers”, I suggest you trying it once!). SS Foye, ENS Welton, and ENS Samuelson were all extremely helpful and very good at explaining the technology and theory behind what we were doing. I was extremely impressed with how everyone handled various problematic situations. Computers and technology can be very frustrating sometimes, and the crew aboard the boat handled everything optimistically and professionally. SS Foye asked if I ever would consider giving up teaching and join NOAA—after my experience today, I said I would definitely consider it!

Question of the Day:

What is the effect of different densities of water on sound waves?

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