Melissa Fye, April 4, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Melissa Fye
Onboard NOAA Ship Hi’ialakai
April 4 – 25, 2005

fye_logsMission: Coral Reef Ecosystem Survey
Geographical Area: Northwest Hawaiian Island
Date: April 4, 2005

Science and Technology Log

The HI’IALAKAI is equipped to perform many operations while sailing the area around the Northwest Hawaiian Island Chain.  This mission will involve the use of multibeam sonar equipment to map the nature of the sea floor around the island chain, scuba divers will replace a buoy system which measures many things including the occurrence of photosynthesis in the water, and CTD drops will occur multiple times.  A CTD, or Conductivity, Temperature, Depth device measures the depth, salinity, and temperature of ocean water.  The boat is stopped in order to drop the device from a crane so it can measure the levels of these categories and that information is used  to support multibeam sonar operations.

I will be observing scientists at work and interviewing members of the HI’IALAKAI throughout the next 3 weeks. I will be trying to relate the knowledge I gain to my students’ science and math standards in Virginia. The information I gather on board will be available to NOAA and my 4th grade students at Ashburn, Elementary in Ashburn, VA.

Personal Log

Sunday evening: I arrived at the HI’IALAKAI on Sunday late afternoon and met a few of the hands, including the Chief Engineer and Medical Officer.  Next, I met the Executive Officer who helped assign me a room onboard.  I simply unpacked and grabbed something to eat with the Medical Officer. Later that evening, I met the Chief Scientist on board and then I retired for the evening.  I had a hard time sleeping, in anticipation of the next day’s events!  It was soon dark so I planned on touring the vessel the next day in the daylight hours. It is much larger than I anticipated and a little daunting to someone who’s not familiar with ships.

Monday: Our departure was delayed (originally set for 9 AM) and pushed back to 4:30 PM due to problems with a boat generator needed for a small research vessel that is vital to the studies of the scientists. Throughout the day I helped the scientific crew pack equipment for the trip.  We tied down computer equipment in the dry lab, packed foam pieces around monitors, and cut non slip mats to put under other equipment. Everything that is not bolted down to the ship needs tied down to brackets on the wall. The Executive Officer debriefed us on rules and drills for the cruise. Much of the day was just spent waiting for departure from Honolulu.

QUESTION OF THE DAY for my 4th grade students: What are the names of all the oceans on our planet and which ocean is the largest?

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