Melissa Fye, April 14, 2005

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

Mission: Coral Reef Ecosystem Survey
Geographical Area: Northwest Hawaiian Islands
Date: April 14, 2005

Location: Latitude: 23*36.3’North, Longitude: 164*43.0’W

Weather Data from the Bridge
Visibility: 10
Wind Direction:90
Wind Speed: 14 knots
Sea Wave Height: 2-4 feet
Swell Wave Height: 5-7 feet
Sea Level Pressure: 1018.8
Cloud Cover: 2/8 Cu, As, Si
Temperature outside: 24.4

Prepping the launch
Prepping the launch

Science and Technology Log

Today’s operations involved launching the AHI once again, with 3 scientists onboard, to do more benthic habitat mapping around the more shallow areas of the French Frigate Shoals. Mapping operations were cut short early today for a little rest and relaxation for the crew, scientists, and some NOAA corps members.  Around two o’clock pm, the AHI was recovered and the ship launched speedboat HI#1 with 7 members of our ship to Tern Island for a barbeque. Tern Island, as mentioned in previous logs, is a bird sanctuary run by the Fisheries Service of the Department of Interior. In has anywhere from 6-14 personnel at a time counting, tagging, and collecting data on reproductive rates of bird species on the island. The scientists and volunteers on Tern Island invited the HI’IALAKAI for some rest and good food, in turn for a tour of the ship. After the first shuttle was launched, it brought back 4 members of Tern Island to take a tour of the ship, and it then turned around and took 10 more of the crew to the barbeque. The shuttle ran all day, some members of the HI’IALAKAI also went fishing instead of visiting Tern.

At Tern Island, a tour was lead by the manager of the sanctuary, and after a feast of hamburgers and hot dogs and the like, we were lead on a snorkeling trip on the north side of the island. We were careful not to disturb the birds, and entered the ocean to snorkel the underwater ecosystem. Other scientists, Corps officers, crew, engineers, and myself, dove below the surface to see several colorful fish, a small whitetip reef shark, sea slugs, sea turtle, and a submerged barge.  It was very clear and the inhabitants of the reef ecosystem were easily seen.  The last shuttle returned to the ship around 6:30 p.m., and data editing and sonar mapping resumed on board.

Personal Log

After breakfast this morning, I typed logs and answered email.  By mid morning, I helped the chief engineer, below deck, do engine room check of all the machinery below.  He showed me how to check the temperature readings and gages on the engines and systems.  This type of check, is done three times a day to make sure all machinery is running smoothly.  Where there were no gauges to be read, Lobo used a Raytek Thermal Sensor gun, to take readings through pipes. Next, I ate lunch and prepared for the trip to Tern Island.  I borrowed snorkeling gear from several members of the ship and embarked on another great adventure.  I never thought I would have had so many chances to see the underwater ecosystems of the Northern Hawaiian Islands while out to sea. It is wonderful to explore underwater, and it is new and different every time.  The water was particularly clear near Tern and I took pictures of things like brain coral. Its name stems from the fact it looks like a brain and it was a bright green color.  I also took pictures of the birds, like the albatross, concentrating this time on recording images of their adaptations (like beak shape and feet formation) to use in later lesson plans. It was a wonderful day and the snorkeling thoroughly wore me out by day’s end.

QUESTION OF THE DAY for my fourth grade students: Use a reference source. 1) What is the name of the wettest place on earth? (Hint: it somewhere in Hawaii.)  2)List the name of the reference source you used (this includes websites remember!)  3)The annual average rainfall of this place is 661 inches a year.  How many feet of water is that?___  How many yards?____

ANSWER TO YESTERDAY’S Question: If the ship rolls 9 times in one minute in 1-2 foot seas, how many times will it roll in one hour? 9×60=540 times How many times will it roll in one 24 hour period?  24×540=12,960 times!  Imagine how many times the ship rolls when there is a storm at sea!

PICTURES OF THE DAY: Ship HI’IALAKAI, Tern Island Bird Adaptations (many of the underwater pictures I am taking cannot be posted at this time because they are on film that hasn’t been processed (not digital)

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