NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Hi’ialakai
April 4 – 25, 2005
Mission: Coral Reef Ecosystem Survey
Geographical Area: Northwest Hawaiian Islands
Date: April 19, 2005
Location: Latitude: 23*36.3’North, Longitude: 164*43.0’W
Weather Data from the Bridge
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
Science and Technology Log
The AHI was once again placed in the water with Joyce Miller and Jeremy Jones aboard to continue running benthic habitat lines around shallow areas in the area of French Frigate Shoals. A wire jumped out of a sheave (pulley) while trying to deploy the AHI. Boatswain O’Connor and other deckhands secured the line, deployed the boat, and went on to repair the sheave. The ship continued to run benthic habitat lines in the area while scientists edited swath data in the drylab. In the wheelhouse, NOAA corps officers continued to plot the ship’s position, using charts and GPS systems. GPS (Global Positioning System) are satellites positioned up in space which provides a map of any place on earth. The system sends out a signal that a receiver (like on top of the ship) captures. At least 3 satellites are used to obtain a map because of time delay and other extraneous factors needed to determine one’s position. The Nobel Tec software, used on the bridge, combines GPS systems with charting to provide a location. GPS alone cannot provide location coordinates, so additional technology is combined with it to provide exact positions on a chart. Fire and Abandon Ship drills were also performed prior lunchtime today. Everyone on board has certain positions to be at and jobs to do in case of emergency. Members of the fire team completely suit up, get out hoses and equipment, etc. The AHI was brought back on board in the late afternoon and TOAD operations continued into the evening.
Today consisted mostly of answering emails from students and interviewing more members of the HI’IALAKAI. The drills broke up the usual routines and the seas picked up towards the evening hours, making it more difficult to travel down the passageways and do simple tasks.
I interviewed some members of the ship on watch in the wheelhouse. They included Executive Officer John Caskey, GVA Jason Kehn, and deckhand/survey technician Jeremy Taylor. XO John Caskey has lived many places including Georgia, North Carolina, and California. He has many duties onboard including administrative tasks like hiring, firing, and paying people on the ship. He has been employed by NOAA for twelve years and after graduating from college with a degree in Marine Biology, traveled to Alaska, to be a Fisheries Observer on a NOAA ship. As a Fisheries Observer, people perform sampling techniques (tallying, tagging, counting) to measure the reproductive and population rates of fish. XO Caskey comments that he has known since he was seven years old that he wanted to have a job centered around marine life because his father was a diver and took him on expeditions under the water. NOAA provides the same pay, benefits, and sights to see as the Navy but caters more to scientific research; which attracted Mr. Caskey to the NOAA corp. The travel is a perk in the job but he says the drawbacks include sea sickness and time away from his growing family. Independence, patience, and good interpersonal skills are attributes a qualified applicant should possess for this type of job because XO Caskey comments that it isn’t an easy lifestyle. The Executive Officer will spend approximately 190 days at sea this year.
GVA Jason Kehn was also interviewed in the wheelhouse. He is originally from Santa Rosa, California but has spent most of his life moving from place to place. He has worked for NOAA for over 3 years on and off, and his title GVA, stands for General Vessel Assistant. His duties include anything associated with working the ship, to include steering the vessel, being a coxswain of the small boats, as well as operating cranes and machinery while aboard. He enjoys the travel associated with the job and has hobbies like recreational diving and photography (which are very compatible to this profession). He would like to learn more about the biological aspects of the work onboard the HI’IALAKAI and he comments that rope is the tool he uses most in his job. Compatibility is a character trait he believes a person needs to possess in order to function in close quarters. GVA Kehn will spend an average of 190 days at sea this year also.
Deckhand Jeremy Taylor is a wage mariner employed by NOAA. His duties include operating machinery on the ship, conducting CTD casts, but he additionally helps out as a survey tech in the drylab of the ship. Taylor has degrees in computer science as well as marine biology. His job is tied to the HI’IALAKAI and he enjoys the views, troubleshooting, and computer work he does out at sea. Mr. Taylor believes a person should be inquisitive and enjoy problem solving to do a job such as this one. The myriad of responsibilities he has everyday makes this job interesting in his opinion and the computer is his most used tool on this research trip.
QUESTION OF THE DAY for my fourth grade students: Using a reference source: 1) List the 3 types of coral reefs. 2) What type of reef is common in Hawaii (and parts of the Caribbean)? 3) What was your reference source?
ANSWER TO YESTERDAY’s Question: Find out more about the giant green sea turtle. List the answers to the sea turtle’s niche: Answers to yesterday’s question are provided by Sai, one of my 4th grade students at Ashburn Elementary. 1) Where does it live? They live mostly in warm and temperate water, also among sea grass. 2) How does it eat (what body parts does it have to aid in eating?) 4 flipper- like appendages with 2 tiny claws on each leg. They also have a hawk like beak. 3) What does it eat? Jellyfish, crabs, shrimp, snail, seaweed, small fish, mollusks, and algae. 4) How does it reproduce? They lay ping-pong sized eggs on land and bury the eggs in the sand. They return to the same beach where they hatched to reproduce again. 5) What resource did you use to find these answers? Enchanted Learning.com and Kids Planet.com