James Miller, August 23, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
James Miller
Onboard NOAA Ship Rainier
August 13 – 27, 2005

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: North Pacific, Alaska
Date: August 23, 2005

Location: Anchored in Fish Range Bay; north of Mitrofinia Island
Weather: Sunny, low 70’s
Wind: variable
Seas: 1-2 foot swell
Itinerary:  Working in Fish Range Bay area for couple of days

Science and Technology Log 

We are anchored in Chiginigak Bay on the peninsula to basically wait out the weather. Since there is no needed surveying in the area, the plan of the day is to have the less experienced crew and officers train in the launches and small skiffs.  For safety concerns, it’s important to have all crew and officers comfortable with all operations regarding the launches. Everything from learning how to lower the launches using the davits, to maneuvering the launches safely near the shoreline was covered.

I had an opportunity to get instruction on the use of the heavy davits and how to secure the launches for getting underway. The deck hands know their jobs really well and every move is deliberate and geared towards safety.  The RAINIER has been doing this kind of work with these exact launches since 1968, so all the kinks have been worked out of the procedures. Everything has to be done a certain way, and if you do it differently you get an earful of why your way could be dangerous.

During the long transits, I’ve begun working on the lessons required by NOAA.  I’ve come up with the framework for about eight lessons so far that align nicely with the classes I’ll be teaching this upcoming school year. I haven’t found it very difficult to find potential math lessons while onboard.  My lessons thus far cover topics ranging from basic geometry and trigonometry, to calculus.  I’m also working on getting some visuals such as charts to display on my classroom bulletin boards.

Personal Log 

Before departing for Kodiak in afternoon, I tried some more salmon and halibut fishing. No luck on the salmon, but I caught a couple of small halibut in the 3lb range, which I released. I eventually caught a larger fish (~ 8lbs) that I decided to keep.

I’ve talked about the food often in my logs but haven’t mentioned much about the menu.  All the meals are very large, and it’s hard to resist not eating until your completely stuffed.  Anything can be made to order at breakfast, which is served 7 – 7:30 am.  (I usually go for the waffles and eggs). Lunch is served at noon and is basically equivalent to an early dinner with meat or vegetarian dishes, soup, and salad.  Then dinner comes along at 5pm, which is again a full course meal that includes a dessert.  You never seem to go hungry on the ship and I’m sure I gained a few pounds.

We’ll be arriving in Kodiak in the morning for refueling and then departing for Seward later in the afternoon. Each day the captain sends the crew weather updates through e-mail.  It is welcomed news to hear the weather is supposed to be good for the reminder of the trip.

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