NOAA Teacher at Sea
Vince Rosato & Kim Pratt
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown
March 9 – 28, 2006
Mission: Collect oceanographic and climate modeling data
Geographical Area: Eastern Florida
Date: March 27, 2006
Today we had a special treat; we were a part of a “Man Over board” drill! A man overboard drill is held once during a three-month period so the crew is prepared in case someone falls off the ship into the ocean. The drill starts with a “dummy” which is made of an old Mustang (survival suit) and is named Oscar. Next, the Captain makes a call to the Bridge (where they run the ship), and three bells are sounded. These three bells are Morse code (a code of lights or bells that spell out words) and they make the letter “O” for Oscar. Everyone responds to a “Man Over Board” to search for the missing person, or in this case the dummy. Once the dummy was located, the ship traveled to the dummy and brought it on board by means of a large hook. At this point, LCDR Rodriguez and Chief Scientist Dr. Molly proceeded to practice CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation– to get the heart started and air into the lungs) on the dummy. Finally, an all-clear signal was given and the dummy was then put away for a drill later on in the year. It was very exciting.
Water was collected from the Bermuda Triangle for Ms. Pratt’s fifth grade class. This area is known for strange disappearances. The Bermuda Triangle is located between the island of Bermuda, Miami, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Many people have tried to explain what happens to the ships, small boats and planes that disappear and the most reasonable explanation is that there are environmental factors (weather, sea conditions) at play or human mistakes.
Interview with Julia O’Hern
Julia O’Hern is a graduate student in biological oceanography at Texas A & M (Agriculture and Military) University. She comes from the Hawkeye State, Iowa. Julia loves being outside and in the water. She has an interest in environmental science, and this led her to the ocean. Her parents always promoted science activities. For instance, Julia recalls her summer, hiking through the prairie, catching bugs and identifying them. Julia had an environmental science course in her high school boarding school that taught her how to be a field scientist. Julia feels lucky that a creek ran by her home and she could collect big ugly tadpoles. From fifth grade through college she played softball, ran track, and she swam. Julia likes chemistry and physics and is working on a degree in biological oceanography but truly loves whales. “Marine biology,” Julia explains, “is different from oceanography,” which studies how some of the physical processes in the ocean (waves, sea floor, and water) affect where the whales live. Marine biology studies the whale itself including its life cycle, its behavior and how it is affected by people.
“One of the only times I was out of Iowa, my parents took me on trip off of Maine and we saw whales,” said Julia. This inspired her. To top everything off, she shared, “The coolest thing to ever experience is to be in the water when a humpback whale is singing. It doesn’t even matter how far away they are, you feel their music.” Books she suggested reading are Farley Moats’s, Never Cry Wolf and Jack London’s Call for the Wild as well as anything by Jane Goodall. Her advice to students is: “If you want to do oceanography and study marine life you have to get past math and computers, and it won’t always be fun.” But, Julia agrees it’s worth it.
Assignment: In your sea logs, write the procedure for a “Man Over Board” drill. Label each step that happens. For example: #1 – Put “Oscar” into the ocean.
Personal log – Kimberly Pratt
This has been a very exciting trip! I’ve been stretched beyond my wildest dreams. The correspondence with my students has been meaningful and very educational. Working with the scientists, officers, crew and my fellow teacher has taught me lessons that I’ll never forget! Thanks to all of you for this unforgettable experience.
Personal Log – Vince Rosato
Thanks to Captain Gary Petrae for welcoming us onboard and sharing so freely resources to help kids understand life at sea. Thanks, too, to Dr. Molly for extending this experience to us through NOAA. Thanks to my principal, Debbi Knoth, and the New Haven Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Pat Jaurequi, for enabling this trip and to Kim Pratt for inviting me along. Thanks to the crew! Thanks to Mrs. Riach for substituting for me. There are so many interesting and exciting happenings on board. Juliet was a hit and remains with Lt. Commander Priscilla Rodriguez. As Professor Jochem Marotzke shared, life at sea sensitizes you to put yourself in another’s shoes, simply because the job isn’t done when my own shift is over. I had the pleasure of getting quotes from many people here. Robert Bayliss, onboard from the THOMAS JEFFERSON for this cruise, advised anyone interested in life at sea to “Be prepared to spend long times away from home.” Being one of Carlos’ boys with Rigo, Dallas and Mick was a “bonus.” At an all-hands meeting this afternoon we shared our gifts for the crew and NOAA scientists.
Afterwards those who wished got their picture taken in groups. Dr. Molly created a centralized computer space for sharing pictures. I have some CD’s to work with, thanks to Dr. Shari and LCDR Rodriguez. Those kinds of sensibilities make life pleasant. I understand my Uncle Sam better from this cruise. I cannot leave without a special hello to my 14-year-old daughter, Alexandria Jo. When we return, there will be extension activities, such as lesson plans, presentations to prepare and publicity pieces. My enriched enthusiasm and understanding of ocean science will be shared with every student. I got autographs from world-class oceanographers, modern-day explorers, and stand in awe at the collaborative efforts being made to better understand the ocean and its relationship to climate. The current issue of Mother Jones is devoted to the state of the seas. Gratitude was my beginning attitude and remains as I prepare to return to land. What makes a fine sailor also remains: someone who knows their job and gets it done, is dependable, a friendly person to be around, and one who you can trust to watch your back. This applies as a major lesson to those in all walks of life.