Jeff Lawrence, May 30, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jeff Lawrence
Onboard NOAA Ship Rainier
May 22 – June 2, 2006

Mission: Hydrography survey
Geographical area of cruise: Alaska
Date: May 30, 2006

AB Leslie Abramson & Chief Steve Foye  piloting the ship
AB Leslie Abramson & Chief Steve Foye piloting the ship

Weather Data from Bridge as of 0730 Hours: 
Visibility: 10.0m miles
Wind direction: 350 deg. (N)
Wind Speed:  2 knots
Sea level pressure: 1018
Present weather: Scattered cirrocumulus clouds, sun shining brilliantly – It’s a beautiful morning in SE Alaska.
Temperature:  49 deg. wet/dry 50 deg.

Science and Technology Log 

Earlier this week I went out on launch RA 6 to run some lines off Biorka Island.  The weather was a little dreary and cold but made much warmer by the crew, which consisted of Chief Boatswain Steve Foye, AB (Able Body Seaman) Leslie Abramson, and LTJG (Lieutenant Junior Grade) Nicola Samuelson.

LTJG Nicola Samuelson collecting sonar data aboard RA 6
LTJG Nicola Samuelson collecting sonar data aboard RA 6

Seas were a little rough running between 4 and 6-foot swells, but the crew did an excellent job staying on their lines and completing the task assigned. Conditions are not always ideal, yet the job must still be done.  If seas are too rough the crew will head to a bay or protected area that still needs to be worked.  Steering a boat in rough sea conditions isn’t easy.  Chief Foye was on board to assist AB Abramson if needed.  Leslie did an excellent job controlling the boat while down below LTJG Samuelson was collecting the data from the sonar.  LTJG Samuelson has finished her 2-year assignment with the RAINIER and will be heading to Rhode Island for her next duty station when we reach our next port stop of Juneau.

Personal Log 

This day was an interesting one. I learned when you feel nausea or seasickness it is better to eat something even though you don’t fell like doing so at the time.  I really enjoyed learning so much about the day-to-day data collection techniques used by the crew of the RAINIER. The equipment is quite sophisticated and the people using it are very well trained. LTJG Samuelson was very helpful in explaining how the data is collected, stored, retrieved, and used to make the nautical navigation charts that NOAA publishes.  The boatswain crews are well trained and do a good job piloting the launch boats through strong tide currents, rocky coastlines, and even rough seas.

Questions of the Day 

How deep is a fathom?

When a ship anchors there are red, white, and blue chain links to show how deep the anchor is. What is the length between these colors called?

How long is this length of chain?

How much does one anchor on the RAINIER weigh?

How much does one marked length of chain weigh on the RAINIER?

What is the keel of a ship?

What is meant when people are talking about a ship or boats draft?

What does it mean when a ships bell rings continuously for 5-6 seconds every minute when it is anchored in open water?

Thanks to Ordinary Seaman Megan Guberski for helping me to pose and answer some of these questions.

Leave a Reply