Jacob Tanenbaum, June 14 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jacob Tanenbaum
Onboard NOAA Ship Miller Freeman
June 1 – 30, 2006

Mission: Bering Sea Fisheries Research
Geographic Region: Bering Sea
Date: June 14, 2006

Orca off the port beam.
Orca off the port beam.

Weather Data from the Bridge

Visibility: 14 miles
Wind Speed:14 miles per hour
Sea Wave Height: 3 foot
Water Temperature: 5.3 degrees
Air Temperature: 6.2 degrees
Pressure: 1018 Millibars

Personal Log

The coffee pot. See the ring to keep the coffee from flying when the seas get rough?
The coffee pot. See the ring to keep the coffee from flying when the seas get rough?

A lot of you have been asking about the food on ship. How do we eat? What do we eat? Where do we get our food. All of these are great questions, so yesterday I spent some time with Chief Cook Russell Van Dyke to get some answers for you. He, along with the Chief Steward and the Second Cook, is responsible for preparing all the meals on NOAA Ship MILLER FREEMAN.

How do people eat on a ship? “With a knife and fork,” said our chief cook with a smile. Food is prepared and served on the ship in much the same way that you prepare and serve food athome. The main difference is quantity. Here on the ship, food is prepared for 40 people instead of just a few. “We don’t cook one, chicken, like you do at home,” said Mr. Van Dyke, “we cook 5 chickens. Here are some pictures of where the food is cooked, and where the food is served. On a ship, this is called the galley. Can you see the ring around the coffee pot? Can you guess what that is for? During storms at sea, when the waves are high, that ring keeps hot coffee from flying around the galley. Good idea!

Chief Cook Russell Van Dyke
Chief Cook Russell Van Dyke

Another interesting difference between food on a ship and food at home is that when you are out to see for a month, you cannot run down to the corner to get some milk if you run out. Each time NOAA Ship MILLER FREEMAN is in port, it must take on enough food to last for the entire journey to come. How do they keep all that food? Aside from being a great cook, Mr. Van Dyke and the rest of the crew are also experts in how to store food and keep it from going bad. NOAA Ship MILLER FREEMAN has not one but three refrigerators and two freezers. The refrigerators are kept at slightly different temperatures. The dairy products, like milk and cheese are kept at 37 degrees . The fruits and vegetables are kept in a separate refrigerator at 42 degrees. They keep the humidity in that refrigerator higher as well. Those slightly different conditions help keep the food fresh for a longer period. Meats and ice cream are kept frozen. Dry foods, like cereal are kept in a separate area. Put it all together and the crew on board eat great meals every day. The photo here shows the inside of one of the refrigerators.

Click below to listen to Chief Cook Russell Van Dyke describe cooking on board a ship:

The kitchen in NOAA Ship MILLER FREEMAN
The kitchen in NOAA Ship MILLER FREEMAN

Where does the ship get its food?

How do you cook on board a ship?

Does the crew have a favorite food? 

One more question: Does the crew eat split pea soup? There is a superstition among mariners that cooking split pea soup will bring on a storm. I asked Mr. Van Dyke about it. He told me they eat it all the time. This brave crew last had “storm soup” on May 27th and we may have it again in a few days. I guess the only thing they can’t do on board this ship at sea is have a pizza delivered.

The inside of one of the refrigerators. Look how big it is.
The inside of one of the refrigerators. Look how big it is.

Science Log

We continue surveying pollock and surveying birds as we move along the transact lines in the Bering Sea. Most of the surveying is being done with the echosounder, but from time to time, we put the nets into the water and trawl for fish. This helps the scientists know more detail about the fish they see on the echosounders. The nets on NOAA Ship MILLER FREEMAN work basically the same way that nets on large commercial trawlers work. We just catch far fewer fish. Would you like to learn more? Click here for a video on the nets.

The Galley where the crew eat
The Galley where the crew eat

Question of the Day:

How much wire would the ship need to let out if it wanted to put the nets 200 feet below the surface? Make sure to watch the video on nets before you try to answer the question.

Answer to Yesterday’s Question:

Look at the speed of the ship on this website: About how far would it go in 24 hours? To get your answer, you should multiply the speed you see by 24. Remember to express your answer in nautical m iles. At the moment, the ship is going about 12 nautical miles per hour. At that speed it will travel about 288 miles per day. The real figure will vary because of winds and currents that effect our speed, and because we sometimes stop to fish.

Rusty, the ships cat and Teacher at Sea Jacob Tanenbaum
Rusty, the ships cat and Teacher at Sea Jacob Tanenbaum

Answers to Your Questions:

I also had an email request from Marcelo for photos with Rusty and I. Here is one. I’m also putting a second photo on to show you one of Rusty’s favorite games. There is a mail slot in the door to the office where he spends a good part of his day. He loves to stick his paw through and introduce himself to passersby. Surprise!!

Mrs. McBride, thanks for your kind words.

To my Kindergarten friend, was the squid slimy? YES!!! 🙂

Getting the mail
Getting the mail