Heather Diaz, July 7, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Heather Diaz
Onboard NOAA Ship David Starr Jordan
July 6 – 15, 2006

Mission: Juvenile Shark Abundance Survey
Geographical Area: U.S. West Coast
Date: July 7, 2006

Boy Scout Troop 271, from San Diego, CA, arrives aboard the ship. Chief Boatswain Chico Gomez and Dr. Russ Vetter are also aboard the skiff. The Boy Scouts were participating in an oceanography course on Santa Catalina Island, and the troop was able to take a tour of the ship

Science and Technology Log 

This morning everyone woke up ready to catch some more sharks.  We set the first line at 6am. It soaked for about 4 hours. Then, we hauled in the line around 10am.  During the first set, we caught 7 blue sharks. Unfortunately, we also had one blue shark which died on the line. They think it must have become tangled up on the line, and it died.  It was not a very large animal.  They dissected it and researchers will use the samples to discover more about these incredible creatures. The afternoon set started around 12pm.  We hauled the line in around 4pm.  This time, we caught 1 blue, 1 mako, and 1 pelagic ray.

In the afternoon, we picked up another scientist, Dr. Russ Vetter, at Twin Harbors on the coast of Catalina Island. He will be helping us process the animals and tag them, along with Suzy and Rand. We also had 18 Boy Scouts from Troop 271 from San Diego, CA join us. They were brought aboard by Chico, who shuttled them over on the skiff from their campsite on Catalina Island. They had just finished taking a week long course on oceanography and they came aboard to see what our ship was doing.  I heard one of them say, “This is awesome, I can’t wait to be able to do this when I grow up!” I think there may be some future NOAA Corps officers in the making! They all seemed genuinely excited to learn about the sharks we are studying, and many of them said they wanted to come back and see more.  They all left with big smiles on their faces, and the camp “mom” was very excited to see what an impact the visit had on the boys.

Personal Log 

The sunrise this morning was gorgeous!  California sea lions and dolphins played alongside the ship all day, and we had a wonderful time watching them and enjoying the sunshine. The scenery is also gorgeous, with a great view of Santa Barbara Island not too far off in the distance.

Oh, one thing that happened during this set which was kind of sad is that we caught 1 blue shark that had gotten tangled up in the line and died, so when we hauled it in, it was dead. So, the pulled it on deck and dissected it.  I was able to get some video of it.  They are so cute when they are so small like that!  They took some DNA samples and some other body parts from it.  I didn’t stick around to see what they did with the rest of it.  Someone had asked for the jaw (a scientist from Long Beach Aquarium), but if they get another one, I will try to get a jaw.  It’s truly amazing to see how their jaw protrudes.  Also, I noticed that their teeth are almost translucent.  Very interesting!

The bait smelled particularly bad this afternoon.  But, we were off the coast of Catalina Island, so the scenery was gorgeous! I saw several dolphin playing, and even a few sea lions playing in the water nearby.

The sunset was equally as gorgeous tonight as it was yesterday, and we finished the evening off near Catalina Island. It was great to see the Boy Scouts come aboard as everything about the ship was exciting to them.  I wanted to spend more time talking with them, but they had to go back to shore so that we could move to our next block.  I hope that some of them continue to pursue their interest in science!  Perhaps someday they will be the Chief Scientist or CO of this cruise!

I am looking forward to seeing more of the Channel Islands!  I have only ever seen one of them, and I can’t wait to see Anacapa, as I have seen many photographs of this beautiful little island.

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