David Babich, July 13, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
David Babich
Onboard NOAA Ship Fairweather
July 5 -14, 2006

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Date: July 13, 2006

Weather Data 
WX Cloudy, fog
Wind  NW 20 kts
Sea 6ft
Temp 50’s

The Shumagin Islands’ spectacular scenery
The Shumagin Islands’ spectacular scenery

Science and Technology 

For the past 30 hours the FAIRWEATHER has been on route back to port. We had beautiful weather most of the way back, which made it perfect for whale watching. Yesterday evening, many of the crew made their way out to the ship’s bow to watch at least 8-10 humpback whales swimming around the ship. It seemed like everywhere you looked, you saw another whale spout. It was quite exciting, as we all were snapping pictures trying to get the perfect shot. Unfortunately, they were just a little too far away. Later in the evening, the ship stopped to let some of the crew (those with valid fishing licenses) get a chance to do a little fishing. Several had good luck in catching halibut, before the ship had to continue on the voyage back to port. The FAIRWEATHER arrived back at port today at 11:00am. This gives the officers and crew time to prepare for tomorrow’s Fleet Inspection.

FAIRWEATHER Profile: Able Seaman Emily Evans 

More spectacular scenery.
More spectacular scenery.

Emily works in the Deck Department where she is responsible for a variety of duties. She is in charge of cleaning and general maintenance of the ship as well as operates cranes, stands bridge and anchor watch, and pilots the small boats (she drove the survey launch I was on). Not a position you might expect from someone with a B.S. degree in Physics!

Emily grew up in New York, close to Lake Ontario, and raced sailboats competitively. After college, Emily soon realized she wanted to get back to what she loved doing – sailing. She spent the next five years working on sailboats, primarily teaching environmental science classes aboard educational vessels and sailing skills. But she wanted to work with serious boat people. After discounted shipping out commercially, feeling it wouldn’t be stimulating enough, she looked into NOAA. It became a perfect fit!

Able Seaman Emily Evans is relaxing in the ship’s mess hall.
Able Seaman Emily Evans is relaxing in the ship’s mess hall.

Working for NOAA has everything Emily was looking for – a serious, science oriented experience that has a lot of variety and opportunities. She actually heard about NOAA through her older brother, Ben. Ben happens to be the Field Operations Officer on the RAINIER. So it is very comforting to know she has family close by. Emily loves being on the water and driving the small boats. She feels very fortunate to be able to see parts of the country like Alaska that very few people get a chance to see. For now, she is just savoring her time aboard ship. She is studying to get certified for the survey department which will provide many more opportunities for her in the future.

Personal Log 

I’ve had a wonderful ten days in Alaska!  I want to thank everyone at NOAA and especially the officers and crew of the FAIRWEATHER for allowing me to join them for this leg of their hydrography season.  The knowledge I’ve gained from this experience will be shared with my students for years to come!

The NOAA ship FAIRWEATHER off the coast of the Shumagin Islands.
The NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER off the coast of the Shumagin Islands.

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