Dennis Starkey, July 17, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Dennis Starkey
Onboard NOAA Ship Miller Freeman
July 16 – August 4, 2006

Mission: Pollock Survey
Geographical Area: Bering Sea
Date: July 17, 2006

Science and Technology Log 

We made a krill trawl today to check the sonar equipment.  It was a check on one of the primary food sources of the Pollock and it helps the echo-integration specialists hone their skills at identifying Pollock versus other schools of marine organisms.  The trawling device was designed to catch a small bucket of krill of which it did. The specimens were weighed and then photographed on a scanner for later base study analysis. The greatest thing about the cruise so far is the warm, helpful welcome I received on board and the willingness of everyone to spend some time with me to share conversation, and bring me up to speed on what is taking place.

Members of the fisheries biology staff begin to count out and weigh the Walleye Pollock from the sorting table.
Members of the fisheries biology staff begin to count out and weigh the Walleye Pollock from the sorting table.

Personal Log 

I had a few days to visit Dutch Harbor while the scientific staff rotated and the ship restocked. The most impressive observation for most people living in the lower forty-eight states must be the abundance of our national bird, the Bald Eagle.  They congregate here for the free fish that spill overboard at one of the many fishing plants. They are rather like pigeons here. The harsh climate does not suit trees well so the eagles perch on the hillsides and, more often, on the store rooftops and streetlights right in town.

Living on the 205ft MILLER FREEMAN takes some getting used to.  I am not accustomed to the small living quarters on board yet.  I am rooming with the two Russian scientists in a “cozy” 54 sq. ft. bunkroom. I sleep on the top bunk and have been pleasantly lulled to sleep by the drone of the engine the past two nights.  The sea has been calm but overcast.  I have had the chance to see Minke whales, Dall’s porpoises, fur seals, and incredible amounts of sea birds!  I have been getting used to the many hatches, decks, and stairways. I still find myself laughing out loud when I come to a dead end or the wrong deck just trying to get to my room.

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