NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Rainier
July 24 – August 11, 2006
Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Shumagin Islands, Alaska
Date: July 30, 2006
Visibility: 10 nm
Wind direction: 255
Wind speed: 10 knots
Seawater temperature: 9.40 degrees C
Sea level pressure: 1016.8 mb
Temperature dry bulb: 11.7 degrees C
Temperature wet bulb: 10.6 degrees C
Science and Technology Log
The RAINIER is anchored in Porpoise Harbor while boats conduct hydrography surveys. I completed my first navigation assignment given to me by ENS Nate Eldridge, RAINIER Junior Officer. The assignment is to plot a course from our anchorage at Porpoise Harbor to our next anchorage at Northeast Bight. ENS Eldridge provided me with the detailed sail plan showing waypoints, distances, bearings (directions) as a way of checking my work.
NOAA has several checks and balances that navigators use to assure accuracy of charts. After a rough start, I begin to get the hang of it. NOAA charts are extremely accurate and a larger than normal dot and circle can result in an error of one or two degrees. Most of my navigation skills are related to recreational boating or classroom teaching, both of which allow a large margin for error. Toward the end of the exercise I begin to make small but precise points. ENS Eldridge revises the sail plan due to a change in weather and I complete the revised chart. When pressed, ENS Eldridge said he would give me and A- on my course! I feel that working with the NOAA navigation officers here will provide me with a skill I can take back to the classroom.