NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Albatross IV
July 31 – August 11, 2006
Mission: Sea Scallop Survey
Geographical Area: Georges Bank, New England
Date: August 4, 2006
Science and Technology Log
If you are observant you will notice that I’m on my second Friday in a row. Time is a hard thing to keep track of here on the ocean. Last watch, Thursday I think, we entered Canadian waters. I was looking for a sign the said “Welcome to Canada”, but I must have missed it.
I am a scallop scrubber! With each haul five scallops are chosen at random to gather in-depth data on (all other scallops are weighed and measured only). The shells are scrubbed clean so the scientists on shore can determine the age. Scallop shells are a little like a tree trunk. Age is determined by growth rings. The larger scallops can be five years and older. The scallop is measured for length and weighed individually then opened. The sex is entered into the computer next. Male scallops have a white gonad and females have a pink gonad. The gonad is weighed, and then the muscle (what we would call the “scallop”) is cut out and weighed. The shell is dried and numbered to match the data, bagged, and frozen. Some scallops are very clean, but others can have barnacles, “weeds”, sponges, and/or slime (don’t know the scientific term!) growing on their shells. As a shell scrubber you get to know these things and the best way to remove them!! Finally the whole station is hosed down for the next haul.
The noise of the engines and the rocking of the ship are becoming second nature. The weather has been kind and swells small. I am really, really hoping that is stays this way. Laundry is my goal for the morning. The washer and drier are behind a metal door called a hatch. There are six dogs (big metal latches) that must be closed when the ship is at sea. I have opened and closed those six dogs so many times I’ve given them names: King, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Lady, Spot, and ToTo! So many things to learn.