NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Rainier
July 24 – August 11, 2006
Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Shumagin Islands, Alaska
Date: August 10, 2006
Our sail is coming to an end and I can truly say that I will take what I learned back to the classroom. The navigation part of the Oceanography class I teach will be based on skills I learned from navigators aboard the RAINIER. My thanks go to ENS Sam Greenaway, RAINIER Navigation Officer who began answering questions and helping me the first day at sea. I would also like to extend special thanks to ENS Nathan Eldridge, RAINIER Junior Officer, for his assistance in plotting courses and letting me use his personal navigation instruments. A note to my students: Do not attempt to contact these officers for assistance. They are probably busy at sea again!
On this cruise, I gained knowledge from unsuspected sources which is always a sign of a good educational experience. Umeko Foster, a Cal Maritime Intern aboard the RAINIER, taught me to not just to use a sextant, but how to read the degrees and minutes properly! Matt Boles took the time to make sure that I had a portion of a chart that could be used in the classroom as a teaching tool. Matt’s video interview will be added to this website in the future.
A lot of people work hard to make sure the ship functions properly. The cooks, survey technicians, engineering crew, and deck crew knew my name and made me feel at home. Many of them have been interviewed and videotaped in my logs. ENS Olivia Hauser, RAINIER Junior Officer, allowed me to room with her for this leg of the cruise. I can’t say enough good things about her personality and adaptability. There is a good reason that she is Morale Officer aboard the RAINIER.
So here is my Top 10 List of things to know about the NOAA Ship RAINIER.
Number 10: You can always find someone to eat ice cream with – even in the middle of the night.
Number 9: If someone on the ship says he or she caught a fish “this big” believe them. I have pictures.
Number 8: You have to be a seasoned crewmember to understand what is being said over the ship’s PA system.
Number 7: Mandatory drills seem to occur following afternoon breaks. Afternoon breaks always include yummy treats prepared by the cooking staff. Coincidence – I think not!
Number 6: If your room is opposite the fan room, beware. Someone checks it every hour and during the night it sounds like the door to your room is opening and closing and then you hear the footsteps walking down the hall. It’s really creepy until you get used to it!
Number 5: If the PA system goes off twice a day, and you hear a loud groan or grunt into the microphone, the Ship’s Store is open.
Number 4: Never get instructions in tying knots from more than one person on the ship.
Number 3: Always get to dinner early if you want pie or cake.
Number 2: If you hear bells, are told to report to the fantail or get in a survey boat, grab a float coat. Almost everything you do on the RAINIER requires wearing a float coat.
Number 1: This is the number one thing I learned aboard the RAINIER, about ships and ocean voyages in general, that will stay with me forever. It is really difficult to spot a person in the water – even with binoculars on the bridge. I vow to wear bright colors and carry a loud horn when sailing in the future.
My Top 10 list contains a little inside humor, but I am very serious in thanking the NOAA Teacher at Sea Program for selecting me, and the crew of the RAINIER for hosting my cruise.