NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
October 4 – 28, 2006
Mission: TAO Buoy Array Maintenance
Geographical Area: Hawaii
Date: October 12, 2006
Science and Technology Log
What a fabulous night sky! More stars than expected and the ocean is flat and smooth, a small swell of 2ft. Well I didn’t attend the 1 a.m. CTD, but I did do the 5 a.m. CTD profile. I was half asleep; I completed the preparation, the cast and the recovery with no worries, but forgot some steps, so I am thankful that the Chief Scientist was awake to remind me. A BIG Fa’afetai Lava (“Thank you” in Samoan) to you Patrick. After the CTD we ate breakfast; I have never had such an assortment of food for breakfast since college, only here the food is better! Hats off to our two cooks, Carrie and Don. They are in the kitchen all day to provide the crew with balanced and healthy meals.
We arrived at the TAO buoy around 9 a.m. and sent a team out on the RHIB to connect to the buoy and drag it to the stern (back of the ship). The sun was out, there was very little cloud cover and the ocean was still very calm. It was beautiful enough just watching over the side of the ship, but while they were bringing it in we saw whales off in the distance. The buoy was recovered, and all hands were back onboard so the spooling began (see photo). Before anything else could happen, we had a man-overboard drill. I definitely feel safe on the ship as the crew is prepared for anything in a moment’s notice!
After 8 spools of line were recovered, the new buoy could then be set up and released. If a line needed repairing, it got spliced together; if not, the 8 spools got reconnected and fed into the ocean. At the end of the last line, a huge anchor was attached, and it sank into the ocean to finish the job (around 5 p.m.). A CTD was completed and everyone was pretty exhausted and ready for a shower and good meal and sleep—not necessarily in that order.