NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Fairweather
July 7 – August 8, 2009
Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Kodiak, AK to Dutch Harbor, AK
Date: July 15, 2009
Weather Data from the Bridge
Weather System: early fog burned off by mid-day
Wind: light & variable
Temperature: 11.5º C
Sea State: light swells
Science and Technology Log
There’s a whole bunch of ship-specific jargon that marine researchers need to be conversant in for clear communication with the officers and crew. A couple days ago I mentioned bow and stern lines and frapping lines and boat falls. Now for a primer in basic terminology. The bow is the front of the ship. To get there you go forward. (The bow is a place; forward is a direction.) Similarly, you go aft (direction) to get to the stern (place). By the way, the weather deck at the stern is the fantail which is where a lot of work gets done. Descending into the ship you are going “belowdecks” and to get there you go up or down a ladder (not stairs.) Windows are portlights, which are covered with thick black covering at night so as to not shine light off the ship and cause visual problems for the bridge.
The right side is starboard, the left is port. (Easy to remember, left and port both have four letters, starboard and right are longer.) The ship has running lights which on the Fairweather are on all the times. Starboard is green, port is red (again, the longer words go to starboard.) Ropes aren’t ropes, they’re “lines.”
This evening was a spectacle far beyond what I had hoped for, so most of today’s log will be pictures. I think they’ll be self-explanatory! Let me just preface these pictures with a quote from Chef Joe Lefstein. He and I were chatting on the fantail after dinner and there had been some reports of whales nearby. I told him I was getting my camera and he said, “That’s the kiss of death. There won’t be any whales now.” Welllllll . . .
This shot below is going to be sent to the people at the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute Juneau Humpback Whale Catalog (part of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Juneau. Survey tech Will Sautter told me about their site and I think this is a new sighting! I can’t wait to hear from them! Their URL is at the end of today’s page.
So Joe and I are just blown away by all this (it went on for a good 15 minutes and I took about 75 pictures) and he says, “Can you imagine if we see a breach? I’ve been sailing here for six years and have only seen one.” I turn around to look forward and he yells, “Oh my God, two of them just breached together.” I turned and snapped the following, just catching their splash, and we were treated to another show for another 10 minutes!
Questions for You to Investigate
- How do scientists identify individual humpback whales?
- How long can humpbacks stay under water?
- How many teeth do humpbacks have?
- What is the preferred food of a humpback?
Check out this site below and see if you can recognize “my” flukes?
See what you can identify in the picture of the deck at the top: Red wheels (windlass controls), Fire Station, 2 cranes, 8 vents from lower compartments, the boarding ramp, and 3 pairs of bitts.