Steven King, July 30, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea Steven King
R/V Kilo Mauna
June 30, 2010 – August 2, 2010

Mission: Ocean Atmosphere Dynamics
Geograpical Area: Hawaii
Date: July 30,  2010

On the Night Shift


For the past two nights I have been on watch from 9 pm to 5 am. I helped out with the implementation of the CTD Rosette which measures conductivity, temperature, oxygen anddepth of the ocean. The Rosette is also used to take water samples at different depths in the ocean. The Rosette descended to 500 meters below the surface of the ocean to take measurements and collect water samples. That is about 1,640 yards, or the same as lining up about 16 football fields end to end. This is a picture of me taking a water sample from the Rosette. One reason why the water samples are taken is that the water can be analyzed on land with tools to give precise measurements. These measurements are then compared to the measurements taken by the electronic equipment that is submerged in the water. Consequently, the two sets of measurements are compared to make sure the electronic equipment is accurately measuring the different elements of the water. Scientists also use the water samples to test for phosphorus as well as examining the samples for organisms living in the water.It is really quite phenomenal how the entire process occurs. On the side of the Rosette is a series of bottles which we set opened to a trigger system. The entire Rosette is attached to a cable on the crane. If you look at the bottom of my blog, you will see the crane and its operator. The netting, which you see behind me, is taken down and set aside. The crane picks up the Rosette, and two people tag it, or help it into the water using guide lines. The purpose of the tagging is to prevent the Rosette from spinning or careening into the side of the boat.

Yesterday, when the Rosette came back up, it was covered in a clear, viscous material. The gel appeared to have small black spheres suspended in it which makes me theorize that it could have been some sort of egg spawn that the Rosette collected when it was in the water. One scientist believed it could be also have been some sort of bacteria.

Last night I also went to one of the upper decks to see what it was like, and was it ever dark out. Dr. Weller explained to me that there are no lights on at that time so that the captain and his crew can see at night. Man-made lights make it hard for the pilot of the ship to navigate at night. This would be similar to keeping the dome light in your car off during nighttime driving so that your night vision is not affected.

So here I am in the picture taking the water sample. We had just brought the Rosette back in from the ocean. This was all done in the darkest of nights. Sounds kind of scary, doesn’t it? Actually, it was kind of exhilarating seeing the waves crashing against the stern of the boat while the Rosette descended into the surf. Of course, there were plenty of people supervising me and making sure I was safe and sound. I was also wearing a life jacketwhich also has a light attached to it in case I should fall overboard. It is important in science and in life to always take the necessary precautions from danger.


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