Obed Fulcar, August 7, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea Obed Fulcar
NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
July 27, 2010 – August 8, 2010

Mission:Summer Pollock survey III
Geograpical Area:Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: August 7, 2010

Today at 0600 am we finally made it back to Dutch Harbor. We arrived yesterday at the Island of Unalaska, where “Dutch” is located, but we were on the other side of the island, performing a Callibration (adjustment or fine tunning) of the acoustic SONAR.
Fishing during downtime
Fishing during downtime
The ship came to a complete stop, and using shiny metal spheres, tied to lines that were dropped on both sides and under the ship, a “ping” or sound wave was done for fine adjustment. Callibrations are done several times a year in order to for the Sonar to work accurately.
The crew took advantage of the ship been anchored to do some fishing for Halibut fish, but the catch was mostly of Cod fish. We also went out on a boat ride on the Peggy D speed boat, named after Oscar Dyson’s wife, around nearby bays and inlets, where we saw wildlife like sea otters and Puffin seabirds.
Later on the day I was able to see where this sensitive piece of high technology was located when my good friend Robert, 2nd Engineer of the Oscar Dyson, gave a last tour of the “bowels of the beast”. We went through several hatches and steps down to the lowest decks of the ship, where Robert explained the many pieces of heavy duty equipment and machinery that kept the ship on the move.
First we put on Ear Muffs, because the noice level was too high (again safety first) and then we went to see the giant forward thruster in charge of moving the ship left or right, followed by even larger and louder machines: the ship’s four Caterpillar Diesel Engines.These enormous and heavy duty machines were connected to large generators that 24 hours a day supplied the electricity needed to run all of the ship’s electronic systems.
Engine Room
Engine Room
Next we checked out another room containing the large Wastewater Treatment tank, in charge of treating all the grey water or waste water from toilets, showers, and sinks of the ship. The tank utilized a biological process where bacteria broke down all the waste, then the resulting water was treated with with a combination of chemicals and Ultra Violet (UV) light to kill any germs before being safely released into the ocean.
Finally he showed methe Disalinization Plant in charge of producing up to 1,500 gallons of freshwater by Evaporation or boiling of the saltwater and then throughCondensation, where the water vapor is then separate from the salt and then be collected for human consumption. Also was able to see the darn Sonar acoustic antenna at the very bottom of the ship. I was amazed at the sustainability of the Oscar Dyson and how strict were NOAA’s rules concerning reduction of pollution of the oceans.
After thanking Robert and the crew it was time to say goodbye to the Oscar Dyson and to all my new friends that I made during the Summer Pollock cruise. I leave with a lot of memories, a wealth of experience and resources that I hope will have an enormous impact in my students when the new school year starts in September. I know it already have made an impact not only in my students, but in my family,friends and colleagues who had followed my adventures in my Blog these past 3 weeks. I wanted to thank CO Mike Halshyk, XO Sarah Duncan, and NOAA Corps Officers Ensign Russel Pate, Ensign Amber Payne and Ensign David Rodziewicz for their diligence in taking care of us, the scientitsts on board for their patience and wealth of knowledge, as well as all the crew of the Oscar Dyson for feeding me, teaching me about life at sea, and for bringings us back safe and in one piece. I also wanted to thank Elizabeth McMahon, Elizabeth Bullock , and Jennifer Hammond from NOAA for taking care of everything, and to my fellow Teacher at Sea Story Miller. You can check out her bloghttp://storymillernoaa2010.blogspot.com/
Hoy temprano a las 0600 am horas finalmente llegamos de vuelta a Dutch Harbor! Desde el dia de ayer habiamos estado anclados en la isla de Unalaska, al extremo opuesto de Dutch Harbor.
La tripulacion y los cientificos estaban practicando una Calibracion del sonar acustico, usando unas esferas metalicas, con el fin de ajustar las lecturas de este sofisticado instrumento electronico. Estas esferas estaban atadas a unas cuerdas finas de un lado a otro del barco (de Babor a Estribor), y con un “ping” del sonar estas eran grabadas en el monitor.
Tambien fuimos en un paseo por las bahias y ensenadas cercanas en la lancha rapida “Peggy D” nombrada en honor a la esposa de Oscar Dyson, Estuvimos admirando el increible panorama de la isla de Unalaska y su vida silvestre como las Nutrias Marinas y las aves marinas Puffin. Luego en la tarde mi buen amigoRobert, 2do Ingeniero de maquinarias del Oscar Dyson, me dio un tour de la barriga del barco.
Armados de linternas y de protectores de oido, debido al alto ruido de las maquinarias. Bajamos bajo cubierta por varias compuertas y escalinatas que nos llevaron primero a visitar el cuarto del Propulsor de proa, usado para darle vuelta al barco. Luego fuimos a ver los enormesGeneradores de gasoil Caterpilar usados para producir la energia necesaria para mover todos los equipos electronicos abordo del Oscar Dyson 24 horas al dia. Despues fuimos a otro cuarto conteniendo el Tanque de Tratamiento de Aguas Negras de la nave donde toda el agua de desecho de inodoros y lavaderos de cocina, utilizando un proceso biologico dondebacteria descompone el desecho en el agua.
Despues el agua pasaba por una lampara de Rayos Ultravioleta para matar todo germen patogeno, para ser luego descargada inofensivamente en el mar. Finalmente visitamos la maquinaria que mas me interesaba ver: la Planta Desalinizadora de Agua que estaba a cargo de producir 1,200 galones de agua potable usando agua salada del mar.
Por medio de un proceso de Evaporacion la sal era separada del agua de mar, y por medio de Condensacion el agua potable es recuperada para consumo humano en el barco. Me sorprendio mucho la sostenibilidad del Oscar Dyson, donde los desechos son reciclados pues en NOAA son muy estrictos con que ninguna basura solida alcanze el mar, lo cual esta prohibido por ley. Es increible que todavia hoy en dia naves comerciales y cruceros de lujo lanzen sus desechos de aguas negras y basura al mar.
Despues de darle las gracias a Robert llego la hora de decir adios al Oscar Dyson y a su tripulacion que fue mi hogar y mi familia por 3 semanas de mi vida en este verano 2010. Me marcho con muchos recuerdos y conocimientos que no solamente impactaran mis estudiantes en Septiembre sino que ya han hecho un impacto positivo. Le agradesco a todo el personal de NOAA, asi como al Oficial Comandante Mike Helshyck, Oficial Ejecutivo Sarah Duncan y demas oficiales, asi como a todo el personal de abordo por haberme adoptado y compartido tantas informaciones durante el Crucero de Pollock. Tambien le agradesco mucho a todos los cientificos abordo asi como a la Maestra en el Mar, mi colega educadora de Dutch Harbor Story Miller por su ayuda y consejos. Pueden tambien chequear su blog enhttp://storymillernoaa2010.blogspot.com/

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