Thomas Ward, September 19, 2010

NOAA Teacher At Sea: Thomas Ward
Aboard NOAA Ship Miller Freeman

Mission: Fisheries Surveys
Geographical Area of Cruise: Eastern Bering Sea
Date: September 19, 2010

Coming to a close

My adventure aboard the Miller Freeman is coming to a close and we are heading back to port.  The collecting of samples is over and the journey back to port is underway, about 24 hours.  This opportunity has been a once in a life time experience.  Many people told me that before I left and now I truly understand what they were trying to convey.  To be on one of our government’s research vessels has truly been a privilege and an honor.  To work along scientists who talk, live and breath science has been invigorating

Scientists
Scientists

This experience will leave a life long impression upon me.  The vastness and enormity of the ocean’s life hit home for me.  We did 7-10 minute trawls with a trawl net that had a square opening of 3 meters.  The variety of organisms that we pulled up was huge.  You can see a picture of it in a previous blog and the picture does not do it justice.  When one considers the path we fished compared to the size of the Bering Sea and then the size of other oceans it becomes quite overwhelming.  This does not mean that the human can do whatever it wants to it though because of this vastness.  I believe we are the stewards, protectors of this planet and after this trip even more so.  It is nice to know that we have a government agency (NOAA of course) and groups of scientists that have a sense of stewardship towards the planet and all biotic and abiotic factors here on our blue marble.

Looking through a trawl
Looking through a trawl

Another aspect that made an impression on me is how the members on board had a genuine curiosity of what we were pulling out of the ocean.  It was not unusual to have someone looking over our shoulders to see what we brought up in the trawl.  Questions were often asked, and as stated earlier, happily answered by the scientists.  Everyone seems to have a care for life and the creatures that come from the ocean.

I think I have an understanding of the fondness that someone may have for a ship.  I truly understand why they have names too.  This may sound corny but the ship almost becomes an organic entity.  I do not know if it is because we are land dwelling creatures and the ship gives us a comfort and feeling of security or what.  I know the ship is only a piece of equipment and it is truly the crew who keeps it alive and able to protect the people on board.

Ha, the food.  I would be remiss if I did not mention the food (again).  From the fresh made donuts, to the great selection of meals, I will miss the galley.  There is every opportunity on board the Miller Freeman to eat healthy and well.

Seeing that we are coming to a close I would like to give you my email address because I may not always check the comments on this blog and would like to answer any questions you might have regarding my experience in the Eastern Bering Sea aboard The Miller Freeman.
tward@twcny.rr.com
What an adventure, go NOAA.

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