Anne Mortimer: Life at Sea, July 5, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Anne Mortimer
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
July 4 — 22, 2011

Mission: Pollock Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Gulf of Alaska
Date: Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Weather data from the bridge
Air Temperature: 8.8 C
Sea Temperature: 9.3 C
Wind Speed: 16.42 knots
Wind Direction: 210.11 degrees
Barometric Pressure: 1018.31 mbar

Personal Log
We’ve been at sea for almost 24 hours now, and so far, it’s been smooth sailing. We’re headed southwest to the area where the last leg of the cruise left off, which means lots of sailing and no trawling yet. Yesterday, before the ship left port, we participated in a  man-over-board drill and fire drill. These drills are required,  and we are also required to don the life suit for practice.

Anne Moritmer in life suit
Here I am, donning the life-suit.

My shift will be from 4pm to 4am, so I’m trying to adjust myself to that schedule, which last night led me to the bridge. The bridge is where the Commanding Officer and others navigate the ship and control several of the fishing operations. The bridge has windows all around, so even at 11pm, when the sun is close to setting it is still filled with daylight. Yesterday evening, I spent most of my time on the bridge watching Humpback whales with binoculars. Then, just as the sun was presenting a spectacular sunset, we saw multiple whale flukes and spouts on the horizon in the glow of the sun’s rays.

Humpbacks, July 4
We had a spectacular July 4th show at sunset from Humpback whales. Photo by Paul Walline, NOAA scientist.

Species list at Sea (biggest to smallest!):

Humpback whale
Sea lion
Black-footed Albatross
Northern Fullmar
Tufted Puffin

2 Replies to “Anne Mortimer: Life at Sea, July 5, 2011”

  1. Anne, thanks for sharing the photos! My sister Becky Moylan had her life suit training this week also. But I’m sure our Kona waters are much warmer than the Gulf of Alaska! Glad you got to see some humpbacks and sea lions. Alaska’s humpbacks come here to Kona, arriving around November-December and staying until March-April. My husband and I were sitting on our 16′ Hobie Cat sailboat one morning waiting for the wind to pick up when a humpback surfaced right next to our boat (less than 8′ away). It blew out it’s blow hole, tilted it’s head and looked right at me with one huge eyeball! I could still smell it’s “lowtide” smell as it slowly sank below the surface. We sure felt puny next to that great big whale! Thanks again for your blog. It’s making me homesick for Alaska! Robbin

    1. Hi Robbin,

      All your talk of Hawaii is making me long for some hot sunshine! The weather lately has been foggy and it’s been at least a day since I saw a whale, but I’m sure timing is everything. I’m certain they’re out there!

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