Kathleen Harrison: …and Ending the Adventure, July 22, 2011


NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kathleen Harrison
Aboard NOAA Ship  Oscar Dyson
  July 4 — 22, 2011

Location:  Gulf of Alaska
Mission:  Walleye Pollock Survey
Date:  July 22, 2011

Weather Data from the Bridge
True Wind Speed:  15.33 knots, True Wind Direction:  214.98°
Sea Temperature:  8.3° C, Air Temperature:  8.8° C
Air Pressure:  1014.59 mb
Overcast, 5 foot seas
Latitude:  55.54° N, Longitude:  155.57° W
Ship heading:  119°, Ship speed:  10.5 knots

Personal Log:  The time has come for me to pack my bright orange suitcase (thanks, Mom) and leave the NOAA ship Oscar Dyson.

my orange suitcase
Ok, so it is orange, at least I can find it in the luggage carousel at the airport.

The past 3 weeks have been an incredible adventure, and I am now making the journey home to Virginia Beach.  Almost everything I have seen and experienced has been new for me — especially identifying the animal species here in the Gulf of Alaska.  I am extremely grateful to the Teacher at Sea Program for allowing me to participate — I now have a better understanding of how real science is conducted, and am very excited to share this experience with my students, colleagues, family, and friends.

The title of this log entry might be Ending the Adventure, but I hope it is not the end of my relationship with NOAA.  I would like to be active in the Teacher at Sea Alumni group, and participate in other teacher activities that NOAA sponsors, such as Teacher in the Field, and Teacher in the Lab.  And, every time that I tell someone about this adventure, I will be reliving it all over again.

sunrise in Shelikof Strait
Sunrise in Shelikof Strait, 5:30 am.

In reflecting over the time that I have spent on board the ship, I have come to some conclusions about science, and life at sea:  1) Science is not easy, glamorous, or neat most of the time.  2) Science is messy, time-consuming, and frustrating most of the time.  3) Scientists must talk to each other, discussing ideas and problem solving.  4) Scientists on a team must at least get along with each other, and it is helpful if they actually like each other. 5) Scientists set very high goals, and then spend their time trying to make equipment work, manage millions of data points, and praying for good weather.  6)  The work that marine scientists do is vital to our understanding of the seas.  7)  Every science teacher should participate in real world research.  8) Alaska is a beautiful place.  9)  One can get used to the smell of fish.  10) I wonder what it will be like to walk on a non-moving surface again?

rain gear, the height of fashion
Rain gear pants, used to keep the fish slime off.
Mountains of the Alaskan peninsula
Snow covered peaks of the Alaskan Peninsula.

Thank you for reading this log, I hope that you have been informed and found it interesting.  The next time that you eat seafood, or see fish in an aquarium, think of the countless scientists, ship’s crew, and whales who have contributed their knowledge and skills to the conservation and use of the world’s oceans.

And thank you to my husband and daughters for letting me be away for 3 weeks.

6 Replies to “Kathleen Harrison: …and Ending the Adventure, July 22, 2011”

  1. Hey Kathy
    hope you made it back safe and sound and are enjoying true summer weather! It is super hot in virginia beach. as i perused your blogs i am so proud of you for being a part of such an amazing adventure. all the pictures were fabulous and i know this will only add to you as a teacher. i am excited for you to share your journey with your students and fellow teachers.
    very much love, Sharon Kelly

    1. Sharon, thank you so much for reading my logs – you are fulfilling NOAA’s mission of making the general public aware of the important work that they do. I had a great adventure, and I am very excited to share with my colleagues and students. I am very happy to be back in the heat, Kathy

  2. Hello Mrs. Harrison,
    Can you see this comment? I’ve tried replying before but you didn’t see them. Well anyways, I enjoyed reading your blog and I can’t wait to hear more about it.

    1. Henrath,
      sorry I have been slow in replying, it has been a very busy summer. I am glad you enjoyed reading the blog, and I am looking forward to sharing the trip with you.
      Mrs. Harrison

  3. Hi Mrs. Harrison!
    I was recently changed into your class, so I am a little late starting my summer assignment. I only have to reply to one blog right? Oh, and would you mind emailing me. I have a lot of questions pertaining the project.

  4. Mrs. Harrison,
    So I herd it all went well I defunding forgot to do this to be honest but I see what I will be reading for the rest of today 🙂 it sounds like you had fun and I’ve only gone on a ship once on a trip with my dad as a fishermen just as an experience thus summer the smell wasn’t great but I got used to it and the rocking was the hardest part to get used to it was so hard to walk at first so now I imagine how you must’ve felt specially when you had to be careful w the speciments I’ll see you tomorrow again hopefully and sorry if I comment to much on these blogs

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