Jennifer Goldner: Underway/Behind the Scenes, August 12, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jennifer Goldner
Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
(NOAA Ship Tracker)
August 11 — August 24, 2011

Mission: Shark Longline Survey
Geographical Area: Southern Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico
Date: August 12, 2011

Weather Data from the Bridge
Latitude: 29 03.78 N
Longitude: 080 32.183 W
Wind Speed: 9.76 kts
Surface Water Temperature: 29.20 C
Air Temperature: 29.88 C
Relative Humidity: 84%
Barometric Pressure: 1012.55 mb

Science and Technology Log

NOAA Ship Oregon II is like a city. This 175’ research vessel has the capability of making potable water, processing sewage, and making its own power. Yesterday I followed around the engineers as they prepared for us to go to sea so all these things would run smoothly.

Because there are so many fluids on board (such as lubricating oil, hydraulic oil, waste oil, and diesel), it is very important to know their levels in order to be able to balance the ship. The Captain runs stability tests before going to sea. The engineers measure these fluids. How do they do it? They take tank soundings. If the engineer is measuring how much diesel is in the tanks, it is called innage. If the air space in the tank is measured, it is ullage.

Stainless steel tape and brass plumbob used for sounding the tanks
Stainless steel tape and brass plumbob used for sounding the tanks
William, 3rd Assistant Engineer, sounding a tank
William, 3rd Assistant Engineer, sounding a tank

The lid to the tank is taken off first. Next a stainless steel measuring tape with a plumbob (weight) is lowered down into the tank. (Stainless steel and brass are used to prevent static electricity.)  When the plumbob hits the buckler plate at the bottom, the tape is reeled in to see the level of the diesel. On this ship the readings are done in feet and inches. Some ships use the metric system. Either way, it is crucial that the measurements are read accurately. After the readings are taken, they put the numbers into a sounding table to calculate how many

Gene, 1st Assistant Engineer, making conversions on the sounding table
Gene, 1st Assistant Engineer, making conversions on the sounding table

gallons still remain in the tank. There are 9 diesel tanks for NOAA ship Oregon II. Can you guess how many gallons of diesel the ship holds?

After soundings are taken for diesel, hydraulic fuel, and lubricating oil, a sounding is done for waste/dirty oil. All ships have to keep an oil record book to account for proper disposal of the dirty oil. In the event there is an oil slick on the ocean, the record book will show where all the oil for the ship went. NOAA is very cautious with the oil. One drop of oil can contaminate 100,000 gallons of water!

Dirty strainer
Dirty strainer

Another task to perform before going to sea is cleaning the strainers. Salt water is used to cool the engines; however debris comes in, too. The strainers stop the debris. When they get full the engines will overheat if they aren’t cleaned. According to the engineers, the strainers are much fuller in Pascagoula than in Charleston.

Reverse osmosis machine
Reverse osmosis machine

NOAA Ship Oregon II also makes potable (safe to drink) water. This is done by the reverse osmosis machine. Essentially the water is squeezed through membranes. The government allows up to 700 parts per million (ppm) of salt, but on this ship it is kept to 150 ppm. Water is made 22 miles or more from the coast. This is due to the fact that there are more pollutants closer to shore. The ship can carry 7,000 gallons of potable water.

Brian, Junior Officer, laying down the tracks
Brian, Junior Officer, laying down the track lines

Charting is one of the many other things that must be done before sailing. This is done by the Junior Officer, Brian. He is responsible for laying down the track lines (the course the boat will take). At any given time, he has 3 days tracked. This is done electronically then it is logged on the paper chart. On the map, blue is shallow water and white is deeper water. For Charleston Port, blue is 18 feet and below and white is 18 feet or above. This differs from port to port.

Personal Log

Brian, Electronics Technician
Brian, Electronics Technician

NOAA Ship Oregon II has an entire crew of experts.  Thanks to Brian, Electronics Technician, for fixing my laptop which had a virus.  Had it been plugged into the network, it could’ve shut down the entire NOAA fleet!  All the ships rely on the internet for weather, latitude and longitude, etc.  Thank you, Brian for fixing the problem!

You may have noticed from the Ship Tracker that we left from Charleston rather than Mayport. This was a precaution taken because of Tropical Storm Emily. When I arrived at Papa Pier in Charleston, I was greeted by Commanding Officer, Master Dave Nelson. He told me to just call him “Dave.” He is extremely down-to-earth and eager to share what he knows with me. It is obvious he has earned the respect of the entire crew.

Boarding NOAA Ship Oregon II
Boarding NOAA Ship Oregon II
Cliff, Fisherman
Cliff, Fisherman

Over the course of the evening, I got to meet many of the crew members. They each were very helpful in getting me ready to sail. One of the fishermen, Cliff, greeted me and explained longline fishing.  Right now, however, we are transiting, or steaming, down the coast for 3 days. They won’t start fishing until we round the Florida peninsula on Sunday. Suffice it to say, I’m having the time of my life! This crew is awesome!

At the airport with Mom and Dad
At the airport with Mom and Dad

I had two added bonuses for my trip to sea. My parents dropped me off at the airport. They said it reminded them of me going to my first day of kindergarten with my shorts, T-shirt, and backpack! I also got to see my sister and her kids on a layover in Dallas. My nieces made a card for me which I have in my locker. In it my niece Ellie asked, “What are you going to grow up to be?” I have to say, the very fact that she doesn’t think I’m grown up makes me smile. Robert Ballard said it best, “I am a lifelong learner . . . a kid who has never grown up.” So Ellie, in answer to your question, I want to be a kid when I grow up. I don’t ever want to stop asking questions and asking “why?” It’s what kids do best.

Picnic with my nieces and nephew on a layover at DFW
Picnic with my nieces and nephew on a layover at DFW 
Card from my nieces
Card from my nieces

Photo Gallery from NOAA Ship Oregon II

My living quarters, stateroom 12
My living quarters, stateroom 12
Dolphin playing on starboard side of the ship
Dolphin playing on starboard side of the ship
Walter, Second Cook, and Paul, Chief Steward in the galley- The meals are WONDERFUL!
Walter, Second Cook, and Paul, Chief Steward, in the galley- The meals are WONDERFUL!!
The Bridge
The Bridge
Sunset- Southern Atlantic
Sunset- Southern Atlantic
Watching the sunrise through my window
Watching the sunrise through my window
Mess Hall- Notice the Captain's Saints chair!
Mess Hall- Notice the Captain's Saints chair!
Hanging out in the lounge on our down time
Hanging out in the lounge on our down time
Engine Room
Engine Room

22 Replies to “Jennifer Goldner: Underway/Behind the Scenes, August 12, 2011”

  1. Wow, Jen! I am so very proud of you again, always and forever! You keep the kid in me alive as I live vicariously thru your travels!

    Blessings to you and the whole crew…..they better be good to you!

    Love you,
    Auntie Sue

  2. Love you, Jen and love living vicariously through all of your wonderful adventures!

    Can’t wait til the next blog!

    Auntie Sue

  3. I have been anxiously waiting for your first post, and it did not disappoint! WOW!! What an amazing experience. Everyone sounds so nice and learning about the ship was cool. I’m impressed with the whole water bit…that’s a ton of water to have on board! And of course I loved the part about the fam…so neat. I have to admit – this post made me tear up. I am SO proud of you! Love you!! 🙂

  4. So proud of you Jen. We are all sitting at mom and dad’s wishing you the best. Can’t wait to hear more about your adventure.

  5. Sounds like you’re having a great time. I guessed 60,000 gallons of diesel…am I right? Keep the good posts coming!

  6. I posted a comment 5 hrs ago but it is in a different place so here is my 2nd try ; ). All I can say is I love the updates and getting to know your crew. Can’t wait for the next post. Next time you go, I AM CARRYING your duffle bag! So proud of you.

  7. Hey, this is great! I’ll be able to impress my crew on measuring fuel in our barge. Can’t wait to mention the “ullage” measurement. Even though our tank is only 100 gallons, it still has ullage, as well as innage.
    I can tell you’re doing an awesome job, Jen. I’m very proud of you Love you!

  8. So glad to get to read about what you’re doing and get to see pictures. Have you had any problems with motion sickness? Been praying about that for you. Had a great Cruise night in Jay tonight. Great turnout. Keep the posts coming.

  9. So glad to get to read about your trip and see pictures. Have you had any motion sickness problems? Been praying about that. Had a great Cruise night here in Jay tonight. Great turnout. Keep the posts coming.

  10. I am so very proud of you, Jen!! I love your post and cannot wait until the next one! You are such an inspiration to me and I know you are having the absolute time of your life. By the way… Crimson and his woman are alive and well haha!! We are enjoying them and Randy says that after we are through with our lessons with them, he wants to keep them because, as he says, he brought them back from the dead after we brought them home lol! Take care, and I can’t wait to see some shark pictures! Love you and take care! 🙂

  11. With your posts it is like we are going right along with you!! Keep us updated as you learn because we learn right along with you. Glad you are having a wonderful time.

  12. Great post! Andy guesses 25,000 gallons. He also wants to know what’s the prize? :). how neat that you have such a wonderful and helpful crew. You will be able to come up with so many lesson plans from this trip. The kids will love the firsthand experience. Have fun!

  13. Mrs. Daftari,
    Have you been sea sick? What kind of sharks have you seen? Are you tagging baby sharks or big sharks?!

    2nd hour

  14. Mrs. Daftari,
    Thank you for all the photos and stories! If you can we would love to see shark pictures and hope you get to tag some.

    3rd hour

  15. Mrs. Daftari,
    Can we see pictures of sharks and dolphins, please! Have you been underwater or scuba diving yet? Do you get to, if you haven’t yet? Have you seen any sea turtles or jelly fish or whales?
    For the Captain (if he doesn’t mind answering questions), Is it cool being the captain?

    5th hour

  16. Mrs. Daftari,
    Have you caught any sharks? We love the pictures! How many different kinds of animals have you seen? Can you go swimming while out in the ocean?

    6th Hour

  17. Mrs. Daftari,
    You are the coolest teacher in the whole wide world! Your blog is cool!

    7th hour

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