NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
May 14 – May 24, 2012
Mission: Retrieve Acoustic Receivers
Georgraphical area of cruise: Atlantic Ocean, off coast of South Carolina
Date: May 16th, 2012
Weather Data from Bridge: Overcast skies, 75 degrees
Science and Technology Log
Hi Everyone! Tuesday, May 15th was a busy day. Preparations were being made to deploy small boats on board NANCY FOSTER. On deck , the crew works with the crane operator to hoist the small boats in the water. Everyone on deck must wear hard hats. The boats must be loaded with supplies before going in the water. Supplies include scientific equipment, dive gear, dive tanks, food, and water. On my boat, “Nemo” gave me a bucket with a lid. I put my water bottle, camera, sunglasses, and extra long sleeved shirt in bucket.
The crane operator lowered NF3 (NF stands for Nancy Foster) in the water. “Nemo” got on board, the two divers, then me. I was very nervous going down the rope ladder. NF3 was bouncing in the water. When I got in the boat, I stumbled and fell on the rough surface. My knee was scraped up and bleeding. I used my water bottle to clean up. Luckily, there were some clean rags. “Nemo” set the GPS (Global Positioning System) for the first site where the divers would work.
When we got to the site, a weighted buoy was thrown off NF3 to mark the position where the divers would enter the water. Nemo would have to carefully steer the boat away from the diving area, but stay near the marker. My job aboard NF3 would be to try to stay put on my bucket seat while the boat rolled and bounced, and water splashed on board. The divers Keith and Randy prepared to go in the water. I had a data sheet to record information. The paper was water proof, and I could use a pencil. The divers reported to me their beginning air tank pressure. The divers had on wet suits, but had to lift their vests with heavy tanks attached while the boat was bouncing. They prepared their masks by putting dish washing liquid and washing it out. This was to prevent the masks from fogging up under water. The divers got ready to get in the water by sitting on the sides of the boat. When “Nemo” said ready, the divers leaned backward to drop in the water. “Nemo” steered the boat clear of the divers. Meanwhile, a loggerhead turtle was swimming nearby watching.
Keith and Randy’s mission was to retrieve an acoustic receiver and deploy a new one. Altogether, I would go with Keith, Randy, and “Nemo” on Tuesday and Wednesday to do a total of five dives. Each time they located the old receiver, replaced it with another, and then took video footage of each of the dive sites. On one dive site a Barracuda was swimming nearby. On another a Nurse Shark was under a ledge. Some sites had lots of fish such as Red Snappers and Gag Groupers.
I have met many amazing people from all over the United States. We talk at meal times. I am trying to get the chefs to reveal their secret recipes for the wonderful food, but they will not tell anyone. Meanwhile I am washing my clothes. The ship has two washers and dryers which happen to be right by my room. I get pretty wet and alittle dirty aboard NF3. My plans for Wednesday night include a meeting with scientists to debrief on the the activities which included sonar mapping, Zebra Arc shell collection, acoustic receiver deployment, and fish tagging. The kitchen has a nice flat screen T.V. with lots of magazines. There are plenty of snacks. The ship will rock me to sleep. I am looking forward to the upcoming activities aboard NANCY FOSTER….I will keep you posted.