NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
May 14 – May 24, 2012
Mission: Collecting Zebra Arc Shells and Multibeam Mapping
Geographical Area: Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Date: Monday, May 21, 2012
Mission: Multibeam Mapping, Arc shell collections, Marine debris monitering, Fish telemetry, Acoustic receiver deployment/ maintenance
Weather Data from the Bridge: Monitoring Tropical Storm “Alberto”
Science and Technology Log
I am currently a “Teacher on Land”. Tropical storm “Alberto” has forced our ship to dock in Florida. I found out Saturday evening around 7:30 in the evening about the storm. The CO (commanding officer) held a meeting in the mess deck (eating area) to inform all crew about the change in plans. We were informed that we were heading to Florida to get away from the storm. The plan would be to arrive in Florida at the Mayport Naval Base at 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning. If the storm stayed on track as predicted we would leave Florida on Monday at 5:00 p.m.
A tropical storm causes high winds ranging from 33 – 73 miles per hour, and very high waves. There is a weather buoy located by Gray’s Reef tracking weather conditions. The Nancy Foster is docked at Mayport Naval Base near Jacksonville, Florida. Another NOAA ship, Okeanos Explorer, is docked behind us. Okeanos Explorer was headed north to Rhode Island which is their home base , when they had to turn around. What is really cool about Okeanos is that it has a giant soccer ball which is their satellite system.
On the bridge of the ship, the CO (commanding officer), and her crew use the ship’s computers to monitor radar, weather, navigation, and water depth. The ship is equipped with GPS (global positioning system). GPS is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information. In all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites, weather can be tracked. The GPS system is maintained by the United States government, and can be accessed by anyone using a GPS receiver.
The view of Mayport Naval Base is amazing. This base is like a city having everything imaginable. There is a bowling alley, a hotel, stores, restaurants, a beach, a gym, and much more. Yesterday, we went outside the guarded gates to the beach area. We ate at a nice restaurant. I am now having trouble walking on land. It feels like I am still on the ship. Today, I walked outside the gates where the ships are to go get some pizza for lunch. I had to show the armed Navy guards my I.D. We walked quite a distance. We stopped at the base exchange to buy some magazines and snacks. On the way back, I stopped where the submarine Tikuna, from Brazil is docked. I got to climb on top of the sub. It was very cool. Some of our crew from the Nancy Foster went down a very steep ladder into the sub. We are expecting to resume activities at Gray’s Reef on Tuesday. We are heading back around eight this evening. Okeanos Explorer left at ten this morning, and they are reporting rough seas as they head back to Rhode Island. The crew will continue to monitor weather conditions….