Kristy Weaver: One Stormy Week, May 27, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kristy Weaver
Aboard R/V Savannah
May 23 — June 1, 2012

Mission:  Reef Fish Survey
Location:  Off the Coast of Vero Beach, Florida
Date: May 27, 2012

Current Weather: 73 Degrees, Windy and Rainy

Hello from Sunny Florida!

Storm clouds off the coast of Vero Beach, FL

Actually let’s change that to, “Hello from mostly cloudy Florida!”

When we learned about weather in our science kit we talked about how the weather is always changing and how we have to do different things or dress differently because of the weather. I have really been thinking about this for the past few days.  I wanted this post to be about all of the science that I am doing on this trip, but the weather has taken over!

Storm clouds off the stern (back) of the boat
about 20 miles off Vero Beach, FL

We were doing a lot of fishing off the coast of Georgia and our plan was to stay there for a few more days.  We had to move because there was a storm that was headed right towards us.   It has not rained that much.  The problem is the wind.  The wind makes it dangerous to work on the boat and can make large waves.  If we stayed where we were there would have been waves about 5-10 feet high.  Some would have been even higher.

The arrow points to where our boat is on this map of Florida

This would have been too rough to work in so we headed south to the water off Daytona Beach, Florida.  After a while the water got rough there too so we headed even further south.  Right now we are about 30 miles off the coast of Vero Beach, Florida.

The wind is about 20-25 miles per hour.  (That would definitely be a “2” on our wind scale  if we used our flags today!) That is the speed limit that cars can drive on our school’s street!   The waves are about 6 feet tall right now, which is taller than I am.  The boat is rocking back and forth a lot.  This makes it hard to walk, but it’s also pretty funny because I need to hold onto the walls wherever I go!

The boat was rocking a lot today.
Sometimes I had to hold on while we waited to drop the traps.

We are done fishing for the day because the wind is getting stronger, but we will start again in the morning.  We are going to go closer to the shore where the waves will not be as big.  When we get there the captain will set the anchor.  The anchor will grab onto the ocean floor and hold us in one spot for the night.  We will head back out to sea in the morning when the storm passes.

Clouds off the stern of the R/V Savannah
Part of Tropical Storm Beryl

Weather also affected the way I packed.   About three weeks ago I was on the beach with my mom and I was so cold!  I was nervous that I was going to be freezing on the boat because I knew I would be working outside until midnight.  So before I left for my trip I bought a whole bunch of really warm clothes to take with me.  I haven’t needed any of it!  It is a little more chilly on the water than it is on land, but I still haven’t needed more than a sweatshirt and shorts to stay warm.   I checked the weather in New Jersey, and I checked the weather in Georgia, but I didn’t believe it!  I should have trusted those meteorologists!

I can’t wait to tell you everything I have learned from the scientists on the ship!  I also have some GREAT pictures of dolphins for you.  They were jumping out of the water and put on quite a show for us yesterday.  Make sure you check back soon to see them!

(On a personal note:  I would like to wish my niece Maddie a very happy 9th birthday!  Aunt Kristy loves you!  Also,  congratulations to my parents on the purchase of their new home!  I’m sorry I couldn’t be there, but I know you understand:)

2 Replies to “Kristy Weaver: One Stormy Week, May 27, 2012”

  1. Hi Ms. Weaver!!! My students and I have some questions for you…
    1. Have you been bit by a fish?
    2. Did you touch the shark?
    3. How was it dissecting the fish? Did you dissect the fish or did the scientists? Can you post pictures of the fish being dissected?
    4. How many fish in all did you catch?
    5. What did you eat?
    6. Did you get to swim with the fish?
    7. Did you discover any new fish?
    8. What was your favorite part of your trip?

    1. Hi Mrs. Hayes’s class! Thank you for your post. Here are the answers to your questions.
      1. Have you been bit by a fish? No, thank goodness! The fish did not bite anyone. Some of them have sharp spines on the top of them so I always wore gloves when I touched them.
      2. Did you touch the shark? No I did not touch it! We wanted to get it back in the water as soon as we could. We did get video of a tiger shark! I will email that to your teacher so you can see!
      3. How was it dissecting the fish? It was interesting to watch. They take these bones out of the fish’s heads and then they can look at the bone and see how old the fish is.
      Did you dissect the fish or did the scientists? I dissected four fish. They would have let me do more, but I was more comfortable taking care of the data recording.
      Can you post pictures of the fish being dissected? I do have two pictures of this. My students are a little younger than you are and I am not sure they would all like to see that. I will email the pictures to Mrs. Hayes if you would like to see them.
      4. How many fish in all did you catch? We caught over 2,000 fish but we did not keep all of them.
      5. What did you eat? I actually have a video about this that I hope to post soon. Pete was our cook on the ship and he made lots of delicious meals for us. We had steak, shrimp, fajitas, and he even made stuffed mushrooms and baked cookies for us. They definitely brought a lot of food on the ship and they fed us very well. The ship has a full kitchen, which is called a galley on a boat. It even had a dishwasher and a microwave!
      6. Did you get to swim with the fish? I love swimming, but nobody was allowed in the water because everyone was working. Plus, we were out there for a storm so the water was rough and swimming would have been dangerous.
      7. Did you discover any new fish? All of the scientists knew the fish that we collected, but there were some new fish that I had never seen. I had never heard of croakers before. These fish actually make croaking noises! These were interesting to the biologists too because they are not usually found in the water where we were fishing.
      8. What was your favorite part of your trip? I loved being able to see the sunset every night. I think I got a picture of it every evening. It was also amazing to wake up on the ocean every day. It was like a dream come true. However, the best part was meeting everyone on the ship, hearing their stories, and having so much time to ask them questions and learn from them. Did you know that your teacher used to talk about being a marine biologist when she was little? It was great to spend some time with real biologists. I never would have met everyone without the Teacher at Sea program.

      It is also rewarding to see how excited my students are about the trip. I’m sorry I did a terrible job at answering this question but I cannot just pick one favorite part! 🙂

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