NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimida
May 21-May 27, 2012
Mission: Rockfish Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Eastern Pacific, off the California coast and next to the Mexican Border
Date: May 21, 2012
Hi, my name is Scott Davenport and I am excited to be a part of NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program. It is going to be great. I teach at Paul T. Albert Memorial School located in scenic Tununak, Alaska. It is a Yup’ik village on the Bering Sea. Most families practice subsistence living. My subject is junior high generalist, meaning I teach everything. Last year, I had a great group of seventh and eighth graders. It was my first year in Alaska and as a full-time teacher. Everyone learned a lot.
Teacher at Sea intrigued me because it opens wide array of possibilities. A consistent issue at our school is what comes next? Graduation is a celebration, but it also brings apprehension and uneasiness. There are not a wide range of jobs in the village. It is normally limited to fishing, teaching, being a cashier, store stocker, or bush pilot. A NOAA boat offers a wider range of careers. My experience on the ship will help my students make connections to new possibilities. The long cruises followed by long breaks fit with subsistence living. They can have the time to go on a two week moose hunt and not miss work. Being located on the sea, most of my students are acclimated to spending time on the water. My experience will open eyes.
While on board the Bell M. Shimada, we have seven objectives. Objective #1: Sample the epi-pelagic micronekton. That means–thanks to Cynthia explaining it to me–we are going to see what is living in the upper water column. The specific fish we are looking for are the juvenile rockfish. We will also survey Pacific whiting, juvenile lingcod, northern anchovy, Pacific sardine, market squid and krill. Objective #2: Characterize prevailing ocean conditions and examine prominent hydrographic features. Objective #3: Map the distribution and abundance of krill. Objective #4: Observe seabird and marine mammal distribution and abundance. Objective #5: Collect Humboldt squid. Objective #6: Conduct deep midwater trawls to examine mesopelagic specimen. Finally Objective #7: Examine feeding habits of jellyfish. My personal objective is to not vomit at sea.
The three things I am looking forward to most are meeting new people, witnessing scientific research, and learning new, unexpected items. My three biggest concerns are falling overboard at night into a never-ending dark abyss, the food, and making sure I contribute to the work/use my time wisely. I am also excited to have a break from snow.