NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
August 10 – 25, 2012
Mission: Shark Longline Survey
Geographical Area: Gulf of Mexico
Date: Friday, August 17, 2012
Weather Data from the Bridge:
Air temperature: 30.8 degrees C
Sea temperature: 29.9 degrees C
2/8ths cloud cover
10 miles of visibility
0-1 foot wave height
Wind speed 16.9 knots
Wind direction WSW
Science and Technology Log:
How to set a line:
I am pretty good at cutting the bait fish. It is all fractions – for large fish it is cut into 4 pieces, for the smaller bait fish, three pieces. Putting the bait securely on the hooks is hard, careful work. You don’t want the bait to fall off the hook as it is put in the water, and the hooks are sharp so I went slow to not stab myself.
Just like using the Scientific Method in class experiments, we have to follow a set procedure for laying out the line. This way the data gathered can be compared to previous years and from set to set. The set locations are randomly generated for sections of the Gulf. We will lay lines in each grid square. Lines are set at three different depths, shallow, medium and deep. Even the deepest sets are still on the continental shelf and not in the truly deep, central Gulf waters. The line is set and left on the ocean floor for one hour. Then it is time to Haul Back — bring the line up and see what we caught.
Every hook is recorded as it comes back on the boat. If the hook is empty or still has bait, or the most wonderful moment — if there is a fish! — everything is recorded. Each fish is recorded in great detail: species, length, weight where it was caught and other comments. Almost everything we catch is released. There are a few types of fish that are kept to take samples for scientific studies being done.
This blog is mostly pictures with captions. I feel fine even when the waves pick up and the boat starts to rock and roll, WoooHoo! But 10 minutes on the computer leaves me nauseous and green for a good long while.
My favorite thing to do is watch the flying fish skitter across the water surface. It is amazing to me how far they can “fly”.
The Oregon II
Water and fuel are vital to keeping people and the boat going. Both are carefully monitored several times a day.
Drinking water is produced by reverse osmosis, sea water comes in and is put through several filters for us to drink and shower. With 30 people on board for two weeks at a time we would need huge tanks and the weight would be enormous. So fresh water is made on board. Sea water is used to clean the decks and to flush the toilets.