Angela Greene: “I found a Science Town… with great coffee!” April 29, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Angela Greene
Aboard NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter
April 29-May 11, 2013

Mission: Northern Right Whale Survey
Geographical Area of Cruise: Atlantic Ocean out of Woods Hole, MA
Date: April 29, 2013

Weather Data from the Bridge: Air Temperature: 12° C or 53.6° F, Sea Temperature: 11° C or 51.8° F, Winds out of the south at 10 knots, Partly Cloudy

Woods Hole
“A day of exploring the land before the ocean.”

Science and Technology Log: Flexibility is definitely the key to success on a NOAA research cruise. I am in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Our ship, the Gordon Gunter, is having minor technical difficulties, so we are not leaving port until tomorrow morning at 8:00 am, one day later than planned. This delay gave me the opportunity to explore a town known as “Little Village, Big Science”!

Little village
“The phrase says it all!”

Woods Hole is a world center for marine, biomedical, and environmental science. Within this tiny village are two large private science organizations, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MLB), and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Also in the village are two large federal government science facilities, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In short, a science town with, not one, but two great coffee houses!

Museum alvin
“Alvin, a ship built for three!” Photo Credit: Peter Partridge, museum staff

I was able  to visit the WHOI Ocean Science Exhibit Center. This is small museum that features the work done by the “Alvin Submarine” including the exploration of hydrothermal vents, and the discovery of the Titanic. I was not familiar with Alvin, so I spent quite a bit of time at this exhibit. Alvin is a submarine that probes the depths of the oceans (all the way to the bottom!) with three scientists in a small titanium sphere. The museum has a simulation model that I was able to board.

New Alvin
“The Alvin Submarine”

Curiosity killed the cat. After leaving the museum, I set out on a quest to find the real Alvin. It seems all I have to do in this town is tell people I am the NOAA Teacher at Sea aboard the Gordon Gunter, and I am permitted to go where no other man has gone before! I. FOUND. ALVIN. Not the old Alvin, but the brand new, not even fully assembled yet, scheduled to deploy this weekend, Alvin! That’s right, folks, I was standing right in front of a scientific vehicle that will propel itself along the floor of the dark, cold ocean with three humans on board in a tiny compartment for a nine hour dive! No standing, no walking, no sunlight, and no bathroom…

“Alvin Pilot, Bruce and a fellow diver discussing the addition of fog lights!”

I met Bruce, one of the Alvin pilots, who has served on over three hundred dives. He was frantically working on the submarine actually owned by the Navy, to meet his weekend deadline. I was amazed that he not only pilots this underwater ship, but he also works on assembling it. I asked him, “What is the worst part about doing a nine hour dive in Alvin?” I was coming up with answers to my question in my own head such as, “leg cramps, claustrophobia, an unexpected need for a bathroom…” He thought a moment and said, “Nothing. There is no worst part of a dive.” He has never turned down the opportunity to dive. I knew then, that I had to figure out a way to become a “Teacher in Alvin”…

“My new Scallop Scientist Friend, Deborah, Operations Research Analyst for NOAA!” Photo Credit: Anthony L. VanCampen, Electronics Technician onboard the Gordon Gunter

Personal Log: Even though our ship hasn’t left the dock, I am already having a great time learning about so many things I never knew existed. I saw a lady walking out of a NOAA building, obviously on her way home after a long day at work. I introduced myself, once again dropping my new powerful title, and I learned that she is a “scallop scientist”! A NOAA PhD! Even though the NOAA aquarium was closed for the day, she took the time to give me a private tour. She showed me her office, shared a Powerpoint about scallop survey research with me, and gave me a scallop shell. I have collected a new scientist friend.

All aboard
“All aboard!”

Today I have learned that so many more things are possible for my students than even I had imagined. In the past I have had a few students say to me that they wanted to be marine biologists. I have made the mistake of telling them to consider limnology, the study of inland waters, because we live in a state bordered by Lake Erie. While limnology would be an amazing field of study for any Tecumseh scientist, marine biology is NOT out of our reach. I see that now. We set sail in the morning.

20 Replies to “Angela Greene: “I found a Science Town… with great coffee!” April 29, 2013”

    1. Really wish I knew who this is, but I am glad you like the Tecumseh jacket! ARROW PRIDE!!!!!!!!! This ship is huge (almost the size of a football field), and I am seasick!

      1. It’s Chris…hope the sickness goes away! Say a littler prayer for your students tomorrow, I think they are kind of nervous.

  1. Hi Angela! Greetings from the “lower” Cape…Eastham! Have a great cruise. I’m so jealous. There have been postings from the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown a plenty….over 113 right whales sighted in Cape Cod Bay in recent days. Calves too!

    Stacey Klimkosky
    (TAS 2009, hydrographic survey in Alaska aboard RAINIER)

    1. Thanks for following, Stacey and for the whale encouragement! Hoping the fog and the seasickness lifts soon! Angie

  2. Hi Angie! I just got done reading your recent post and am very jealous. It sounds like a wonderful adventure and can’t wait to read your next post. The students at Tecumseh are all a buzz about tracking where you are and what you are doing.

    Have fun and keep us posted.

    Linda Fleming

    1. Hi Linda!
      I am having a great time! (except seasickness is the pits!). I am learning so much that my brain hurts. No whale yet, but the fog is supposed to lift tomorrow… the fog horn has been on all day! We could literally be sitting in a pile of whales, but can’t see anything. Should be able to upload a new post tomorrow night. Hope the Science OAA goes well! Thanks for following! Angie

  3. Hi Mrs. Greene, your 8th grade TMS Scientists here. We have been tracking your ship and are excited you’re finally on your way! We’re all glad that you were able to explore the town and make some new friends, and we will be campaigning for you to be the first “Teacher in Alvin”! So glad to hear that you were also able to find some coffee while you are there! So far there are two things we want to know: What is your daily routine like aboard the Gordan Gunter? Have you seen any whales yet?

    Thanks! And keep us posted!

  4. Hey Mrs. Greene! Your favorite lab assistant here! I’m loving the pictures! Keep us all posted! See you soon.

    1. Hi Leah!!!
      So good to hear from you! I will try to keep posting some good shots for you. No whales so far… Keep Mr. Pickard in line! Love, Mrs. Greene

  5. Hi Mrs. Greene, your TMS 8th grade scientists here! We have been following your blog and tracking your ship the past two days! We’re glad that you are finally on your way to do some research! It’s also good to know that you found some good coffee. And don’t worry; campaigning has already begun to make you a “Teacher in Alvin”! There are a few things we would like to know about your young journey: What is your daily routine like on the Gordon Gunter? And, Have you seen any whales yet?

    Thanks, keep us posted!

    1. Hello My Amazing Eighth Graders!!!!
      I will try to get a new blog post up for you tomorrow night! As you can tell, our internet has been repaired, so I can see your posts on my blog. Today was very foggy outside, and I had some pretty bad seasickness this morning. We deployed an acoustics buoy this morning that will collect whale communications, then our “vis-ops” began. We work in a ninety minute rotations where we stand at a post and look for whales. Because it was so foggy this morning, we conducted vis-ops on the bridge instead of the fly-bridge. I am off duty for the night and my seasickness has subsided. At this time, no whales… Miss you guys!!!!! Love, Mrs. Greene

  6. happy you are having fun but can you come back class is not the same without you.

  7. Hi, Mrs. Greene!
    Us Ohioans surely miss you! Come back! 🙁
    Science isn’t the same without you…
    But, I hope you’re having fun! Bring us back something cool, haha!

    1. Miss you too Kierstin… Today the weather is so bad and everyone is seasick… I guess we are heading for shelter…

  8. Sounds awesome!….and like alot of work… I’m kind of getting tired of Mr.Pickard! I hope he sees this! LOL. I miss you though Mrs. Greene!!!! Counting down the days til you come back. Have fun!

  9. Hi Angela – I will be joining the Gordon Gunter right after your expedition! I am excited to read your blog and to go on my own TAS expedition! So cool that you got to see the new “Alvin”!

    1. Thanks for following Sue! Whales are amazing and you will have a blast!!!! Pack your seasickness medicine! I will follow your blog too. Good luck! Angela

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