NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
July 26 – August 8, 2013
Mission: Shark and Red snapper Longline Survey
Geographical Range of Cruise: Atlantic
Date: Monday August 5 – Tuesday August 6, 2013
Weather Data from the Bridge
Monday – NE WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS
SEAS 2 TO 3 FEET
DOMINANT PERIOD 6 SECONDS
Tuesday – E WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS
SEAS 3 TO 4 FEET
Science and Technology Log
Meet the Scientists
Meet some of my favorite people in the world. Without these people my experience would have lacked the learning and laughter that made it such a joy.
Field Party Chief Kristin Hannan has the pleasure of working with her favorite shark species, the Tiger Shark. And those little babies are cute!
Kristin was the Field Party Chief for the first and second legs of the Longline survey. She was also my watch leader, which meant she was by my side in support every step of the way. And as I progressed as a shark handler, she was there with a high five every time. I hit the jackpot landing on a ship with Kristin. She is now off to visit Harry Potter World (I’m so jealous I can hardly stand it) before rejoining the the survey when it leaves Mayport. This is Kristin’s fifth year doing the Longline Survey. The first time she did it, she was a volunteer just like us. I wish Kristin the best of luck in all she does and hope to call her a friend for years to come.
Research Biologist for NOAA Amy Schmitt gives a big smooch to a baby Tiger Shark.
Amy is a research biologist out of the Pascagoula-based fisheries lab. She has been with NOAA for two years, but has been working in research biology for most of her career. She is a native of Colorado and shares my blond hair and fair complexion. We could usually be found together cooling off in the dry lab as often as possible. It was also Amy who coined one of my nicknames on the cruise – Data Girl. According to the science team, the Teachers at Sea make excellent data recorders. I can’t imagine why 🙂
Amy and I work together to process an adolescent Tiger Shark. Amy and I often worked together and truly enjoyed our time together.
NOAA scientist and Field Party Chief for the third and fourth legs of Longline, Lisa Jones handles an Atlantic Sharpnose on the first haul of the night shift.
Lisa has been doing the Longline survey for 16 years now. She is a wealth of information about sharks, living aboard a ship, and marine life. She is also a passionate dog lover, which many of the volunteers shared with her. Lisa will be taking over the duties of Field Party Chief for the third and fourth legs of the survey. She will be aboard the Oregon II for all four legs of the survey this year. That’s a lot of boat rocking!
NOAA Research Biologist Mike Hendon works to quickly process a Sandbar Shark.
Mike is a research biologist out of the Pascagoula-based fisheries lab. He’s a seasoned veteran of the Longline survey and was a great mentor for those of us new to the shark-handling community. Mike also has two adorable kids and two cute dogs waiting for him at home. He was part of the science team for the first leg of the survey. He can sometimes be found wearing mismatched socks.
Mike and Volunteer Claudia Friess work on Atlantic Sharpnose.
My final days are winding down and I am caught (no pun intended) off guard by how much I am going to miss this. There is such a peacefulness that comes from the rocking of a boat, especially if you don’t get seasick. And working alongside people who share a passionate nature – we may not all be passionate about the same things, but we are all passionate – is such a reinvigorating experience. These two weeks gave me an opportunity to talk about my environmental science integration in my classroom with people who care very much about environmental science. It was so inspiring to have them care about what I was doing in my classroom. It gives me another reason to trust the importance of what I’m doing as well as more people I want to make proud.
Fun list time! Things you get used to living on a ship:
- Noise. There is so much happening on a ship, from the engine to the cradle pulling up a shark. It’s all loud. But you get used to it.
- Sneaking into your stateroom as silently as possible so you don’t wake up your AWESOME roommate Rachel.
NOAA Corps Officer ENS Rachel Pryor steering the Oregon II during a morning haul back.
- Waiting. There’s a lot of waiting time on a survey like this. You find ways to make that time meaningful.
The night shift waiting in anticipation as Lead Fisherman Chris Nichols begins to bring in the line.
- Rocking. Duh.
- Taking high steps through doorways. The doors that separate the interior and exterior of the ship are water tight, so they don’t go all the way to the floor. You can only bash your shins in so many times before it becomes second nature.
- Sharks. I said in a previous post that this survey has been eye opening and it’s worth sharing again. I don’t have a marine science background and I had fallen victim to the media portrayals of sharks. I had no idea that there were sharks as small as the Sharpnose that can be handled by such an amateur like myself.
This is what it feels like when you successfully (and quickly) unhook a shark! VICTORY! Volunteer Kevin Travis is victorious.
- Sunsets. Words cannot describe the colors that make their way to you when there’s uninterrupted skyline. Oh I will definitely miss those sunsets.
One of the last sunsets for the first leg of the Oregon II.
- The stars. I live a life of being asleep by 10pm and up at 6 am and often times forget to look up at the stars even on the nights when I might have been able to see them. These two weeks gave me some of the darkest nights I’ve had and some of the best company in the world.
Dolphins escort the Oregon II back towards land on its final day at sea for the first leg of Longline.
Photo Credit: Mike Hendon