Susan Brown: Making Waves, September 10, 2017

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Susan Brown

Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II

September 3 – 15, 2017

Mission: Snapper/Longline Shark Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date: September 10, 2017

Weather Data from the Bridge

Latitude: 29 24.526 N
Longitude: 094 22.228W
Sea wave height: 1 meter
Wind Speed: 16 knots
Wind Direction: 30.8 degrees
Air Temperature: 26.1 Celsius
Barometric Pressure: 1017.55 mb
Sky: clear



Science and Technology Log

We have been experiencing some rocking and rolling out here due to the hurricanes that are occurring to the east and the west of us as we sit in the relatively calmer waters off the coast of Texas and Louisiana. We have experienced 6 – 8 foot waves so far on our survey and the ship is being maneuvered to try and find the calmest spots so we can continue to do our work.

So what makes a wave a wave?

Check out this link to learn what makes a wave a wave!


Waves are part of the experience. Below is a poem written by the scientists and crew of the Oregon II on an earlier survey. Here are a few vocabulary words that you may not know to help you interpret the poem.



Crest – the highest part of the wave
Trough – the lowest part of a wave
Muster – to call together
Haul back – the process of bringing in the longline
Bridge – where one controls the ship

Here is a poem written by some of the scientist and crew of the Oregon II about rough waters on an earlier expedition.



The crew knows he’s on the job,
when the Ship starts to bob.

They know he’s at the wheel,
‘cause on the hip she does heel.

On the Deck the haul-back team does muster,
while on the Bridge he robs sleep with the bow thruster.

You’ll always wake up in a funk,
‘cause you’ve been rolled out of your bunk.

Sometimes you may wonder if he can
find the trough in a mug or a coffee can.

On this Ship you can’t even shave,
‘cause you never know when she’ll hit another wave.

When the boat’s wallowing like a stuck pig,
you know he’s on the Bridge doing a jig.

For the rail you will grab,
when the boat does its crab.

When you’re eating off your neighbor’s plate,
you know he’s your Shipmate.

If you can’t hold your food down and your stomach is off,
you know your riding in the trough.

This poem is to all boat drivers, because they are put in the position of going from point A to point B no matter the sea state.

by Scientists & Crew of Oregon II Cruise 1102

Personal Log

We have had calm days where the water is like glass and other days with wind waves of up to 8 feet! I have come to appreciate the numerous handrails available all around the ship as well as learning to make sure my drawers and cabinets are secured. Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night with your drawers opening and closing! Also taking a shower in these conditions are quite the adventure in itself. The last few nights have felt like I am sleeping in a swinging hammock. There are also some nice features on the ship to keep items in place.



Here are some photos of the things I appreciate when the boat is rocking and rolling —  handrails that are located everywhere, hooks that keep doors open and holes in the picnic table to keep your drink from spilling!

Did You Know?

An oceanographic front is an area where two distinct water masses meet. Here is the one that we encountered on this last station. Why are these fronts important to birds and marine life? Extra credit for this bonus question!

See if you can see the two different colors of water

Question of the day:

Do waves transmit water or energy?

(hint: watch the video link

25 Replies to “Susan Brown: Making Waves, September 10, 2017”

  1. Diego: What do you eat for dinner? Do you all eat together, or do you all do different things? Whats the wet lab?

    1. There is a cook crew on board that makes us our meals. It’s been varied and delicious. There are set times for meals but if you happen to have a shift during one of the designated meal times, you can have the cooks save you a meal. There is also an abundance of snacks available 24/7. The wet lab is a place where chemicals, drugs, or other material or biological matter are handled in liquid solutions or volatile phases, requiring direct ventilation, and specialized piped utilities (typically water and various gases).

  2. Can you ask Captain Dave: Do you enjoy your job? Do you take shifts, or do you steer the boat 24/7? How fast does the boat go? Are there any fun facts about the boat, being a captain, and you? How big is the engine? Have you had any injuries, working for NOAA?

    1. The crew takes four hour shifts on the bridge driving the boat. Maximum speed of the boat is about 10 knots. The Oregon II has two large diesel engines.

    1. I wear shorts and a tshirt during the day. If it’s cooler I wear long pants or for sun protection. During my free time I am sleeping! Shifts are 12 hours on and 12 hours off.

  3. Diego: How many rooms are there on the boat? What do you do for most of your free time? Can you show us how it looks like from the back of the boat?

    1. Yes, I will show video in class. I am not sure how many rooms there are but enough to sleep 30 or so people. My free time is spend eating and sleeping : )

    1. The shifts are 12 hours. The worst part is…I don’t have a worst part. Perhaps trying to get a good nights rest as the rocking of the boat tends to keep me up.

  4. How do sharks mistake humans as other animals. For example, Great Whites attack humans because they think they’re seals, but humans have legs so why do they get confused with humans as seals? Humans move their legs in a up and down motion.

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