NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Rainier
June 22 – July 9, 2018
Mission: Lisianski Strait Survey
Geographic Area: Southeast Alaska
Date: July 7, 2018: 1400 HRS
Weather Data From the Bridge
Lat: 49°11.7′ Long: 123°38.4′
Wind: 16kn at 120°
Visibility: 10+ miles
Water temp: 15.5°C
Air Temp: 17.6°C Dry Bulb, 15.6°C Wet Bulb
Science and Technology Log
NOAA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1968 launch of Ship Rainier and Ship Fairweather this past spring. These two vessels together have provided 100 years of hydrographc service. Its amazing to consider this vessel has been cutting through the waves for 50 years!
It took a few days for me to get familiar with the layout of Ship Rainier. Let me take you on a video tour of several sections of the ship and welcome you aboard.
First some orientation. The decks are identified with letters – where A represents the lowest level and G is the highest level. “A deck” is actually a collection of tanks and bilge areas…the work of the engineering team mostly takes place on B deck in the engine room. The ship also uses numbers to address areas of the ship – starting with 01 at the bow and 12 at the stern. This way, any location on the ship can be identified by an address.
So lets get started on a tour…
Often, work days start with a meeting on the Fantail of this ship. This is on the D deck – the deck with most of the common spaces on board.
We’ll start our walk at the base of the stairs on the starboard side of the front of the fantail. You’ll see the green coated bollards on several decks. These are used for tying off the ship when in port. The large yellow tank is gasoline for the outboard motors. It is setup to be able to jettison over the side in a fire emergency.
Next, we’ll walk in the weather tight door amidships (center) of the front of the fantail. As we walk forward, notice the scullery (dishwashing area) on the left side followed by the galley (kitchen). To the right is the crew mess (eating area). Continuing ahead, we’ll walk through the DC ready room (Damage Control) and into the wardroom (officers eating area) and lounge.
Next, we’ll start in the Ward room and proceed up the stairs to the E deck. Here we’ll walk by several officers quarters on either side of the hall. Then we’ll turn and see a hallway that goes across the E deck and is home to FOO’s (Field Operations) and XO’s (Executive Officer’s) offices. Then we’ll step out onto the deck and walk towards the deck on the bow (the front of the ship).
Starting once again at the fantail, now we’ll proceed up the steps to the E deck. This is the level where the davits are mounted (small cranes) that support the launches (small boats). After passing the base of the davits, we stop into the boat shop. This is where engineering maintains the engines of all of the launches on board Rainier. Next we walk up to the F level and turn towards the stern to see the launches from alongside. Notice, also, the large black crane in the center of the deck that is used for moving additional equipment and launches. Finally, we’ll walk all the way up the port side to the fly bridge on the G level. Here you’ll see “Big Eyes”, my favorite tool on the ship for spotting things in the distance. As I turn around you’ll see the masts and antennas atop this ship for communications and navigation. The grey post with the glass circle on it is the magnetic compass – which can actually also be viewed from the bridge below with a tube that looks up from the helm position. You might also notice this where the kayaks are stored – great for an afternoon excursion while at anchor!
Here is a quick look in the plot room that is also located on the F deck just aft of the bridge. This is one of two places where the hydrograph scientists work to collect and process the data collected with the MBES systems.
In the front of the ship on the F deck is the bridge. This is the control center for the ship and the location of the helm. There is more detail on the bridge in an earlier post. The sound you hear is a printer running a copy of the latest weather updates.
Finally, visit my C-03 stateroom. My room has two bunks and plenty of storage for two people’s gear. There are four staterooms in this cluster that share two heads (bathrooms). The orange boxes on the wall are EEBDs (Emergency Escape Breathing Devices). These are located throughout the ship and provide a few minutes of air to allow escape in the event of fire. Notice at the top of the steps were back to the hallway and steps just outside of the lounge on D level.
The entire engineering department is not included in these videos and exists mostly on the B level. Please see my second blog post for more detail on engineering systems and several photos!
Sunday, July 8, 1000 hrs.
We’re coming around the northwestern most point of Washington State this morning and then turning south for the Oregon Coast. The ship is rolling a bit in the ocean swells. I’ve come to be very used to this motion. Last night we had a chance to go ashore in Friday Harbor, in the San Juan Islands for a few hours. I was surprised just how ‘wobbly’ my legs felt being back on solid ground for a while. My ship mates tell me this is how it is the first few times back ashore after being at sea!
This has been a great experience – one of plenty of learning and a real appreciation for the work accomplished by this team. I look forward to drawing in all I can in the last day on the ocean.
Who is On Board?
This is augmenter Mike Alfidi. Mike has been a cox’n (boat driver) here on Rainier for about two years now, and has quite a bit of past experience in the Navy. Mike is a part of the deck department. His primary duties here are driving small boats and handling equipment on the decks. As an “augmenter,” he makes himself available to NOAA to be placed as directed on ships needing his skills.
One of the things Mike loves about his work is getting to see beautiful places like Southeast Alaska. And, he appreciates updating charts in high traffic areas like the harbor at Pelican. He loves to be a part of history – transitioning survey data from the old lead line to the much more accurate MBES. One of the toughest parts, he says, is riding our rough seas and plotting in less trafficked areas. He did a great job of piloting our launch just as the hydro scientists needed to collect the data we were after!