NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
July 1-10, 2018
Mission: Walleye Pollock Acoustic Trawl Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Eastern Bering Sea
Date: July 12, 2018
Weather Data from Springfield, IL.
Wind: s 7mph
Visibility: 10 miles
Air Temperature: 88ºF
Science and Technology Log:
Dutch Harbor, AK is one of the main shipping ports in the United States. It is part of the town of Unalaska, AK and located in the middle of the string of Aleutian Islands. It is a 2 hour flight from Anchorage, AK. It is a rugged and desolate location in some respects. Everything must be flown in. Prior to boarding the plane for Dutch Harbor, each of the passengers had to be weighed with their carry on baggage. Twenty four of our bags could not be taken on our flight. Once we arrived at Dutch Harbor, we assumed our bags would be on the next cargo flight. On that flight, they carried mail so our bags were not able to be brought to us for another day. Even then there were no promises that our bags would arrive before we set sail. Luckily, they did.
When it was determined that our ship had to return to Dutch Harbor for needed repairs, I held out hope that a quick fix would allow us to return to sea in a matter of days. But, things do not work that way in Dutch Harbor. It will be another week before the necessary specialists can be flown to Dutch Harbor. It will take several days to assess the needed repairs. Then, equipment and supplies will need to be ordered and flown in. Needless to say this is not going to be a quick fix. The Acting NOAA Corps CO called a meeting of all hands (all the personnel on the ship) to let us know that it would not be possible to finish this leg of the cruise. The Scientists and Teachers at Sea would be making plans to return home.
Although I am disappointed that my time aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson was cut short, I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this Teacher at Sea experience. I learned so much about the Bering Sea ecosystem, fisheries management, life at sea, the mission of NOAA, the mission of the NOAA Corps, and the mission of the Teacher at Sea program. I loved being at sea! It was a great adventure for me. But what was an adventure and learning experience for me is a career for the people who work aboard this vessel. I was struck by their dedication and professionalism. I got to know the Scientists, the NOAA Corps officers, the Chief Boatswain, the Deck Crew, the Chief Steward, the Observers, the Survey Techs, the Acoustics Engineer, the Electronics Technician, and the Engineers. Everyone was passionate about what they do and it comes at a great sacrifice for them. Being at sea for weeks or months at a time means that they leave family, friends and duties at home, in order to do this work. They miss get togethers with family and friends, their children’s activities, birthdays, holidays etc. I have the utmost respect for them and the work they do. In leaving so quickly, I was not able to let them know in person how much I admire and appreciate them. They serve as stewards of our oceans and atmosphere and I am grateful for all they do.
Did You Know?
NOAA Corps officers serve on the sea, on land, and in the air to support NOAA’s environmental science and stewardship mission. They are one of two unarmed branches of the United States Services. Public Health Service is the other.