NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
August 31 – September 14, 2018
Mission: Shark/Red Snapper Longline Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date: August 31st, 2018
Weather Data from the Bridge:
- Latitude: 28.378N
- Longitude: 90.05717W
- Wind speed: 10 Knots
- Wind direction: South
- Sky cover: Scattered
- Visibility: 10 miles
- Barometric pressure: 1014.2 atm
- Sea wave height: 1-2 feet
- Swell: 140 (2-3 feet)
- Sea Water Temp: 30.3 °C
- Dry Bulb: 27.8 °C
- Wet Blub: 24.3 °C
Science, Technology, and Career Log:
I arrived to NOAA Ship Oregon II on Thursday afternoon, August 30th, after traveling from Chicago. The very first person I met aboard the ship was my stateroom roomie, Valerie McCaskill. Valerie is a full time NOAA employee, as she holds the position as Chief Steward. NOAA Ship Oregon II would not function daily if her position did not exist.
Valerie is from Naples, FL and attended the Art Institute of Atlanta where she studied culinary arts. She has been with NOAA for three years, and also has a cousin that works on a different NOAA vessel. She stated that she is “responsible for the morale of the ship”. Her daily duties include making sure everyone has fresh linens, grocery shopping while on shore, preparing all meals, and she even takes special meal request from her fellow crew members.
Her position on NOAA Ship Oregon II is crucial for all to run smoothly while out at sea. Valerie truly is the heart and Mom of the ship. She is constantly making sure all crew members are fed and remain steady emotionally. It takes a special person to hold down the ship and Valerie does just that, while leaving behind her 9 year old son, Kain, for 8 months out the year. She is also forced to get creative in the kitchen, as there is no stove. All food is prepared on a grill, in the oven, or in a kettle.
As I am sitting here with Valerie writing this piece of my blog, she rushes out the door because we just heard dishes fall in the kitchen. She takes care of all the little things aboard the ship, and most expeditions would not be successful without crew members like Valerie.
Today I went or 5 mile walk/run to explore the area around the port. I have always been fascinated by lighthouses, and I was fortunate to come across the Round Island Lighthouse. The original Round Island Lighthouse was built on Round Island in 1833, but it was relocated and renovated due to damage from Hurricane George in the 90’s. The lighthouse now sits inland on the western gateway into Pascagoula, Mississippi.
We left the port in Pascagoula, Mississippi around 1400. I made sure I put on my sea sickness patch last night to give the medicine time to get in my system. I woke up with one dilated eye on the side that I placed the patch. I much rather have a funny looking eye than get nauseous.
Did You Know?:
There are numerous oil rigs throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Many bird species that are migrating across the Gulf will stop to rest on the oil rigs. Unfortunately, most of these birds will not continue on and they will end up dying of exhaustion and dehydration. A possible reason for the birds interrupting their flight is a change in the wind pattern. If they are unable to cruise in the jet stream they will be forced to expend more energy to get where they are going. Sometimes they don’t have that extra energy to go against the wind and will stop their flight on an oil rig.
Animals Seen Today:
Two bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates)
Many laughing gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla)