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: September 11, 2018
Weather data from the Bridge:
- Latitude: 28 40.5N
- Longitude: 91 08.5W
- Wind speed: 22 Knots
- Wind direction: 080 (East)
- Sky cover: Scattered
- Visibility: 10 miles
- Barometric pressure: 1014.5 atm
- Sea wave height: 3-4 feet
- Sea Water Temp: 29.9°C
- Dry Bulb: 25.9°C
- Wet Blub: 24.6°C
Science and Technology:
When NOAA Corps officers go through training they learn a poem to help them remember how to identify Special Situation Lights on other vessels.
Red over green, sailing machine.
Red over white, fishing boat in sight.
Green over white, trawling at night.
White over red, pilot ahead.
Red over red, captain is dead.
When driving a vessel like the Oregon II it is always important to have the ability to analyze the radar, locate other vessels in the water, and determine their current situation by reading their mast lights. Line 1 of the poem describes a vessel that is currently sailing by use of wind without the use of an engine, line 2 describes a boat engaged in fishing operations, line 3 indicates that the vessel is currently trawling a net behind the boat, line 4 indicates that the vessel is a pilot boat (a boat containing a pilot, who helps guide larger tanker and cargo ships into harbors), and line 5 of the poem is used for a situation when the vessel is not operating properly and other vessels should steer clear.
There are currently three named storms in the Atlantic, including a category 4 hurricane (Florence) that is headed towards the Carolinas. I have never experienced a bad storm while out on the water. The waves the last 24 hours have ranged from 3-5 feet, with an occasional 8 foot wave. We have changed our port call location and will now be going back to Pascagoula, Mississippi instead of Galveston, Texas. There was also no internet for part of the day so my team and I sat in the dry lab and told ghost stories. I was also introduced to the “dinosaur game” in Google Chrome, which is sort of like a low budget Mario. Apparently it is the dinosaur’s birthday so he is wearing a birthday hat.
I am still making the most of every minute that I am out here. Our last haulback was very active with many large blacktip sharks. It is a workout trying to handle the sharks on deck, while collecting all required data, and getting them back in the water as fast as possible. I am loving every second!
Did you know:
Sharks possess dermal denticles (skin teeth) that makes their skin feel rough when running your hand tail to nose. Shark skin used to be used as sandpaper before it was commercially manufactured. It can also give you shark burn, which is sort of like a rug burn, if the shark brushes up against you.
Atlantic Sharpnose Shark (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae)
Blacknose Shark (Carcharhinus acronotus)
Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus)
Flying Fish (Exocoetus peruvianus)
Gafftopsail Catfish (Bagre marinus)
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuate)
Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus)
Spinner Shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna)
Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)