Andria Keene: Steaming and Dreaming in Safety, October 12, 2018

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Andria Keene

Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II

October 8 – 22, 2018


Mission: SEAMAP Fall Groundfish Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico

Weather Data from the Bridge
Date: 2018/10/12
Time: 14:58:22
Latitude: 27 37.15 N
Longitude 091 23.21 W
Barometric Pressure 1015.69mbar
Relative Humidity 60 %
Air Temperature: 27.1 0C

Everyone is an explorer. How could you possibly live your
life looking at a door and not open it?  – Robert Ballard


Science/Technology and Personal Log

Hurricane Michael brought a three day delay to our departure. At first, I was a little disappointed that we were not setting sail right away but now I am glad because I had some extra time to explore Pascagoula, familiarize myself with the ship, and slowly meet the crew as they arrived spread out over several days. Plus, the additional time allowed me to start working on my career lesson plan and to prepare a video tour of the ship. I will upload the video to this blog page as soon as it is complete.

Photo collage
#1 – My first tour of Oregon II #2 – Hurricane Michael arrives in the center of where I am and my hometown of Tampa #3 – Exploring Round Point Lighthouse #4 – My first sunset aboard.

On Thursday, Oct 11th at 9:00am, we departed from Pascagoula and headed out into the Gulf of Mexico. I was amazed at how quickly we lost sight of land and at the vastness of this body of water with which I thought I was so familiar. My favorite part was watching the color of the water change from a dark teal to a deep blue.


colors of the water of the Gulf
The various colors of the water of the Gulf

On the “Plan of the Day” board under schedule it reads “Steam and Dream til Saturday Afternoon” and that is just what we are doing. Our path will lead us north of the Mexican border and south of Corpus Christi, Texas, where we will find our first station. Until then, in between steaming and dreaming, we are getting to know each other and learning about our roles and responsibilities.







Abandon ship drill
Abandon ship drill! Here I am in my survival suit.

For example, today we practiced our Fire and Abandon Ship Drills. While it is a little nerve-racking to think that something like that could actually happen, it was reassuring to see that everyone was well-trained and the operations ran smoothly.









My first lesson plan will focus on careers available through NOAA. It is amazing to see the variation in the positions and the backgrounds of the workers on this ship. Basically, on the Oregon II there are three types of employees who make up the ship’s complement.

Types of Employees
This graphic illustrates the structure of the employees aboard Oregon II.

I feel like NOAA has something to offer everyone from entry level positions that require no experience to positions requiring years of experience or advanced college degrees. The best part is that no matter where you start there is always room to advance through hard work and certification. I can’t wait to share all the opportunities with my students!


Did You Know?

Oregon II has a reverse osmosis system that uses salt water to create the freshwater needed aboard.  The salt that is removed is returned back to the Gulf.


Challenge Question of the Day
(For my students: bonus points for the first person from each class period to answer it correctly):

This picture was taken from the screen of one of the navigation systems on the bridge.

Challenge Question
Screenshot from one of the navigation systems

What do you think is represented by each of the black squares with a dot inside?


Animals Seen Today:

Moon Jellyfish and Flying Fish

8 Replies to “Andria Keene: Steaming and Dreaming in Safety, October 12, 2018”

  1. Out of the three different types of employees on the Oregon II, which one do you spend the most type with? If you could chose one of the three to have a career in which one would you chose? Do they enjoy being at sea for long periods of time?

    1. Hi Jude,
      As a Teacher at Sea, I am part of the science team so I work most closely with them. In fact, we have 12 hour shifts where we are working together to process each trawl when it comes in. I am not sure which job I would choose, I think if I was young I would seriously consider the NOAA Corps because I never knew such an opportunity existed when I was in college. Now, I would probably want a science based job. I have not spoken to a single employee that has said they do not like being at sea! Of course there are challenges, like being away from your family, but everyone seems to feel that the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

  2. What is the fish you would like to see the most ? What parts of the gulf are you targeting deeper or more shallow reefs? What is the hardest part of living on Oregon II?

    1. One of the focuses of the research is Red Snapper. We have seen tiny babies to big giant adults. That is pretty cool. Yesterday we caught two beautiful angelfish. I was excited about that. I wish I could bring them back for our tanks! We are fishing between the coast and the shelf from about 60ft to about 200ft of water. I think the hardest part is being away from my family. I missed a few special events over these last 2 weeks and as a mom, that;s hard. But I will be back in school on Wednesday!

  3. Out of all the animals you have a possibility of catching or studying, which are you most excited to sea and learn about?

    1. I have learned a lot about the red snapper! They are pretty cool to find in the nets because that is one of our major focuses. The red snapper have had a great comeback which I will tell you guys about when I return 🙂

    1. Just being out on the water has been awesome! I never realized how vast the Gulf of Mexico is. Oh… and the sunsets…wow!

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