NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson
July 4 – July 22, 2022
Mission: Hydrographic Survey of Lake Erie
Geographic Area of Cruise: Lake Erie
Date: July 4, 2022
Weather Data from the Bridge
Time: 1600 (4:00 pm)
Latitude: 41ᵒ 34.45 N
Longitude: 081ᵒ 46.7 W
Sky Conditions: Overcast
Visibility: 10+ nautical miles
Wind Direction: 343ᵒ NNW
Wind Speed: 6 knots
Dry Bulb: 25.7 ᵒC
Wet Bulb: 22.1 ᵒC
Science and Technology Log
Welcome from NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson!
This experience started on land. NOAA provided a lot of information and training that needed to be read, studied, and completed prior to even setting foot on the ship. (Like I said previously: I am going to be more of a student and less of a teacher on this voyage!)
I found this statement on the “Standing Orders” to be very inspiring. It is from the Commanding Officer:
“Thomas Jefferson is an ocean mapping platform that surveys the Exclusive Economic Zone of and for the United States. As such, we are responsible for maintaining and developing the Nation’s hydrographic expertise and technological capacity, as well as for producing timely quality surveys that can be efficiently used for many purposes, but primarily for updating NOAA’s suite of nautical charts. By sailing aboard Thomas Jefferson, you are part of this. Everyone aboard should be working to help Thomas Jefferson fulfill this role to the best of her ability, regardless of their individual role on the ship. To do this, we must work together to take care of ourselves, take care of each other, and take care of the ship. Be kind to yourself and to others; and work to build and keep the trust you earn from each other and the Command. This work of measuring our ocean territory is noble, challenging, unique, arduous, and ultimately rewarding.”
This is a hydrographic survey vessel. So just what is hydrography?
Hydro = water; Graphy = to write or record
Hydrography is the science that measures and describes the physical features of those areas on Earth that can be navigated by ships. These areas include oceans, lakes, seaways, and coastal areas. Hydrographic surveyors study these bodies of water to see what the “floor” looks like. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is concerned about the safe passage of ships traveling to and from ports. Hydrographic surveys measure how deep the water is and make sure the coastal regions of the United States are safe for boats and ships to navigate. Surveyors pay particular attention to mapping locations of shallow areas and various obstructions (things sticking out of or sitting on the seafloor). Surveys also determine what the sea floor is made of (i.e. sand, mud, rock). This is important for anchoring, dredging, structure construction, pipeline and cable routing, and fish habitat. NOAA uses all this data to update nautical charts and develop hydrographic models.
Can you tell from this image which lake is the deepest? Which lake is most shallow? Why do you think that the coasts of lakes look like rainbows?
This ship does very important work! By mapping water depth, the shape of the seafloor and coastline, the location of various obstructions, and physical features of bodies of water, hydrography helps to keep our maritime transportation system moving safely and efficiently.
What equipment and technology is used to do a hydrographic survey?
LOTS! I will include more information about the equipment and technology hydrographers use to get all of this data in a future blog post.
Yesterday was so very exciting! My husband drove me to the port of Cleveland.
Thomas Jefferson is docked at Pier 26. After all this time, it was wonderful to finally see the ship. I contacted the Officer of the Deck (OOD), he gave me permission to come aboard and immediately gave me a COVID test. Negative test = I can sail! I was never so happy to be
He showed me to my stateroom or berth. I have the upper bunk and a porthole! My roommate (you will meet her later) is a Hydrographic Senior Survey Technician (HSST). We share a bathroom (toilet and shower) “Jack and Jill” style with the room next door. On a ship, the bathroom is known as the “Head”.
2 = I am on the second deck. Each deck on a ship is numbered. The numbers from lowest to highest are 4, 3, 2, 1, 01, 02, and 03.
39 = the bulkhead the stateroom is closest to. A bulkhead is a dividing wall or barrier between compartments in a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle. The ship has about 100 bulkheads. They are numbered 1-100 from the bow (front end) to the stern (back end).
1 = This means that I am on the starboard (right side if standing on the ship looking toward the bow) side of the ship. If the last number was a 2, that would mean that my stateroom was on the port (left side if standing on the ship looking toward the bow).
The OOD then gave me a quick tour of the ship showing me the “Mess” (where we eat), the galley (kitchen), lounge, plot room (where they take the data that is collected during the day and where the data is made in to hydrographic “pictures”), laundry, and exercise room. He also took me to the bridge (where they pilot or drive the ship) and on all the decks. Later, I met one of the engineers and he took me on a tour of the engine room. So cool! I will include more information about these places on the ship in future blog posts.
Happy to be here! Happy to learn all about the important work being done by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
For the Little Dawgs!
Attention students in grades Kindergarten – 2nd grade. This section will be written just for you! I want to introduce you to my friend, Dewey. Dewey has been with me ever since my first year of teaching.
He will help you understand what I am doing on this big ship! He is excited to be on NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson. He is also very thankful that we have a porthole in our bedroom. A porthole is a round window. I wonder why many of the windows on a ship are round?
Q: Where is Dewey?
A: Dewey is on the gangway. The gangway is the name of the ramp that you walk on to get on the ship.
Well, that is all for now. Later tonight the crew will have the opportunity to watch the 4th of July fireworks over Cleveland.
During the night, we will head toward Erie, PA to map the area around Presque, Isle.