Laura Grimm: Finally! July 4, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Laura Grimm

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

Lake Water Temperature: 24.2 ᵒC

Dry Bulb: 25.7 ᵒC

Wet Bulb: 22.1 ᵒC

Science and Technology Log

Welcome from NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson! 

Laura Grimm stands near the bow (front end) of the ship.
I am standing near the bow (front end) of the ship.

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:

Command Expectation/Philosophy 

“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.

a bathymetric map of the Great Lakes. We see the topography of the surrounding land, a few major cities (Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland) marked as dots, and the waters of the lakes colored to depict depth. Lake Superior is the deepest, and Lake Erie is the most shallow.
This is a hydrographic map of the Great Lakes. When looking at a hydrographic image, keep in
mind that blue = deep, red = shallow.

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.

Personal Log

Yesterday was so very exciting! My husband drove me to the port of Cleveland.

Sign and the entrance to the Port of Cleveland.  Downtown Cleveland is in the background.
Port of Cleveland. Downtown Cleveland is in the background. The Brown’s stadium in immediately to the left.
Laura points to NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, in port, from a distance
There it is!

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
negative!

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”.

close up of a sign that reads: "CREW SR 2-39-1"
This is the number on my stateroom.

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).

view of stateroom; we can see two bunks and a dresser, some small rugs on the floor, hanging lights
This is my stateroom. I sleep on the upper bunk.
view of a shower stall and toilet
This is the “Head”.

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).

Laura, wearing Teacher at Sea hat and shirt, poses for a photo next to NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson in port; we can see the NOAA logo and the ship's number, S 222
NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson and me – the very excited Teacher at Sea (TAS)

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.

Dewey is a plush (perhaps beanie) monkey. He sits on a cushion wearing a paper sailor's hat that Laura made for him
My travel companion, Dewey. See his sailor hat!

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?

Dewey looks out the porthole window
Here is Dewey looking out of the porthole window.

Q: Where is Dewey?

a toy monkey sits on a grated surface
Look at the surface. Can you tell where he is? Hint: You walk on it to get on to the ship.
a beanie monkey sits on the gangway leading up to NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson from the port
Dewey is on the gangway!

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.

A photo of the American flag flying, with downtown Cleveland visible behind it
This picture was taken from the stern (back end) of the ship.
a red, white, and blue banner in the mess hall reads "Happy 4th of July"
Happy 4th of July! Miss Parker, Chief Steward, decorated the Mess Hall for the holiday.
a view of tables and chairs in the mess hall, with red white and blue bunting, garlands, and American flags
Decorated Mess Hall

During the night, we will head toward Erie, PA to map the area around Presque, Isle.

white board reading: "NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson; Depart Port of Cleveland; Day & Time Monday @ 1400; Date July 4, 2022; Destination Presque Isle
Sailing Board for July 4, 2022
Sunset over Lake Erie
Sunday’s sunset over Lake Erie

Author

2 Replies to “Laura Grimm: Finally! July 4, 2022”

    1. Hello Casey,
      If you are asking if we have found anything cool on the bottom like a shipwreck or a 4-wheeler that your uncle lost last winter during ice fishing season, my answer needs to be “I am sorry. I can not tell you that information.” This is the answer whether we have found anything or not. Anything that is found of “interest” needs to be sent to a historical society for inspection. After it is looked at by the authorities, it may or may not show up on a map. Sorry. I’m not sure this is the answer you are looking for, however, that is the way it is.
      I appreciate your curiosity.
      Mrs. Grimm

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