NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard R/V Tommy Munro
July 19 – 27, 2022
Mission: Gulf of Mexico Summer Groundfish Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Eastern Gulf of Mexico
Date: July 18, 2022
The date July 16, 2022 might seem like a typical Saturday, an ordinary day on the calendar to enjoy the last days of Summer before school starts around the corner. And this would be the case any other year. This year was different. It was a day that was two years in the making and one that this physics teacher could not come soon enough. It was in 2019 that I received the great news I was selected as a NOAA Teacher at Sea for the 2020 research cruise season. I was beyond ready for such an incredible learning opportunity. It would however turn out not to be…at least for the present. This is when life (also known as COVID) intervened. Eventually, thanks to vaccinations, mitigation strategies and effective treatments, conditions started to improve and in 2022, the research cruise season was slowly becoming a reality and I finally received my cruise assignment. Today (July 16, 2022) is the formal beginning of the cruise. So, how did the day begin?
I awoke at my usual time (about 7:00 am-ish) and got washed up and ready for the day ahead. I had begun the packing process several days before and had my luggage ready to go.
However, it doesn’t seem official.
My flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Gulfport was scheduled for late afternoon and had arranged for shuttle pickup at 2:40 pm. This meant I had a lot of time on my hands. I took care of school related professional development activities in preparation for the upcoming school year so it was time well spent.
But still, it doesn’t seem official.
Minutes and the hours passed by quickly and the shuttle driver showed up on time. I placed my luggage in the back, took my seat, fastened my seat belt and we were on the way to the airport.
Even then, it didn’t seem official.
The driver was very pleasant and personable, which is not always a certainty with shuttle drivers. He got me to the proper terminal, informed me of my gate number and I was on the way to check in my luggage and to security. I now had some waiting to do so I found a seat close to my gate, pulled out my iPhone, logged into my Facebook page and checked in.
Now, it was official. Even though I knew I would eventually be going on a research cruise for two years, it is not truly official until it is Facebook official. Now all I needed to do is get to Biloxi. After a 4-hour “pilots are past their working hours limit…we have to wait for a new crew” delay, we finally were allowed to board the plane. The flight was a relatively short one and pleasant one at that.
The next day was a rest day prior to the departure of the cruise. The weather was gorgeous and served as a perfect opportunity to tour Biloxi. I would like to share with you a couple of photos of my self-guided tour.
As I was heading back to the hotel, I was looking for a bite to eat and walked by a restaurant I had heard rave reviews about so I decided to stop in. The restaurant was Half Shell Oyster House and the reviews are spot on!
I got a shrimp po-boy and it was just as good as it looks. It was a great relaxing day in Biloxi but the exciting part of the trip happens tomorrow when we board the R/V Tommy Munro for the cruise. There will be more detailed information about the ship, the research, the crew and the day-to-day operations of the science team in subsequent posts. In fact, the next blog post will be shared with you from the ship.
As I round out this post, I would like to let you know of a couple of items to expect in the blog posts that follow that will not only provide insight to the research conducted aboard the R/V Tommy Munro and the NOAA Teacher at Sea program, but also will inspire and stimulate interest in learning more about marine science.
I would first like to introduce you to a Google Site that I created for this experience entitled, Welcome to my Classroom at Sea. The site can be accessed by the link below:
In this site, I not only introduce myself and discuss the research to be conducted on my assigned cruise, but I have also included ideas for ocean-related projects as well as a host of various resources to explore all aspects of marine science.
Secondly, I would like to introduce you to a recurring segment on this blog that centers around the Ocean Literacy Framework and the seven essential principles of ocean sciences, shown in the infographic below.
The seven principles outline the integral fundamental concepts that all students Grades K – 12 should not only recognize from their science experiences but have an in-depth understanding as to how ocean sciences relate to the sustainability of and human life on Earth. Each blog post will highlight one of the seven principles of Ocean Literacy and an invitation to respond to three questions about the principle. There are no right or wrong answers – the questions serve not as an opportunity to answer yes or no, or to get answers right or wrong; rather, these questions serve as an opportunity not only to assess what you know or think about the scope of the principle but also to learn, explore, and investigate the demonstrated principle. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please indicate so in the blog and I would be glad to answer your questions and initiate a discussion.
For this blog post, I will start with Principle 1: Earth has one big ocean with many features. After you have had some time to think about this principle, please click on the link below:
which will take you to a Padlet (an electronic bulletin board) with three questions to answer. Please click on the rounded plus sign and record your answer on the blank note that appears under each column. Once you have finished typing your response, click on Publish in the upper right-hand corner and you are done with that question. Once you finish your responses for all three questions, you may then close the page. Thank you for participating in this exercise and I look forward to reading your responses.