Laura Guertin: Stitch the Sky at Sea, June 14, 2023

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Laura Guertin

Aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson

June 10 – June 22, 2023

Mission: 2023 Summer Acoustic-Trawl Survey of Walleye Pollock in the Gulf of Alaska

Geographic Area of Cruise: Islands of Four Mountains area, Western Gulf of Alaska
Location (2PM (Alaska Time), June 13): 54o 19.3929′ N, 161o 35.5129′ W

Data from 2PM (Alaska Time), June 13, 2023
Air Temperature: 7.2 oC
Water Temperature (mid-hull): 6.5oC
Wind Speed: 9.25 knots
Wind Direction: 144.73 degrees
Course Over Ground (COG): 254.48 degrees
Speed Over Ground (SOG): 11.34 knots

Date: June 14, 2023

As a trained scientist and educator who is passionate about communicating science, I’m always thinking of different ways we can tell stories and share our data with non-scientists and students. I have been crocheting temperature data since 2017 and sharing my temperature scarves that record daily maximum temperature values for a location. In 2018, I began a journey of quilting science stories (see my blog post on the Teacher At Sea Alumni Association (TASAA) blog, Sharing Stories of the Louisiana Coast Through Quilts). While I’m on Oscar Dyson, I’m going to be creating another type of story/data visualization, based upon the observations I make looking up at the sky – and I hope you will join me!

A full description of my Stitch the Sky At Sea project is available on the TASAA blog. But note that you can do any variation, use any colors, select any style of stitching… the project is yours to create! I started the project with my visual observations back home (Philadelphia, PA) on June 1, before I flew to Alaska. This is the color scale I’m using and selecting which yarn matches what I’m seeing in the sky. It has been overcast my entire time in Kodiak (AK) so far – you can see the jump in color!

Photos: Announcing the Stitch The Sky At Sea Project (top left); Photos of blue skies at my home (Philadelphia) and where I had a one-night layover during travel (Seattle) with rows stitched onto the beginning edge (top middle); Photo of what the sky has looked like every day I was in Kodiak before sailing – completely clouded over (top right); The five colors of yarn I’m using for the five shades of the sky I’m observing the same time each day (bottom center). The yarn is from The Tempestry Project and in the colors of Aurora (top left), Downpour (top right), Cumulus (middle), Nimbus (lower left), Nebula (lower right).

This table will include my recorded observations. Again, you can stitch what I’m seeing, stitch what you are seeing in your location on the same date – or stitch both data for comparison! I’ll continue stitching through the end of the month to see what I can learn from my observations between these locations.

JuneLocationSky color observed
(by myself)
NOAA’s sky
cover value
1PHLbright blue0.1At home, waiting to depart
2PHLbright blue0.2
3SEAbright blue0.1Flew out of Philly early AM, day in Seattle
4Kodiakdark gray1.0Arrived in Kodiak, stay in hotel
5Kodiakdark gray1.0
6Kodiakdark gray1.0
7Kodiakdark gray1.0
8Kodiakdark gray1.0
9Kodiakdark gray1.0
10transitwhite0.9Departed Kodiak, day of transit
light gray0.9transit/sheltering in Larsen Bay
12transitwhite0.3restart transit at 5AM
13transitlight gray0.9 *starting this date, sky cover value as reported in Cold Bay
14transitdark gray1.0Arrival at first transect site, survey begins
15transectsdark gray0.9
16transectslight blue1.0
17transectsbright blue0.4
18transectslight gray0.7
19transectsdark gray0.9
20transectsdark gray0.8
21transitdark gray1.0*sky cover value as reported in Kodiak
22dock in Kodiak!dark gray1.0Left Kodia at 4PM (AK Time), flew to Anchorage, then Seattle
23SEAlight blue0.3Travel day, Seattle to Philadelphia
– sky cover for Seattle
24PHLdark gray0.9*sky cover for Philadelphia
26PHLlight gray0.9
28PHLlight blue0.6
29PHLlight gray0.6[Canadian wildfire smoke covering the region today 🙁 ]
30PHLlight gray0.6

I will be taking photos of the sky and plotting them along with the ship location in this Google Earth file (just the days we are at sea – not the days on land).

I’m excited to be able to wear so many hats while at sea – scientist, educator, communicator, and crafter! If you decide to stitch along, please share your work!

Short crocheted piece in a rectangular shape in colors of blue, white, and dark blue/gray
Completed stitching, as of June 13. The top two rows are in a non-project color to mark the beginning. Each row is a double-crochet in the color I’m observing as I look to the sky each day at approximately the same time (~10:30AM Alaska Time).

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