Germaine Thomas: Meet the Teacher at Sea on NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson, August 9, 2023

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Germaine Thomas (she/her)

Aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson

August 7 – August 21, 2023

Mission: Acoustic Trawl Survey (Leg 3 of 3)
Geographic Area of Cruise: Pacific Ocean/ Gulf of Alaska
Date: Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Weather Data
Lat 58.16 N, Lon 148.97 W
Sky condition: Cloudy
Wind Speed: 2.88 knots
Wind Direction: 301.28°
Air Temp: 12.44 °C

Personal Log

School will soon be starting in Anchorage at Bettye Davis East High School. I will not be in school for the first three days because I am having fun on a teacher’s field trip. Good things come to those who apply for it. I applied and got accepted on this cruise before the pandemic, but life and safety concerns made my journey about three years longer. Finally, I am living the dream and out in the Gulf of Alaska surrounded by pure ocean, whales, seabirds and catching lots of fish.

selfie of Germaine on a kayak (too close to see the kayak, but we can see she's surrounded by water, with some forested shoreline beyond.) she wears a life jacket, sunglasses, baseball cap. A small white dog peers over her left shoulder.
Kayaking in Prince William Sound with Loki the dog. My family commercial fishes for Sockeye Salmon in Main Bay.

My name is Germaine Myerchin Thomas. I was born and raised in Ketchikan Alaska. I am the daughter of a fishermen and a teacher. I, myself, am a teacher, and I commercial fish in Prince William Sound. So far I have spent most of my summer fishing in the Eshamy district about 45 miles outside of Whittier. It has been a cold dark wet summer( the word “summer” is debatable). Recently, I jumped from Set Net fishing for Sockeye (Red) Salmon, in small open skiffs, to the fabulous NOAAS Oscar Dyson.

Just visualize the ice sculptures, swimming pool and yoga studio on the Lido Deck… nope! The NOAAS Oscar Dyson is a research vessel that you can find more about by clicking the link above. Currently there are 24 crew members and 8 scientists. The ship is outfitted to conduct an acoustic trawl survey, but there are other scientific projects going on during this leg of the cruise. It, also has great food and two gyms. The waves rolling under the hull of the boat make the feel of gravity extra strong while trying to do push ups.

Already I have discovered that working out in the ocean requires being very flexible and adaptable. Sometimes the weather or wildlife can delay setting out the trawl net. Last night the boat was surrounded by whales (Fin and Sei), marine birds (Fulmars, Shearwaters and Black footed Albatross) all enjoying the abundant fish that we wanted to catch in our trawl net. Naturally we just let the animals enjoy the abundance while the scientist patiently waited for their turn in another area.

When the cruise ends I will head back to Anchorage and teach high school, chemistry, oceanography, and marine biology. I am really looking forward to meeting my students for the first time. I hope that I might be able to Zoom into my classroom and share what I am doing while I am out here.

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