Meredith Salmon: Who’s Who Aboard the Okeanos: Part V, July 27, 2018

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Meredith Salmon

Aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

July 12 – 31, 2018

Mission: Mapping Deep-Water Areas Southeast of Bermuda in Support of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation

Date: July 27, 2018

Weather Data from the Okeanos Explorer Bridge

Latitude: 28.48°N

Longitude: 62.41°W

Air Temperature: 27.8°C

Wind Speed:  10.5 knots

Conditions: Partly Sunny

Depth: 5272.37 meters

 

Sid Dunn

Hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Although you would never guess it, Sid is the newest member of the Okeanos Explorer and has been working on the vessel since June 7th. He recently retired after sixteen years as an insurance agent specializing in business claim adjustments. Since his wife’s family is involved in the maritime industry, he thought it would be interesting to research potential post-retirement careers in this field.

Sid began a 5-week training program at the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy. This institution is a highly respected, state-of-the-art maritime training center established for individuals who seek to enter a maritime profession. After his training period, Sid completed a two-month internship on the tall ship Oliver Hazard Perry in Rhode Island. Sid sailed from Newport, Rhode Island down to Galveston, Texas while on the Oliver Hazard Perry.

Once he completed his training and internship, Sid was hired as part of the permanent crew aboard the Okeanos Explorer. Sid is a General Vessel Assistant (GVA) and performs work in the deck and engine departments. He is responsible for standing watch two times per day. These watches are four hour time periods and aboard this cruise, he is scheduled from 0800-1200 and 2000-2400. During his watches, Sid performs rounds throughout the entire ship to ensure the safety of the vessel, completes routine maintenance, and stands watch on the bridge. Sid really enjoys being out to sea and is excited to continue his new adventure on the Okeanos Explorer.

Sid Dunn

Sid aboard the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry

Meredith Salmon: Who’s Who Aboard the Okeanos: Part IV, July 27, 2018

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Meredith Salmon

Aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

July 12 – 31, 2018

Mission: Mapping Deep-Water Areas Southeast of Bermuda in Support of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation

Date: July 27, 2018

Weather Data from the Okeanos Explorer Bridge

Latitude: 28.48°N

Longitude: 62.41°W

Air Temperature: 27.8°C

Wind Speed:  10.5 knots

Conditions: Partly Sunny

Depth: 5272.37 meters

 

LT Rosemary Abbitt

Growing up in Norfolk, Virginia, Rosemary spent much of her childhood around the ocean. She was fascinated by the sea and had a strong desire to learn as much as she could about marine ecosystems. During her high school career, Rosemary participated in a summer travel program at the Forfar Field Station in the Bahamas on Andros Island. This experiential learning opportunity allowed Rosemary to be directly involved with field-studies that focused on scuba diving and exploration. Thanks to that unique experience, Rosemary was hooked on marine science.

After Rosemary graduated high school, she earned her Associates Degree in General Studies of Science at a local community college, then transferred to Coastal Carolina University (CCU) to continue studying marine science. During her undergraduate career, she completed an independent research project in Discovery Bay, Jamaica and focused her studies on coral ecology. After she earned her degree at CCU, Rosemary was interested in becoming a NOAA Corps Officer. Since a few of Rosemary’s family members worked for NOAA, she was exposed to the Corps mission and impact from an early age. She applied and did not gain admittance; however, that did not set Rosemary back.

Rosemary started working as a Physical Scientist intern at the Atlantic Hydrographic Branch in Norfolk, Virginia and sailed aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson for two field seasons. After this experience, she reapplied to the Corps, was accepted, and began her Basic Officer Training Class at Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy in February 2012. Officer training school was an intense program that emphasized leadership, teamwork, seamanship, and navigation. Once Rosemary graduated, her first sea assignment was on the hydrographic research vessel, NOAA Ship Rainier in Alaska. After this assignment, Rosemary’s land assignment was at the Florida Marine Sanctuary in Key West. She worked as a support diver to assess coral health and completed grounding assessments for three and half years before rotating to her current position as the Operations Officer aboard Okeanos Explorer. Now, Rosemary is involved with deep sea exploration and loves being on a ship that is dedicated to discovering more about the unknown parts of the ocean. Rosemary is enthusiastic about supporting NOAA’s mission of science, service, and stewardship. She believes that it is incredibly important to set goals, remain determined, and push yourself out of your comfort zone to experience success.

Rosemary Abbitt

LT Abbitt plotting a fix at the charting table on the bridge of the Okeanos Explorer. Image courtesy of Brianna Pacheco, LTJG (Sel.)/NOAA Corps

Meredith Salmon: Who’s Who Aboard the Okeanos: Part III, July 27, 2018

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Meredith Salmon

Aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

July 12 – 31, 2018

Mission: Mapping Deep-Water Areas Southeast of Bermuda in Support of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation

Date: July 27, 2018

Weather Data from the Okeanos Explorer Bridge

Latitude: 28.48°N

Longitude: 62.41°W

Air Temperature: 27.8°C

Wind Speed:  10.5 knots

Conditions: Partly Sunny

Depth: 5272.37 meters

 

Commanding Officer – Commander Eric Johnson, NOAA Corps

Hometown: Maryland but currently resides in D.C

 

Ever since Eric was young, he had been fascinated by the ocean. After reading about Eugenie Clark’s contributions to marine science and shark research, he was hooked on learning as much as he could about the sea. Eric began his studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland; however, he made the decision to take a six year sabbatical and work in a variety of fields to gain practical experience. During this time, he found employment as an apprentice for a deep sea salvage company and completed electrical work on ROVs for the Navy. This job granted him the opportunity to go to sea and encouraged him to apply what he learned in the field.

 

After this six year period, Eric returned to college at the University of Maryland, majored in Marine Biology, and earned his scuba certification. Upon graduation, he was a manager at REI in College Park and volunteer diver at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. As an exhibit diver, Eric was responsible for feeding the animals by hand in the tanks, maintenance of tanks and scuba equipment, as well as educational outreach.

 

Although Eric learned a great deal about customer service and public speaking during his time at REI and the Baltimore Aquarium, he was interested in researching a more permanent marine science career. While researching potential employment opportunities on the NOAA website, he discovered the NOAA Corps. Eric was very interested in the mission of this Uniformed Service and decided to apply. Eric was not selected the first time since he did not have direct experience working in a related field; however, he was not discouraged. Instead, Eric secured a job working at a Biotech company, reapplied to the NOAA Corps, and was selected. Once he graduated from Basic Officer Training at the Coast Guard Academy, Eric began an extensive and impressive career with NOAA.

 

Eric’s first sea assignment was as navigation officer on the Oregon II.  He was responsible for operations focused on diving, navigation, and safety aboard this vessel. After spending two years at sea, he began his first land rotation as the Executive Officer of the NOAA Dive Program before advancing to the NOAA ship Hi’ialakai. Eric kept track of scientific diving operations aboard the Hi’ialakai, which amounted to approximately 3,000 to 4,000 dives per year! Then, Eric served as the NOAA Recruiter for a year and a half before becoming Chief of the Recruiting Branch. He found the recruiting positions to be incredibly rewarding and enjoyed encouraging those who were looking to make a difference while serving their country to apply to NOAA. Eventually, Eric returned to his original ship, the Oregon II, as Executive Officer before beginning as Commanding Officer on the Okeanos Explorer. Although serving as the Commanding Officer is a major responsibility, Eric is dedicated to supporting NOAA’s mission in regards to science, service, and stewardship. He finds is assignment on the Okeanos very exciting since this ship’s main purpose is ocean exploration.

 

Throughout his career, Eric has learned that it is especially important to pursue your true interests and not be afraid to explore the unknown. Eric believes that stepping outside your comfort zone and learning how to adapt to new situations enables you to construct a skill set that will help you experience success in a variety of situations.

CDR Johnson and wife

CDR Johnson and his wife, Angela, at his Change of Command Ceremony last year

 

Fun Facts about CO Eric Johnson

Eric continues to be an avid diver and has completed over 1,000 dives during his career.

– If you added up all of the hours Eric has spent diving, it would be about one month underwater!

– In Eric’s opinion, the best spot to dive is south of Hawaii at Palmyra Atoll.

Meredith Salmon: Who’s Who Aboard the Okeanos: Part II, July 25, 2018

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Meredith Salmon

Aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

July 12 – 31, 2018

Mission: Mapping Deep-Water Areas Southeast of Bermuda in Support of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation

Date: July 25, 2018

Weather Data from the Okeanos Explorer Bridge

Latitude: 28.37°N

Longitude: 63.15°W

Air Temperature: 27.8°C

Wind Speed:  9.7 knots

Conditions: partly sunny

Depth: 5236.01 meters

 

Ensign (ENS) Anna Hallingstad

Hometown: Anacortes, Washington

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is built on three principles: science, service, and stewardship, and ENS Anna Hallingstad embodies all of these core values. Anna is currently immersed in her first sea assignment aboard the Okeanos Explorer and has many different responsibilities as a NOAA Corps Officer.

Anna has always been fascinated by the outdoors and enrolling in a Marine Science course in high school set her on a science track in college. After graduating high school, Anna completed an undergraduate and graduate career at Stanford University. She majored in Earth Systems and focused particularly on ocean systems. Earth Systems was a unique interdisciplinary major that investigated the interactions of different ecological, geological, and human systems.

Anna extended her learning outside of the traditional classroom environment by completing a quarter of classes at Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, California. She spent the fall quarter of her junior year studying abroad in Australia in collaboration with the University of Brisbane and Stanford. During the summer before her senior year, Anna participated in a 10-week Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) through the National Science Foundation. Anna continued her studies at Stanford to earn her Masters in Earth Systems and focused on the human relationship with the ocean.

Upon graduation, Anna did an AmeriCorps term by working for an urban forestry non-profit and was a volunteer for Salish Sea Stewards in Washington. Anna also worked as the Harbor Porpoise Project Coordinator before applying and being accepted into NOAA’s Basic Officer Training Class (BOTC). Anna had a desire to work for NOAA since she was young and began her 19-week training in January at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. Officer training school was an intense program that emphasized leadership, teamwork, seamanship, navigation, etc. After graduating in May, Anna was shipped off to her first assignment in Honolulu, Hawaii and reported to the Okeanos Explorer in 2017. She will spend two years on the Okeanos Explorer until her three-year land assignment in Washington state.

Anna wears many different hats aboard the Okeanos Explorer as the Morale, Safety, and Property Officer as well as a Purchase Card Holder and Diver. As the Morale Officer, she organizes events on aboard such as ice cream socials, cookouts, and cribbage tournaments. She really enjoys seeing everyone having a great time onboard. It can be very busy balancing all of these important responsibilities, but Anna believes that you shouldn’t shy away from difficult things. Having the confidence to tackle the unknown is a valuable life lesson and one that she abides by while at sea.

 

ENS Anna Hallingstad

ENS Anna Hallingstad

Meredith Salmon: CTDs and Cribbage! July 24, 2018

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Meredith Salmon

Aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

July 12 – 31, 2018

 

Mission: Mapping Deep-Water Areas Southeast of Bermuda in Support of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation

Weather Data from the Okeanos Explorer Bridge

Latitude: 28.34°N

Longitude: 64.14°W

Air Temperature: 28.16°C

Wind Speed:  17.34 knots

Conditions: partly sunny  

Depth: 5060.32 meters

Understanding the physical properties of seawater such as temperature, salinity, and depth are important parameters for studying ocean processes. Fortunately, A CTD is an acronym for an electronic instrument that is used on research vessels to measure three important factors: conductivity, temperature, and depth. These data points are key exploration components used aboard the Okeanos Explorer.

 

Conductivity is a measure of how well a solution conducts electricity and it is directly related to salinity. When salinity measurements are combined with temperature readings, seawater density can be determined. This is crucial information since seawater density is a driving force for major ocean currents.

 

The CTD itself is housed in a steel container and is surrounded by a ring of plastic bottles. These water sampling bottles can be individually triggered at various depths to collect water samples allowing scientists to analyze water at specific depths at a particular place and time. The entire structure is connected to a rosette that is lowered by a hydrographic winch crane, and this rosette is capable of making vertical profiles to depths up to 6,800 meters.  

ctd 3

CTD unit aboard the Okeanos Explorer

 

Features in the deep ocean such as hydrothermal vents and underwater volcanoes are associated with changes in chemical properties of seawater, so CTDs are used to measure chemical and physical properties associated with these structures. For instance, changes in water temperature may indicate the presence of hydrothermal vents or volcanoes. Since these features are located in deep waters, a CTD will be raised and lowered throughout the water column as the ship moves over the survey area. Although a CTD cast has not been completed on our expedition, these procedures require effective communication between scientists in the lab and the hydrographic crane operator. Scientists in the lab can monitor the CTD measurements in real time in the lab, and communicate depth for water capture in the rosette bottles to the crane operator. Once back on board, scientists can retrieve the water samples from the bottles and take them into the lab for further analysis.

ctd1

CTD rosette complete with water sampling containers

Personal Log

We have continued to map the survey area, load XBTs, and take sunphotometer readings throughout the course of the week. Since they are few and far between, everyone looks forward to turns. The entire turning process requires effective communication with the bridge and survey team and can take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

SISTurn

A turn pictured in the Seafloor Information System (SIS) program

Aside from waiting for turns, we have been playing daily trivia or bingo as well as card games including cribbage! Since the cribbage tournament is underway, we have been practicing, playing, and watching other games. There have been some serious upsets and victories so the finals are going to be interesting for sure.

Okeanos Cribbage Tournament Bracket

Okeanos Cribbage Tournament Bracket

cribbage tournament

Savannah vs. Charlie!

cribbage 6

Fernando vs. Christian!

We learned that we are heading back to Norfolk for dry dock towards the end of July so we will need to stop surveying soon to transit back to Virginia. It is crazy to think that we only have a couple more days at sea!

Meredith Salmon: Who’s Who Aboard The Okeanos Part I, July 23, 2018

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Meredith Salmon

Aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

July 12 – 31, 2018

 

Mission: Mapping Deep-Water Areas Southeast of Bermuda in Support of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation

 

Weather Data from the Okeanos Explorer Bridge

Latitude: 28.34°N

Longitude: 64.14°W

Air Temperature: 28.16°C

Wind Speed:  17.34 knots

Conditions: Partly Sunny

Depth: 5060.32 meters

 

Brian Caldwell

Brian has a true passion for exploration and science, so being part of the NOAA Corp is a perfect fit for him. Brian has an extensive educational background and enjoys advancing his knowledge about the ocean. Prior to NOAA, Brian worked as a civilian mariner for a sail training program. He served as both a captain and educator and taught non-traditional education courses about the ocean. In addition, he worked on the NOAA ship Rainier as a wage mariner.

 

Brian began his schooling at Miami Dade College and earned an Associate’s degree in Biology. He then attended Georgetown University and majored in Biology with a minor in Physics. During his time at Georgetown, he was the captain of Georgetown Sailing Team. Upon graduation, Brian continued his schooling and started his graduate degree abroad at the University Of Wales School Of Ocean Sciences.

 

After 9/11, Brian honorably served in the United States Army for ten years. He completed eight combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and even conducted additional graduate work in Military History and a program in Italian Studies. After his commendable involvement with the military, Brian applied and was accepted to the NOAA Corp. Once he graduated from Basic Officer Training at the Coast Guard Academy, he began his career with NOAA. He is now working on the Okeanos and continues to be fascinated with ocean exploration and discovery. Brian loves adventure and travel, so he considers himself very fortunate to be able to experience both while working at sea. Brian has learned that it is important to be flexible in life and never stop learning.

brian interview pic

ENS Brian Caldwell

 

Meredith Salmon: Tour of the Bridge, July 20, 2018

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Meredith Salmon

Aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

July 12 – 31, 2018

 

Mission: Mapping Deep-Water Areas Southeast of Bermuda in Support of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation

 

Weather Data from the Okeanos Explorer Bridge

Latitude: 29.01°N

Longitude: 61.56°W

Air Temperature: 27.7°C

Wind Speed:  13.91 knots

Conditions: Sunny  

Depth: 5288.3 meters

The NOAA Corps is composed of professionals trained in engineering, earth sciences, oceanography, meteorology, fisheries science, and other related disciplines. Corps officers are responsible for operating NOAA’s ships, flying aircraft, managing research projects, conducting diving operations, and serving in leadership positions throughout NOAA. Officers are trained for effective leadership and command whether it be at sea or on land. After successfully completing NOAA’s Basic Officer Training Program, the newly trained officers report for their first two-year sea assignment aboard one of  NOAA’s 16 ships. Upon reporting aboard their ships, they will be assigned watch standing responsibilities and tasked with various collateral duties (i.e., Damage Control Officer, Imprest Officer, Navigation Officer, Morale Officer, etc.).

A typical navigational bridge watch consists of two four-hour shifts (ex. 0800-1200 and then 2000-2400) with eight hours in between to work on collateral duties. While on watch, the Officer of the Deck (OOD) is stationed on the bridge (vessel’s room from which the ship can be commanded) and accompanied by an able-bodied seaman acting as lookout or helmsman, and often times a Junior Officer of the Deck (JOOD) who is training for their OOD qualification. The OOD has earned the trust of the Command and is a direct representative of the Commanding Officer, having responsibility for the ship while the CO is not on the bridge.

The Bridge

The Bridge aboard the Okeanos Explorer

Safe navigation is the top priority. Before each change of the bridge watch, it is essential that clear, specific communication has been passed to the oncoming OOD and watchstanders to ensure the oncoming watch are aware of changes regarding navigation, traffic, weather, operations, etc.

Weather Log

Hourly position, weather, and sea conditions are logged aboard the Okeanos Explorer to show trends in meteorological conditions.

Charts

Nautical charts used to record hourly location coordinates (a.k.a. fixes)

The marine radar equipment located on the bridge of the Okeanos Explorer is crucial for carrying out safe navigation operations while underway. Radar instruments are mandatory systems for collision avoidance. The bridge watch rely on radar to successfully identify and track the precise positioning of vessels and aids to navigation out at sea. Radar uses rotating antennas that transmit and receive electromagnetic waves.

S and X Band Radars

Marine radars on the Okeanos Explorer are either X (10GHz) or S (3GHz) band frequencies. Since X-band radars have higher frequencies, they are used to generate a sharper image and resolution; whereas, the S-band radars are used for long-range identification and tracking. The X-band radars pick up weather conditions and small targets and are best used for close ranges (12 mile or less). The S-band radars are very useful in rainy or foggy weather conditions and help identify objects that located farther away (24 mile range or greater). It is especially important to use these radar systems to determine if impending vessels are in the area. The radars are equipped with an AIS (Automated Information System) feed. The AIS tool allows the user to acquire additional information about vessels in the vicinity about the size and type of the vessel, speed, course, distance of the closest point of approach (CPA) and time to CPA.

Steering Stand

The steering stand is used to direct the ship by controlling the rudder and can be put in different modes such as autopilot or manual. This piece of equipment has two gyrocompass inputs (or feeds) to provide accurate heading by determining “true north”. The gyrocompass is an instrument that relies on the use of a continuously driven gyroscope to accurately seek the direction of true (geographic) north. It functions by seeking an equilibrium direction under the combined effects of the force of gravity and the rotation of the Earth.

Steering Stand

Steering stand on the Okeanos Explorer

A magnetic compass is an instrument containing a magnetized needle that reacts to the Earth’s magnetic field by pointing to magnetic north. The magnetic compass on the Okeanos Explorer is housed in a binnacle that uses mirrors to project the compass that is located on the flying bridge. It is important that the magnetic compass is far away from electronics to prevent interference from occurring.

Magnetic Compass

Magnetic compass binnacle

Gyrocompass

Master gyrocompasses

The gyrocompass repeater (pictured below) is mounted on the bridge wings and displays directional information on the basis of electrical signals received from the master gyrocompass. Repeater compasses are designed to receive and indicate the true heading transmitted electrically from the master gyrocompass.

Repeater for gyrocompass

Repeater for gyrocompass

ECDIS

Electronic Chart Display and Information System, known as the ECDIS, is a computer-based navigation system that requires the use of electronic charts, sensors, and radars to offer an alternative to paper charts. ECDIS is an effective tool that allows navigators to plan and monitor routes that even include waypoints and tracklines. On this expedition, we use ECDIS along with a computer programming system known as Hypack to plan survey lines 180 nautical miles in length. Once the precise lines are created on Hypack, they are saved on a flash drive and transferred to the bridge so the person navigating the ship has the exact lines and coordinates necessary to steer the ship and obtain accurate data and overlap. ECDIS eases navigators’ workloads due to its automatic capabilities such as route planning, route monitoring, and automatic ETA.  ECDIS provides many other sophisticated navigation and safety features, including continuous data recording for later analysis. 

Propulsion controls

The propulsion controls located below the ECDIS computer monitor are known as the “sticks”. These throttles control the two fixed pitch propellers under the hull. In case of an emergency, control can be shifted to the engineers in the main control space, and the engine order telegraph (E.O.T) can be used to communicate desired speed.

ECDIS

ECDIS (pictured on the computer screen) is used to view lines created in Hypack

 

Dynamic Positioning System

Although this system is not being used on this particular cruise, the dynamic position system is designed to hold the ship in a precise position exclusively using thrusters. This system is used primarily for Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth (CTD) casts, and during Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) cruises when the “vehicles,” Deep Discoverer and Seirios, are in the water.

Dynamic Positioning

Dynamic Positioning (DP) System

Marine Propulsion equipment

Okeanos Explorer is equipped with bow and stern thrusters to help maneuver the vessel and hold station while in DP. In its raised position, the bow thruster is used in tunnel mode, but it can also be lowered to allow it to rotate 360 degrees for better control. The two stern thrusters are in fixed positions and work simultaneously in tunnel mode.

bridge 4

 

Generator Mimic

This screen displays information about the four diesel generators that are used to power the Okeanos Explorer. Three generators are online while the remaining one is used as a backup in case of emergencies. This system provides information about which generators are currently being used, the cylinder temperatures to ensure that the engines are not overheating, and alarms that indicate any potential malfunctions. The engineers abroad conduct daily maintenance to keep these engines in tip-top shape.

Generator Mimic

Generator Mimic

 

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)

The GMDSS is a distress and radio communication system that can relay a variety of important information. This system reports weather forecasts for the navigation area approximately every six hours and includes tsunami alerts, boat reports, and ship to ship messages to ensure the safety of all vessels out at sea.

GMDSS

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)

 

Personal Log

Cribbage is a card game that can be traced back to the 18th century and has been popular in the U.S. Navy since World War II. Traditionally, the game is played by two players and each player tries to form various counting combinations of cards to earn points. Score is kept by inserting pegs into holes arranged in rows on a cribbage board and the first person to reach 121 points wins. Since there is going to be a cribbage tournament aboard the Okeanos Explorer, we learned the rules of the game tonight and completed a bunch of practice rounds. We are going to make a winners and losers bracket and start the tournament this week!

Cribbage

Cribbage champions

Cribbage

Practicing Cribbage!

 

 

 

Resources: 

https://www.google.com/search?q=cribbage+navy&rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS759US759&oq=cribbage+navy&aqs=chrome..69i57j0j69i60j0l3.6401j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8