Dana Tomlinson: Days 26 and 27, March 27, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Tuesday, March 26 and Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Today we started the long journey home. We savored every moment by getting up early, sitting on the edge of the lagoon, watching the wildlife for the umpteenth and last time. Finally, it was time to leave. We took a taxi (truck) from the Red Mangrove north across the island to the ferry.Then we took the ferry across the small strait to the island of Baltra, on which the airport is the only building or business. After we got off the ferry, we waited quite a while in the sweltering heat to get a bus to the airport. Then we flew from Baltra to Guayaquil to Quito, where we needed to stay overnight. The next morning, we flew from Quito to Miami, missed our connection there, so flew to St. Louis and then San Diego.

Our luggage arrived two days later. 🙂

So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. It’s hard for me to believe that this once in a lifetime experience is over. I am so grateful to NOAA for selecting me. Thanks to Mike Johnson in OGP and Jay Fein at the NSF for the support of the program. Major thanks to Jennifer Hammond, NOAA’s webmaster, for being so supportive and for her wonderful work on this web page. Huge thanks to John Kermond for his mentorship and top-notch videotaping (all of our live broadcasts and videos will be up on the website in a few weeks). Heartfelt thanks to the South Bay Union School District and Supt. Pat Pettit for their support of my trip, the SBUSD Education Foundation for their financial support, to my principal, Dennis Malek, for his support, and to my class for putting up with me being gone for a month.

Thanks to the hundreds of people who emailed me – I really enjoyed hearing from you. And, finally, thanks again to the crew, officers and scientists aboard the RV Ka’imimoana for allowing me to be one of you, because what you are doing is so important to all of us. May you always have fair skies and following seas.

If you’d like to reach me, feel free to email me at dana.tomlinson@noaa.gov and it will be forwarded to me.

For the last time, mahalo and aloha.
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 25, March 25, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Monday, March 25, 2002

Lat: 1°S
Long: 91°W
Seas: 3-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: light airs
Air Temp: 90-81°F

This day started and ended the same way: bittersweet. In the morning, we watched the Ka’imimoana sail out of the harbor without us. It was scheduled to leave at 9am, so we were perched on my balcony with binoculars. I noticed that the RHIB was missing from the boat, and not too long afterward, the RHIB left the pier and headed toward the ship. Was it more paperwork to be cleared with the authorities? A last minute run to the hardware store for more fishing lures? We could only speculate. But shortly after they returned and the RHIB was back on board, the anchor was weighed and the ship slowly started to move away from us. We watched the ship sail until it was out of sight and wished them fair skies and following seas.

Dr. Mike was also leaving Puerto Ayora this day to go to Guayaquil (on Ecuador’s coast) to visit their counterpart to NOAA. So, we shared his taxi to the airline office in town and bid him farewell as he started off on the long trip to the airport. We took care of our travel arrangements for our departure the following day and then went back to the Red Mangrove, where we had Mariano take us out of their small boat to do some ocean exploration. We traveled to a very small uninhabited island in the middle of the harbor to snorkel with the sea lions and the Pacific green sea turtles. The water was warm – no wetsuit needed (hint – don’t forget to put sunscreen on your back as I did!). The sea life was abundant: numerous sea lions, many varieties of fish, coral, anemones, urchins, turtles. We swam for about 45 minutes there, then headed over to another side of the island where we could see the lava walls from the ocean. They housed blue footed boobies and many marine iguanas.

We tied up the boat to a pier and walked to a salt pond. As soon as one left the ocean, the air temperature seemed to go up 15 degrees. We hiked over rough lava rocks to a crevasse that held water that was much more fresh than sea water as the salt had been evaporated out of it. It was heavenly to swim in this cool water on such a warm day. We then hiked over to the Delfin hotel and enjoyed their pool – as warm as a bathtub. Mariano took us back to the hotel, where we washed up, and enjoyed our last meal in the Galapagos.

Very bittersweet.
Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 24, March 24, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Sunday, March 24, 2002

Lat: 1°S
Long: 91°W
Seas: 2-4 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy with possible rain showers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: light airs
Air Temp: 93-82°F

This was a day for exploring the island. Several of us headed off for the short walk from our hotel to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Even relatively early in the morning, the heat and humidity were incredible. We enjoyed the visitor’s center and learned how the Station and other groups are trying to help conserve the islands’ native species, as well as to eradicate harmful introduced species. We then hiked out to see the land tortoises. Lonesome George greeted us – the last Galapagos Tortoise of his subspecies. We also saw numerous other tortoises, as well as terrestrial iguanas. Then, we hotfooted it (literally) so a small beach on the Station’s property and watched marine iguanas swim up to the lava rocks, while we cooled our heels in the gorgeous blue waters. After a rest and refueling, we got into our bathing suits, tightened up our hiking boots (we’re walking over lava rocks here folks!) and started out on a long walk to Tortuga Bay. This beach is only accessible by boat or walking, but it is well worth it. It was about a 2 km walk to the entrance to the beach and then a 2-1/2 km walk over what reminded me of the Great Wall of China – weaving and winding and never-ending! We were walking in the heat of the day and there was no shade on the trail. BUT, as soon as you got to the beach, it was nirvana. The temperature immediately lessened, the water was 5 different colors and just slightly cooler than the air temperature, and the sand! Oh, the sand was absolutely white and like powder. As I ran to throw myself into the ocean, I noticed a meter-long marine iguana just ambling toward an outcropping of lava rocks on the beach. The beach was about a kilometer long, and John and I walked the length of it. It was glorious. That night, as much of the crew as were inclined gathered at La Garrapata restaurant for a final meal together, as the KA was shipping out in the morning. We had a wonderful meal and then I had to say goodbye to everyone.

That was much harder than I anticipated. It was difficult for me to get out much more than, “I had a great time. Thank you,” because I thought I’d burst into tears. I kind of figured that would destroy the credibility I had built up with this wonderful group of scientists and sailors, so I just bowed out gracefully and watched them walk toward the pier to take the water taxi back to the KA. We got back to the hotel just before the skies opened up and it rained an incredible amount. This happened two more times that night.

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 23, March 23, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Saturday, March 23, 2002

Lat: 1°S
Long: 91°W
Seas: flat
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: light airs
Air Temp: 91-83°F

I arose at 5:30 to see the sunrise off the bow of the ship and our entrance into the Galapagos Islands – a place I’ve always dreamed of seeing. The water was flat as a pancake and the skies were dramatic with the clouds. As we pulled into the harbor of Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz, I naively thought that we’d be going to the other side of the island where the bigger city of Puerto Ayora must be! No, that was it – what looked like a very quaint little town about a half mile away – but so close, we could almost taste it. Anchor dropped!

We’d have to wait about 5 hours to taste anything on land, unfortunately. We needed to provide the proper paperwork to several different authorities and have all of our i’s dotted and t’s crossed before we could disembark. There were 3 of us who were permanently getting off the ship (Dr. Mike, John (the one videotaping me throughout the trip) and me), but everyone wanted to put their feet on land and see what the Galapagos had to offer, since very few of us had ever visited before.

After struggling with all of our belongings (including the ever-present tripod and camera!) into the water taxi, we were finally on our way. Between the KA and the pier, I saw much of the abundant wildlife the Galapagos has to offer: blue footed boobies diving into the sea, pelicans everywhere, marine iguanas on the lava rocks, sally lightfoot crabs scurrying over the lava (you’ve got to love a crab that doesn’t like water!!), herons. We took a taxi to our hotel, the Red Mangrove Adventure Inn, and settled. Then we spent the remainder of the day exploring the small town in the heat and incredible humidity. We ultimately met up with our mates and celebrated being on terra firma!

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 22, March 22, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Friday, March 22, 2002

Lat: 1°S
Long: 91°W
Seas: 2-4 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: light airs
Air Temp: 86-79°F

Today makes exactly three weeks on the Ka’imimoana. And this will be my last Daily Log from it. What a day it was. It was truly a perfect day. The weather was crystal clear and warm with very little breeze. The waters are so flat it’s hard to believe you’re on an ocean. Since we are closing in on the Galapagos, we are seeing more animal life: two hugs pods of porpoises and a few different kinds of birds. Seeing the birds is nice. We have seen very few on this trip. Dr. McPhaden feels this could also be an indicator of El Niño since the waters are warmer, the fish may be fewer and, therefore, the birds have less to eat.

Everyone is very excited about reaching the Galapagos first thing tomorrow morning. The scientists have prepped and are ready for the buoy recoveries/deployments back on the 95°W line north of Galapagos. The crew was busy getting their work done so they can have some well-deserved time off (Ian and Dane were welding at sunset down on the fantail – it looked beautiful with the setting sun behind them). All hands worked very diligently on the leg down here and the CO is very glad to be able to give them some quality time in a port most have never seen before.

As for me, this is a farewell to the KA. Dr. Kermond, Dr. McPhaden and I will be leaving the ship here to spend a couple of days on Santa Cruz. I will continue to write my logs, but won’t have access to a computer until I get back to San Diego. So, in about a week, please check the website again for the finale to my trip. I thank Cmdr. Tisch and his wonderful crew of dedicated, professional workers for making me feel just like one of them, and giving me the opportunity to bring the valuable work they do to the world, as well as experience what it is like to be a scientist for a while. This experience can only help to make me a better teacher with what I can bring to my students. Thanks to NOAA for a win-win situation. And now I’m off to pack as much into two days in the Galapagos as I can! Stay tuned……………

Question of the Day: 

Here’s a no-brainer: did I have fun and learn a lot on the KA? You’re darn right I did. It was truly the experience of a lifetime.

Answer(s) of the Day: 

From Wednesday: Amy has 6 hours between CTD’s if she’s doing them every degree. It’s about 60 miles to a degree. And the ship goes about 10mph. From Thursday: Once again, knowing that 1 degree is about 60 miles, when you count up the degrees, you get almost forty. That would be 2400 miles and Mrs. Mackay’s class in San Diego got it almost right on the money. Super job, you all!

Til I return from the Galapagos,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 21, March 21, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2002

Lat: 1.5°S
Long: 95°W
Seas: 5-8 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: mostly cloudy with isolated rainshowers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: SE 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 83-70°F

Today was a day of mostly rainshowers, in actuality, with intermittent spurts of sun. The skies were pretty dramatic. The day was a pretty typical day at sea on the KA. The crew members were all doing their chores around the ship. The scientists spent the morning in preparation. Brian could be found splicing nylon cord together, Nuria was inputting data, etc. There is a buoy already outfitted on board, ready to be deployed after the ship leaves the Galapagos and continues to move northward on the 95°W line.

We had some delightful visitors this afternoon – a group of porpoises slowly made their way from the port side forward of the bow, to the bow, and then slowly drifted off to starboard. This occurred while the scientists were visiting the buoy at 2°S 95°W, so the ship was stopped. Once again, the bearings in the anemometer on this buoy were shot, so the scientists switched the anemometer with a new working one. It was a quick trip out and back and the ship continues to make very good time. We will be getting into the Galapagos much earlier than expected (Saturday morning). The cliche is true, eh? All good things must come to an end, for this Teacher at Sea anyway.

Question of the Day: 

This will be the last real question of the day, since I will only be at my noaa.gov email address until early Saturday morning. So, I’ll make you think. Starting at the 8°N point on the 110°W line and traveling down to the 8°S point on the 110°W line, and then traveling east to the 95°W line and going north to the equator, how many nautical miles is that? Keep in mind that 1° is about equal to 60 nautical miles. Get out the pencil and paper and go for it!!

Answer of the Day: 

I even stumped Cmdr Tisch on this one! We’ve decided a round number on what it costs to run the Ka’imimoana every day is about $20,000. It’s difficult to tell exactly. I did find out about how much fuel they use every day. Give up? About 2200 gallons. Fill ‘er up!

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 20, March 20, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Lat: 5°S
Long: 95°W
Seas: 5-8 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: mostly cloudy with isolated rainshowers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: SE 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 84-70°F

Today was a day of CTD’s, a live broadcast and a nighttime buoy visit. We are back to doing a CTD every degree, so Amy was a busy girl today (it gets even busier very close to the equator when she does CTD’s every half a degree). Our live broadcast was at 12:30 today as we are now on Central time. That was a bit dicey because John and I didn’t realize that the clock in the studio hadn’t been changed, so 20 minutes before show time, we were still thinking we had an hour and 20 minutes to go! Thank goodness I figured it out when I went down to eat and all the food had been put away because lunch was over!!

It just goes to prove, however, that preparation isn’t everything. We had a large “studio” audience (about 10-12 people standing behind the camera watching) and they all thought today’s broadcast was the best by far. All of the broadcasts will be put on the website as streaming videos in a few weeks when we return, so you can then decide for yourself. We had great guests: Clem, the Chief Steward who keeps our stomachs full of her yummy food (today’s delight: homemade bread pudding), Ensign Sarah Dunsford, Fred Bruns (the only original crew member since the KA has been working the TAO array), our bilingual trio of scientists Sergio Pezoa and Nuria Ruiz and our Ecuadorian observer, Juan Regalado, all topped off by a visit from oiler Ian Price (we’ve taken to calling him “Mr. Hollywood”). It was fun.

The nighttime visit to the buoy at 5°S 95°W was to check on the buoy’s anemometer. For a while now, the anemometer had been sending back low wind readings. The scientists weren’t sure if this was because there really were low winds in the area, or there was a problem. So, a little RHIB ride in the dark with a spare anemometer just in case did the trick. Turns out the bearings were bad in the old one, so they installed a new one (in the dark with spotlights in 8 foot swells). All in a day’s work for NOAA’s intrepid scientists Mike McPhaden, Brian Powers and Nuria Ruiz!

Question of the Day: 

Since we’re doing a CTD every degree, how often does Amy have to get up to do them? Or, how long is it between degrees of latitude going about 11 knots?

Answer of the Day: 

Mrs. Mackay’s class at Emory Elementary in San Diego CA were the first to come up with what the beam of a ship is: the width of the ship at its widest part (on the KA it’s 43 feet). Great job, you all!

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 19, March 19, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Lat: 8°S
Long: 95°W
Seas: 5-8 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: mostly cloudy with isolated showers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: NE 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 84-70°F

This morning, the eight Pollywogs on board (folks who have crossed the Equator but have never gone through the Shellback initiation) went through their Shellback ceremony and became official card-carrying Shellbacks. After 3 days of festivities in this proud maritime tradition, the wait is over. I must say, in all honesty, that I had a great time. The crew of the KA put a lot of effort into this and made it a terrific experience. All Wogs that have the opportunity should partake in this if given the opportunity.

We will be reaching the 95°W line at about 11pm this evening. At that time, there will be a relatively rare nighttime RHIB ride out to the buoy here at 8°S to replace the buoy’s rain gauge (the rest of it is operating properly). This is a fairly simple procedure, so it can safely be done at night. We will be doing a CTD at the same time. This way, as soon as both operations are done, we can continue on to check on the buoy at 5°S. And, as on land, out here at sea, time is money.

Question of the Day: 

How much do you think it costs to run the Ka’imimoana every day?

Answer of the Day(s): 

We have lots of them here from the weekend.

From Thursday: No one ever got back to me, so the deepest spot in the Pacific Ocean can be found in the Marianas Trench – about 10 miles deep.

From Friday: The beginning of modern oceanography is generally regarded to have begun with the Challenger Expedition of 1873-76. Check this out – very interesting.

From Saturday: I had two intrepid folks from San Diego give this a really good college try: Bob M. and John W. According to Ensign Kroening, we will have traveled 880 miles to get from the 110°W to the 95°W at an average of about 11 knots and it will have taken us 80.5 hours. (I like to think of this as driving from LA to the Oregon border at 10 mph with the scenery never changing!!)

From Sunday: The first buoy was deployed by NOAA in the Pacific in 1979. It is the very same one that is floating out on the equator at 110°W with Emory’s name on it! Thanks to John W. from San Diego again!

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 18, March 18, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Monday, March 18, 2002
Lat: 8°S
Long: 100°W
Seas: SE 4-7 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy with isolated rainshowers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds:E 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 86-72°F

Once again, today was a day in transit. The scientists were preparing for the leg between Galapagos and Manzanillo by getting the buoys that they will deploy there ready. The buoys we picked up on the 110°W line are being cleaned, patched, painted and fitted with the hardware so that they can be used on the 95°W line.

Since today was a quiet science day, I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you a bit about the Ka’imimoana. The ship is 224 ft long and has a beam of 43 ft. It has 6 total decks, but most of us use only 4 of them. It has enough cabins or staterooms (about 20 of them) to house 34 people. There are 4 generators (12 cylinders putting out 600 volts each) driving 2 propulsion motors, each of which has 800 horsepower. Thanks to Ian Price of the Engineering Dept for these figures. The KA has its own website. Check it out for more info about the ship.

Question of the Day: 

What is the beam of a ship?

Answer of the Day: 

Once again, I’ll wait until tomorrow to get past the
weekend backup of emails (I only get them on board twice a day and
they are funneled through the NOAA offices in Silver Spring, MD –
thanks, Jennifer!!).

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 17, March 17, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Sunday, March 17, 2002

Lat: 8°S
Long: 105°W
Seas: 4-7 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: mostly cloudy with isolated rainshowers
Sea Surface Temp:
Winds: E 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 87-74°F

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Clem cooked up quite the corned beef and cabbage feast today. Hope all of you had fun too. We are presently transiting from the 110°W line to the 95°W line, so there are no scientific experiments going on now. Rather, there is a lot of preparation going on by the scientists for the work once we get to 95°W. Let me sum up for you what was done on the 110°W line.

Between Amy, Nuria and I (mostly Amy), 27 CTD’s were performed, 5 of them at almost the depth of the ocean (we stop 200m above the floor). 4 buoys were recovered and 4 new buoys were deployed. 2 buoys were visited and found to be fine. 1 buoy was visited and needed repairs, which were provided. The scientists saw the signatures of El Niño: warmer than normal sea surface temperatures by 1 degree, and a rainfall pattern that has shifted southward and south of the equator.

While the scientists are prepping for future work, the crew was getting their regular work done. And, in the further interest of safety (always #1 out here), we had a man overboard drill. We all mustered in our respective locations and watched out the window as a crew of four rescuers went out in the RHIB to retrieve the unfortunate soul adrift (a stuffed evacuation suit!). After bringing him/her aboard, they promptly took him/her to the Medical room where s/he was treated and released. All of this practice is great for honing the skills if they’re ever necessary. Let’s hope they never are.

Question of the Day: 

When was the first NOAA buoy deployed in the Pacific Ocean?

Answer of the Day: 

I will wait until I get emails again after the weekend. Keep writing!

Dana Tomlinson: Day 16, March 16, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Saturday, March 16, 2002
Lat: 8°S
Long: 110°W
Seas: 2-5 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly to mostly cloudy, possibility of rain showers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: 5-10 knots
Air Temp: 85-74°F

Today was kind of bittersweet for me but I doubt the crew feels that way. Today, we recovered the buoy at 8°S 110°W and deployed a new one. This will be the last time I have to see the buoy operations, as it is the last recovery/deployment until after the Galapagos Islands – and that’s where I get off. The crew goes on to Manzanillo, Mexico, and then returns to Honolulu, their home base. The operations went perfectly on both ends today, and now the crew gets a chance to catch up on everything they can’t do when they’re doing buoy ops.

We are now in transit from the 110°W line directly east to the 95°W line. We will be in transit for several days. During that time, like I said, the crew will be getting their regular chores done and the scientists will be preparing for the buoy “fly bys” we’ll be doing on the 95°W line. A fly by is when we locate the buoy, the scientists go out to it in the RHIB to check on it, and then fix anything that needs fixing or calibrating with the instrumentation. This transit is a chance for everyone to catch their breath for this next round of operations.

Question of the Day: 

The ship is traveling at about 12 knots. How long will it take us to get from the 110°W to the 95°W? Hint: you’re going to have to find out how many miles it is between degrees of longitude – Internet anyone?

Answer of the Day: 

Once again, Brian R. of San Diego tells me that the Pacific Ocean, on the average, is 13,740 ft deep, or about 4188 meters deep. But does anyone know how deep it is at its deepest point??? Let me hear from you. 🙂

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 15, March 15, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Friday, March 15, 2002
Lat: 6.2°S
Long: 111°W
Seas: 4-6 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly to mostly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: SE 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 85-74°F

Today was the day that we rounded up our wayward buoy. The buoy was deployed in April 2001 at 5°S 110°W. In November 2001, NOAA scientists knew that it was drifting freely. By the time we found it (it has a tracking device on it) it had drifted one degree south and one degree east. That’s 60 nautical miles in two directions!

Once we pulled it on board, one could see fairly clearly what had happened. There were scrapes on the sides of the buoy (the toroid, or “donut” section) where something like a boat/ship had rubbed up to it. There was a steel cable that had been attached to it and the nylon rope had been cut. So, the theory is that a fishing vessel attached itself to the buoy with the steel slingshot device. It yanks the buoy out of place and it’s easy to catch all the fish that use the buoy’s shade as their ecosystem.

Speaking of the buoy’s fish, while we were bringing in the buoy, folks on board that were not working were fishing the bounty of the ocean with a rod and reel. Several mahi mahi graced our table at dinner that evening – served by Clem four different ways (I think the mahi mahi in coconut sauce was the favorite.)! That woman is amazing. You NEED to use the gym on board to work off her good cooking!

Not to be overshadowed by the morning’s events was the day’s live broadcast. This was our third general broadcast and was the very first ever tried by NOAA out of doors. We had our studio on the buoy deck today. On the live broadcast, Cmdr. Tisch, Chief Scientist McPhaden and I dedicated tomorrow’s buoy to be deployed at 8°S 110°W to Education in America. The bulk of the show was scientist Ben Moore giving us a cook’s tour of the buoy deck’s equipment, and Dr. McFaden talked about our wayward buoy. It was a great show. We can still hook you up for the live broadcasts on 3/18, 3/20 and 3/22 if you’re interested.

Question of the Day:

 This is going to be a bit of a toughie, and might need some Internet research on your part, but it’s interesting. When do most oceanographers consider to be the beginning of modern oceanography? Or, another way of putting it is, what started modern oceanography? Hint: it’s before 1900.

Answer of the Day: 

The question was: how many branches of the armed services are there and what are they? Dennis M. of Lakeside CA got it exactly correct. There are 5 branches of the armed services: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard. PLUS, there are two other uniformed branches: NOAA and the US Public Health Service. Great job, Dennis. 🙂

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 14, March 14, 2020

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Thursday, March 14, 2002
Lat: 6°S
Long: 110°W
Seas: 4-7 ft
Visibility: unrestricted (3-5 mi. in rainstorms)
Weather: mostly cloudy with possible rainstorms
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: E 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 87-74°F

Today, we deployed a buoy at 5°S but we have not recovered the 5°S buoy. That’s because the little devil is at about 6.2°S due to currents, wind or being pulled by a boat. After the deployment, we did a deep cast to almost 3500m. Check the photos to see what that can do to styrofoam! We’ll get to the approximate location tonight of the wayward buoy and pick it up in the morning. I will be doing a CTD tonight.

Today, we also did our third safety drill since we boarded in San Diego. I have written and mentioned in my broadcasts how important safety is here. We have always had fire drills and abandon ship drills. Each week something different is added. The first week, we did an evacuation drill where we practiced putting on the evacuation (“gumby”) suit. Last week, we practiced using the water hoses in case of fire, and this week it was learning how to shoot the line throwing rocket.

I was given the honor of shooting off the rocket. All hands were called to the aft deck to hear Ens. Kroening and Ltcdr. Schleiger explain to us how to use the line throwing rocket. We would need to use it if ever we needed to get a line to another ship or land and it was too far to throw the line. For practice, we use a decoy that is shot off the fantail of the ship. Wearing my safety glasses and headgear, I shot the decoy. Successful launch! The line flew about 100 meters. Bad news: had to pull in the decoy and coil it up for next time.

Question of the Day: 

Today, we did a cast to about 3500 meters. How deep does the Pacific Ocean get?

Answer of the Day: 

Both Vanessa P. and Brian R. of San Diego were the only ones to try the fairing question and they were both right. A fairing is a smooth structure put on the outside of something. Its function is to reduce drag. In our case, the fairings are pieces of plastic about 3 inches wide and about a foot long that are snapped on to the top 250m of wire below the buoy in locations around the equator where the currents are very strong. The hope is that these fairings will reduce the drag on the wire and not allow it to be pulled so far off its intended location.

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 13, March 13, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Lat: 2°S
Long: 110°W
Seas: 3-6 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly to mostly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 80-84°F
Winds: E 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 86-76°F

This morning was jam-packed. I got up and outside on deck in the hopes of tagging along on a little half hour RHIB ride to visit the buoy at 1.5oS. A RHIB is a Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat. I was in luck – there was room. The plan was to replace the anemometer that was missing (vandalism? strong winds? who knows), and to put on a brand new pressure sensor as a brand new experiment.

Once again, things don’t always go as planned. After doing everything they had planned to do, the scientists couldn’t get the correct readings on their computers for the instrumentation. They spent about an hour and a half standing on the buoy in the blazing sun trying to fix the problem several different ways, and finally just replaced the tube entirely with new instrumentation.

During that time, I was circling the buoy in the RHIB, taking pictures and enjoying the scenery. I saw schools of mahi mahi jumping out of the water – possibly escaping the pilot whales that were spotted (not by me, unfortunately). I was also getting worried as I had to be back on the ship to do a live broadcast. Ultimately, when the scientists had to go back to the ship to get some new parts, they delivered me back at the same time. And the live broadcast went very well today, too. Look for all our live broadcasts in streaming video format on the website when we return.

Question of the Day: 

How many branches of the armed services are there and what are they?

Answer of the Day: 

The first person to answer the Pollywog/Shellback question was Brian R. from San Diego, but Mrs. Mackay’s class from San Diego got it correct also. A pollywog is a seagoer who has never crossed the equator on a ship. A Shellback is someone who has crossed the equator on a ship AND has gone through a Shellback ceremony. We have crossed the equator, but the ceremony hasn’t occurred yet. When it does, I’ll tell you about it, if I can. 🙂

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 12, March 12, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Lat: .5°S
Long: 110°W
Seas: 2-4 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly to mostly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 77-82°F
Winds: N/NE 5 knots
Air Temp: 88-76°F

As it turns out, the ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) was rigged up to deploy when I went outside this morning. The scientists had determined a new method of having it enter the water so there would be even less likelihood of anything going wrong. And they did a great job, because it was a very easy deployment. Mission accomplished – there’s an ADCP successfully collecting data on the equatorial currents at 110°W for the next year.

There was even more excitement to come for me, however. I had the privilege of being the first Teacher at Sea to ever have a buoy dedicated to her school. At 1130 today, Cdr. Tisch, Chief Scientist McPhaden and I each signed a large NOAA sticker on which we had written “Emory Elementary School, San Diego CA.” The gentlemen placed it on the plastic covering of the instrumentation and when it was deployed at the equator 110°W, that sticker actually kept its face to us until we could no longer read it. What’s truly amazing is that very buoy was the very first buoy that NOAA ever deployed in 1979. Our school is very honored.

The deployment of the Emory buoy took quite a while today because of the many fairings that the crew had to put on the wire line that goes down 250m below the buoy. Tomorrow is also a busy day on board. We are doing several CTD casts (Conductivity, Temperature and Depth), and we will be going by the buoy at 2°S to check on it, but we’re not recovering it.

Question of the Day: 

What is a fairing and what does it do?

Answers of the Days: 

Due to the weekend, there are several questions to catch up on. Here we go:

From Friday: No one answered this one correctly, so I’m going to give it to you. GMT is Greenwich Mean Time. It is 7 hours ahead of us here in Mountain Time and it is where all time is based because it is the 0 degree line of longitude. In nautical letters, zero is Zulu, hence, Zulu time. So, if it’s 9pm here in Mountain time, in GMT it is 4am.

From Saturday: Ditto on no answer for this one (come on you guys!!).
TAO stands for Tropical Atmosphere Ocean.

From Sunday: Karen R. in San Diego knows that MBARI stands for Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. And Vanessa P.(again!) in San Diego knows that pelagic means of the open ocean. And Brian R. in San Diego knows that chlorophyll is the green matter found in certain cells of plants, algae and some bacteria and it’s important because it changes light energy into chemical energy.

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 11, March 11, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Monday, March 11, 2002
Lat: 
Long: 110°W
Seas: 2-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: cloudy, rain possible
Sea Surface Temp: 77-82°F
Winds: N/NE 5 knots
Air Temp: 88-77°F

What an interesting day, all the way around. Weather-wise, we awoke to clear skies, with clouds on the horizon and we could tell it was going to be hot. By 9am, I could feel the backs of my legs burning with my back to the sun. I went in for lunch and came out and it was totally clouded over and a few minutes later, it was raining! Not drizzling – raining. Welcome to the equatorial Pacific!!

Yes, we made it to the Equator! My days as a Pollywog are numbered. Shellback is coming soon. Today, there were several important events going on onboard. Most importantly to me was our first live webcast. This was an exclusive to my school only and fortunately, was a technical success! It was actually a pretty perfect broadcast, a great way to start. All of the schools that have contacted either the NOAA offices or myself have received word about future live webfeeds. Once again, if there are any teachers out there who would like a live feed right into your classroom or any computer at the school that has an internet connection and RealPlayer (a free download), just let me know asap and we’ll get you the info you need.

The other important events on board today were another buoy recovery (more barnacles!!), a ADCP recovery/deployment and a deep CTD cast (to 3600 meters). The buoy was recovered, but it was 30 miles from where it should have been due to the strong currents at the equator. We will deploy the new one tomorrow morning. It will be a very special buoy – the first one ever dedicated to a school. It will have a sticker on it signed by the Commander, the Chief Scientist and me, dedicated to Emory Elementary! Neat, huh?!

The ADCP is an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler that’s been in the water for the last year. This is a big, round orange device (a little bit bigger that a weather balloon) with instrumentation on it that records the currents. There are 4 of them across the equator resting at different depths. It is anchored so that it rests 250 feet below the surface and periodically sends sonar waves up to the surface that bounce off of the surface and the plankton above and somehow that helps to record the currents. The information is stored in the device until it is recovered and then the data is learned. Like the buoys, it has an acoustic release device on it that releases it from the anchor when remotely told to do so and it floats to the surface.

The recovery went perfectly. We had a bit of trouble with the deployment, however. Hey, sometimes, things happen and this was one of them. Just as the crew was carefully loading it into the water, a wire snapped and the ADCP fell into the water untethered. It had to be rounded up just like the old one and brought back up on deck. Presently, it’s still sitting there as the scientists decide whether or not to deploy it tomorrow or to wait. Stay tuned.

Question of the Day: 

Above I mentioned being a Pollywog and being a Shellback. What do I mean?

Answer of the Day: 

Once again, since the logs weren’t posted over the weekend, let me give the GMT/Zulu question one more day. 🙂

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 10, March 10, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Sunday, March 10, 2002
Lat: 1°N
Long: 110°W
Seas: 2-4 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly to mostly cloudy
Sea Surf Temp: 79-82°F
Air Temp: 89-78°F

Today started out not looking so good – and I should know since I saw the sun rise behind the clouds. I have been up since 4am since I did the 4:30am CTD. The weather improved throughout the day, the seas have flattened out – you can tell we’re near the equator. By evening, it was just gorgeous – balmy, calm and a nice sunset behind the clouds. Ahhhhh.

Ok, I’ve strung you along long enough. Let’s talk barnacles. Actually, let’s talk about the hardest working woman on this ship: Raye Foster. She really is working in two capacities. She collects the barnacles off of the buoys. Those get sent to Dr. Cynthia Venn at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. And she collects water samples from different depths for Dr. Victor Kuwahara of MBARI. Why does she do these two things?

Dr. Venn has been doing barnacle research in the Pacific Ocean for almost ten years now. Since the NOAA buoys are moored from 8°N to 8°S all across the Pacific, she has had the unique opportunity to have a systematic set of hard objects from which to collect the barnacles in the open ocean. She has been studying this distribution of pelagic barnacle species across the tropical Pacific and the effects of El Niño and La Niña conditions on them.

Raye scrapes the barnacles off every part of the buoy and puts them in buckets according to which part of the buoy they were on. Then she counts them and puts them in bottles and covers them in Formalin, a preservative. Then, she bags them up with notations on the baggies as to which buoy they came from and the date, and the barnacles will be eventually shipped to Pennsylvania for more research by Dr. Venn.

Raye also takes water samples from every CTD cast for Dr. Kuwahara. She does several different experiments, but the most interesting to me is the chlorophyll extractions. Dr. Kuwahara is doing research on the amount of chlorophyll in the ocean at different depths over a period of time. And once again, the systematic testing done by NOAA for their El Niño research works perfectly for this purpose also.

Raye is therefore needed at every buoy recovery for work that takes hours to scrape the barnacles off of the buoy. Then days to do the prep work to send them to Dr. Venn. She is also needed at the end of every cast to collect the water samples. Those casts are basically every 6 hours around the clock – every 4 hours here close to the equator!! Needless to say, Raye, you need a raise! Seriously, everyone on board is aware of her diligent competence. You go, girl. 🙂

Questions of the Day: 

I decided that there can’t be just one because I wrote about so many possible questions. Please answer any of these you can:

What does MBARI stand for?
What does pelagic mean?
What is chlorophyll and why is it important?

Answer of the Day: 

Since I haven’t received all of my mail from over the weekend (it’s sent to me from NOAA in Maryland), let’s save it for Monday’s log, ok?

Til tomorrow (a very busy day),
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 9, March 9, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Saturday, March 9, 2002

Lat: 5°N
Long: 110°W
Seas: E/NE 2-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly, occasionally mostly cloudy
Sea Surface Temperature: 78-82°F
Air Temp: 87-76°F

Today, we did our first recovery/deployment of a buoy. What a fascinating 6 hour process. I was very impressed by the way the entire crew worked together as a team to make this complicated, and potentially dangerous, process happen.

At first light, two scientists (Brian and Nuria) motored out to the buoy (which was about 10 miles from where it should have been) from the Ka’imimoana in a small craft. They tied the buoy to a rope which was winched up back on deck. The buoy was then pulled to the ship and carefully hoisted aboard (in 6-8 ft swells with about 15 knot winds). It was placed over a hole in the deck so that Raye could scrape the barnacles off from below. (more barnacle talk tomorrow) It was missing its anemometer – lost at sea! Then the scientists started to winch in the wire which holds, at regular intervals, the thermometer pods, or Thermisters, which have been on this buoy for the past year collecting temperature data. After those are cut off, all of the 500 m (one spool) of wire is spooled. (We found a mass of fishing line that was snagged on the wire. This probably helps to account for why the buoy was 10 miles off. The fishing boat that was attached to the line probably pulled it.) Then comes 5-6 spools of white nylon rope to pull up. Then, there’s another 50 m of nylon rope, at the end of which is an acoustic coupler – a device that automatically releases the anchor line from the anchor by remote. Done with recovery!

To deploy the new buoy, it’s not exactly a reverse process because the buoy goes in first, followed by the line and then anchor last. The buoy (with anemometer!) gets hoisted over the side by crane and released with the wire on board attached to it. The wire starts getting released and the Thermisters are attached to the line at their intervals, then the rest of the wire is released and then the many spools of nylon rope. Then the acoustic coupler is attached and finally the anchors are carefully placed into the water. The ship then motors back to the buoy, which has floated over a mile away, to make sure it has ended up in the correct location and is floating properly upright. The scientists have purposefully deployed the anchor at a certain location knowing that the anchor will pull the buoy back some, but not all of the way. The barnacle talk will wait for tomorrow since the buoy explanation took so long! Stay tuned!!

Question of the Day: 

At the end of the url for this website and on every buoy we recover and deploy, it says “TAO.” What does TAO stand for?

Answer of the Day: 

Mr. Whitham’s class in San Diego was the first to respond with the correct answer. To change Celsius into Fahrenheit, one must take the Celsius number, multiply it by 9/5 and then add 32. C x 9/5 + 32 = F So, 27.6C is about 81F. (A hint that an Australian friend of mine told me is, if the Celsius number is in the 20’s or higher, just multiply the Celsius number by 3 and you’re close enough. In this case, pretty darn close!!).

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 8, March 8, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Friday, March 8, 2002

Lat: 6.5°N
Long: 110°W
Seas: E/NE 2-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly, occasionally mostly, cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 78-82°F
Winds: E/NE 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 83-74°F

Do you remember when I said yesterday that today was all about barnacles? Well, as my beloved husband (I miss you honey!) likes to say during a disagreement, “I wasn’t exactly correct.” Actually, tomorrow is barnacle day as we’ll be reaching the vicinity of our first buoy later this morning. The ship will do a deep CTD cast and then we’ll move into position at first light to start the buoy operations. That should be exciting.

So, today is all about weather balloons! Sergio Pezoa, an employee of Environmental Technology Laboratory working with NOAA, showed me the ins and outs of weather balloons. As of a few days ago, Sergio has been deploying the balloons every 6 hours starting at 0Z (zero Zulu or GMT time), five times a day. The purpose of the weather balloons is to collect data (air pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed and direction) in this El Niño zone, as one more measure that, all together, scientists look at to try to predict the El Niño condition. The weather balloons have two parts: the actual balloon that is filled with helium (it is much bigger than I expected it would be – almost the diameter of a child’s swimming pool) and the radiosonde. The radiosonde is the transmitter portion that is the communication device that transmits the data from satellites to the ship’s computer. It is battery powered with a charge that lasts about 3 hours. The balloon will burst before that and fall to the sea, already having sent its important information to earth. And, believe it or not, the entire thing, from balloon to string to transmitter to battery is ALL biodegradable. Amazing. I really enjoyed deploying it, too. When I let go, the balloon and radiosonde burst out of my hands, when I expected them just to fly away. It was lovely watching them sail, literally, into the sunset.

Question of the Day: 

You knew this was coming, huh? Above, I mentioned Zulu time or GMT. What is GMT and if it’s 9:00pm here in Mountain Time, what time is that Zulu or GMT?

Answer of the Day: 

Congrats to the folks who realized I spelled thermocline incorrectly (once again, I wasn’t exactly right!). Alyzza V. of San Diego was the first to tell me that thermocline is the layer in the ocean that separates the warm upper layers that are oxygen-rich from the cold lower layers of the ocean that are oxygen-poor. Important to this ship’s research since warm waters are what El Niño is all about!

Til tomorrow
🙂 Dana


Dana Tomlinson: Day 7, March 7, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Thursday, March 7, 2002

Lat: 8°N
Long: 110°W
Seas: waves 4-6 ft., swells 8-10 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: cloudy, partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 27.6°C
Winds: 15 knots
Air Temp: 27.2°C

I was asked by a student in Mr. Whitham’s class in San Diego what it feels like to be on a ship. Today, it feels like a roller coaster!! The seas are really rolling, but at the risk of jinxing myself, I might be past my queasy moments. Which is good, because at times today we’ve had 10 foot swells and winds of up to 24 knots. It’s been a wild one.

Today, I did my first CTD with Amy looking over my shoulder. Like I said yesterday, this is very important work which cumulatively helps to predict the El Niño condition (which can cause millions of dollars in damage and take thousands of lives with the bad weather and droughts it brings), so I take it very seriously. There are many steps to remember in the collection of the water samples as well as the data. I will be working with Amy again before I do this on my own, so I feel confident that I can perform it all correctly. See the photo album for shots of the CTD casting being done by Amy and I.

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Larry Wooten. He is the technical specialist on board – he’s the fix-it man. And on this trip, I’ve been calling him the “most overworked techie in history.” Keep in mind that we are hundreds of miles from the nearest shop like Home Depot or Fry’s so we’ve got to have someone to depend on to fix things, and Larry has stepped up to the plate, big-time. Today, he was trouble-shooting our live video broadcasts, he completely removed and re-installed a new triggering mechanism on the CTD (it wasn’t firing the bottles closed properly), and he had to install new software onto a computer so that I could send my photos to you. And that’s just three things I know about! Great job, Larry – the Ka’imimoana is lucky to have you.

Questions of the Day: 

You’ll notice that I listed the SST and Air Temp above in Centigrade today. How does one change a Centigrade reading into a Fahrenheit reading? What would the readings for SST and Air Temp be in degrees Fahrenheit?

Answer of the Day: 

The other day I asked what SST stood for and many of you said Sea Surface Temperature, but Angelique D. of San Diego was first! Great job. And did you know that just by going down a few feet, the water temp gets colder? The ship has sensors that tell us SST and water temp at 3 meters. And of course, the CTD can tell the temp at depths in the thousands of meters. And the buoys along the 110°W line that we’ll be visiting have temperature sensors down the cables that anchor them to the bottom. But that’s a story for another day. 🙂

Tomorrow, we pull up our first buoy – it’ll be all about barnacles for me.

Til then! 🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 6, March 6, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Latitude: 11°N
Longitude: 110°W
Seas: 2-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: cloudy

Today was not as nice as it has been this week, but it still beats winter in Chicago (which I did for several years). And people from Chicago, please don’t write me that I hate Chicago – it’s one of my most favorite places. I have very fond memories of living there. Anyway, the seas have kicked up a bit, the ship is a’rocking and a’rolling and the weather is cloudy and humid. But life goes on here on the working laboratory that is the Ka’mimoana.

The significant event of the day was our first real CTD cast. I’ve written about these for the last few days, but today I want to really explain it because its scientific work is significant to the entire planet. Once again, CTD stands for Conductivity Temperature Depth. These are all things that are tested by this machine, and more. The machine itself is a steel frame that has 14 cylinders that hold from 4 to 5 liters of sea water that is captured at different depths in the ocean. There are numerous steps in the process of collecting the water – it’s not nearly as simple as it sounds.

First, the computers need to be set up. Then the machine itself has to have the bottles set properly to “fire” later. Then the winch operator and the CTD survey tech work together to lower the machine into the ocean down to 1000 meters. Once there, the survey tech “fires” off the first bottle by a computer key stroke – this snaps closed the top and bottom of the cylinder, thereby capturing the water at that depth. The winch hauls the machine up to 800 meters and it happens again. It happens again at 600m, 400m, 200m, 150m, 100m, 60m, 40m, 25m, 10m and surface. Then, the machine is hauled out by the winch operator (assisted by the survey tech in a life vest who is harnessed to the ship so she doesn’t fall overboard) and put back on deck. Before the machine is cast, when it is at depth and when it is at the surface, numerous statistics are notated such as SST (sea surface temperature) and SSS (sea surface salinity).

At this point, the survey tech shuts down the machines and the computers are done. Then the survey tech goes outside, fills up glass bottles with samples of the sea water from every depth that will be tested in a salinometer later. The machine is hosed down, tied down, and left for the next cast 6 hours later. The information collected from this machine taken over time (and NOAA has been doing these for years now) helps scientists to predict the El Niño and La Niña conditions which can wreak havoc world-wide.

Question of the Day: 

What is a thermoclime? (thanks to Ben Moore, NOAA scientist)

Answer of the Day: 

I guess I’m going to have to make these harder because all sorts of people got this one! Believe it or not, Vanessa P. of San Diego was the first one again to answer it! An anemometer is a device that measures wind speed and direction. Several of them are on board for deployment on the voyage.

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 5, March 5, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Latitude: 15 N
Longitude: 111 W
Seas: N/NW 2-5 ft.
Visibility: Unrestricted
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 72-76F
Winds: NE 5-10
Air Temp: 78-65F

Hello again from the sunny Pacific! Today was another wonderful day in paradise. We were actually visited by some boobies doing some aerial maneuvers around the ship. We also saw numerous flying fish who I don’t think were visiting, but trying to get out of our way! It was my first sighting of flying fish. I always figured that they’d soar out of the water and fall back in, but, as often happens, boy was I wrong. These fish (very slender and smaller than I thought -looked like maybe 8-10 inches long) burst out of the water and then literally fly. They use their pectoral fins as wings and some easily flew for 50 yards. Amazing.

Since we are still in transit to the first buoy (arriving Wed 3/7), I spent today on camera in tests to get our technology all set for the live web feeds we will be doing for schools around the country (and in a few other countries, too). If you are a teacher who would like to set up a live webfeed for your classroom, please email me, and I’ll connect you with the people who will make it happen.

The scientists continue to prep for work they’ll be undertaking any day now. Since I don’t have anything very scientific to discuss today, I think I’ll take this opportunity to give you information on something I’ve been getting LOTS of questions about … the food!

JoseFelipe from San Diego was one of the first to ask! The mess (it’s actually very neat, but that’s what they call the cafeteria) is open to feed us three times a day: from 0700-0800, 1100-1200 and from 1630-1730. They are strict about the times. Clementine and Sandra are the cooks and they do a terrific job feeding the 30 of us on board a great deal of variety. For breakfast every day, they’ve had a choice of hot or cold cereals, waffles, pancakes, and some sort of egg dish. For lunch, there is always a salad bar, and usually sandwiches and a soup, and then a couple of main dishes. For dinner, you usually have at least 3 dishes to choose from. Dessert at lunch is usually ice cream or fruit, and for dinner it’s usually something VERY fattening. Tonight, it was the richest chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten. During any other hours of the day, the mess is open for the snacks they have available: bread, peanut butter, all of the drinks, salad, crackers, etc. So far, my favorites have been the Chinese soup, the chicken curry and the Caesar salad (at three different meals and all made from scratch). We are a lucky crew. Thanks, ladies!!

Question of the Day: 

When looking at a forecast, what does SST stand for?

Hint: you can find it in my daily log.

Answer of the Day:

Vanessa P. from San Diego was the first to ask me what the #2 and #3 most frequently asked questions of me were before I left on my voyage. Here are those questions and answers:

#2 Are there any other women on board with you?
Answer: Yes, there are a total of 8 women on board and 22 men.

#3 How did you get chosen for this?
Answer: I’m not really sure. My best guess is that the folks who decide these things at NOAA liked the fact that I wrote well when I filled out my application, they liked that I have done a lot of things in outdoor education, and perhaps they liked the fact that I used to be a flight attendant so they knew that I can travel and take care of myself. I really don’t know, but I’m sure glad they did!

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 4, March 4, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Monday, March 4, 2002

Latitude: 20 N
Longitude: 112 W
Seas: 4-7 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 60-68 F
Winds: NE 13-18
Air Temp: 78/65 F

Happy Monday, all! And a very happy one it is out here. Last night, at sundown, we actually saw the elusive “green flash” at sunset. Personally, I think it’s a bit overrated! It was my first time seeing it and I expected a mini-St. Patrick’s Day explosion and got a little bitty green line on the horizon. Poof.

Anyway, today was another beautiful day in paradise. Since we are now south of the tip of Baja California, the weather is much balmier. I am thankful for the breeze the ship creates! We have 2 more days of transit before we encounter our first buoy and the scientists and crew are spending our days preparing for that.

Today, I received training in how to do a CTD line cast. CTD stands for Conductivity Temperature Depth. And those three things are what this machine measures – at depths of up to 1000 meters! These measurements are taken every 6 hours round the clock from the time we reach 12 degrees north latitude, which will be on Wednesday. There is a survey technician on board who does this, but to give her a break, some of us have volunteered to learn how to do it to relieve her once in a while. It involves computer operation as well as manually setting the instrumentation on the device (which is taller than my 5’8″ and much heavier). After setting the tubes to catch the water, it is deployed over the side by a winch and lowered to the desired depth. Then one of the 15 or so tubes on the device are tripped closed at the depths you desire on the way up. Once at the surface again, the water is removed from the machine into bottles and it’s on to the laboratory (on board) for testing. Fascinating. I can’t wait to be involved (see pictures in photo album 3).

Question of the Day: I’m going to make this a regular daily feature. The first person to get back to me will be mentioned in a future log. Today’s question: What is an anemometer? (There are several on board that will be deployed on the voyage.)

Answer of the Day: On Day 2, I asked what my #2 and #3 questions that people had asked me before I left San Diego were. Can’t tell you yet, because no one’s asked (or guessed)! Come on – any takers out there?

Til tomorrow, aloha! 🙂
Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 3, March 3, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Sunday, March 3, 2002

Latitude: 25.5 N
Longitude: 114.8 W
Temperature: 70 F

Science Log

Research has not yet started.

Travel Log

When we went to bed last night, the moon was a harvest color just hanging on the horizon and there were 30 knot winds crossing the bow of the ship. The seas had picked up considerably and this morning we had fairly high surf with waves breaking, forming white caps wherever we looked. It wasn’t scary, but it was rough. By the afternoon, however, we had the predicted 2 to 4 foot seas, partly cloudy weather with temperatures in the mid-70’s – just lovely.

The crew continues to prepare for the many experiments and tests they will perform. Today, Ben and Brian used one of the cranes on board to move a Doppler radar device into position for future deployment. My roommate is an employee with MBARI (the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute). She is going to be studying the barnacles that collect on the bottoms of the buoys that are brought on board. She’s been busy preparing her collection bottles, sewing netting to hold the samples and teaching me the difference between the types of barnacles to be found!

I’m looking forward to helping her with some of her work. More tomorrow on the other activities I’ll be involved with. I’d love to hear from you. Please email with questions and I’ll be happy to get back to you and to use the answers to some of them in this daily log.

Til then, here’s to FAIR seas and following winds!
Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 2, March 2, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2002

Latitude: 29.9 N
Longitude: 116.3 W
Temperature: 65 F

Science Log

Research has not yet started.

Travel Log

Today was a day for getting acquainted with the ship and its occupants and its activities and responsibilities. When I awoke, the weather was gorgeous, the sky was clear – and land was nowhere to be seen! Already it seems as if we are mid-ocean. The seas are very calm. The ocean rolls gently and noone that I know of has had any problems with seasickness (the number one question I got from people before I left: “Do you get seasick?” The answer: “Not yet.” If you’d like to know the #2 and #3 questions asked of me, just keep reading the logs 😉

We are cruising at the top speed of 11-1/2 knots and hope to make up some of the time lost in Seattle and San Diego. There was an orientation held for all of the new scientists aboard (I’m honored to be considered part of that category.). The most fun was the abandon ship drill held after the fire drill. Safety is a primary concern aboard the Ka’imimoana. Most parts of the ship are considered industrial workplaces, so hard hats are worn, closed toe shoes are required, and often life vests are necessary. During an abandon ship drill, we muster at our life boat stations with our vests and “gumby” suits. These suits are aptly named as they make you look like Gumby! They are wetsuits that have gloves and boots sewn into them and I’ve been told that someone could survive floating in the ocean for several days in them. Look for a picture in the photo album of scientist Mike McPhaden in one. I’m glad we had the practice putting them on, because it’s not as easy as it sounds! Let’s just hope we never have to use them.

Keep in Touch,
Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 1, March 1, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Friday, March 1, 2002

Location: San Diego, CA

Travel Log

Ahoy, mateys! After an eventful day of nothing happening, we’re off! But let me explain………………..

The Ka’imimoana was scheduled to leave San Diego on Feb. 26, but it was delayed in Seattle where it was undergoing maintenance, and the departure was pushed back to Feb. 28. Upon a tour of the ship on Feb. 27 with my family, I discovered from Capt. Tim Tisch that some circuit boards needed to be replaced, so our departure would be pushed back to March 1 (hopefully). My husband and I arrived this morning as planned at the 32nd Street Naval Base – but were denied access by the Navy as their permission for us to enter expired Feb. 28!! After getting new permission papers, the Main Gate allowed us access, and we were in business. The new parts arrived, were quickly put in place, the crane came to remove the electrical umbilical cord and gangplank and we were off. So, as “Roseann Roseanna Dana” from Saturday Night Live used to say, “It’s always something!”

We were underway at around 1630, cruising past the gorgeous city of San Diego and its beautiful skyline at sunset. Thus, begins the adventure of a lifetime for me – bittersweet today as I left my terrific husband and two beautiful daughters on Pier 4. I am hopeful that you will all benefit from my experience in some way. Please log on daily to read about the Adventures of the NOAA crew aboard the Ka’imimoana!!

Keep in Touch,
Dana