Jillian Worssam, July 30, 2008

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jillian Worssam
Onboard U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Healy
July 1 – 30, 2008

Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 30, 2008

Today is our last day at sea. We are scheduled to arrive at Dutch Harbor tomorrow morning at 09:00, and I am a bit sad. After 27 days I feel a part of a new family and do not think I can ever thank the scientists or the crew of the HEALY enough for the amazing experience they have provided.

David has many boxes all getting ready for the trip back to Seattle in ...October

David has many boxes all getting ready for the trip back to Seattle in …October

I have learned science about the Eastern Bering Sea Shelf, I have learned dynamics about the U.S. Coast Guard. The science leaves me wanting more, to delve a bit deeper into this amazing ecosystem that I know so little. The Coast Guard makes me want to talk to students, to let them know about the remarkable career options they could have, and the benefits of such an exciting job.

With a scientific tool for filtering water Chief Gray and I had some photographic fun!

With a scientific tool for filtering water Chief Gray and I had some photographic fun!

Everyone works hard to get the research of science accomplished on a cruise like this, but it is important to also have time for play, and to laugh. I have laughed a lot this month, laughed at three in the morning when I grabbed a stinging jelly fish, laughed at eleven at night when I lost in a game of cribbage, I especially laughed when we played a five person round of running ping pong, that also involved spinning. I almost threw up with that one, but the laughter was the most prevalent action.

Rich is working hard handling the crane to move the now empty MOCNESS, but he too has a great sense of humor!

Rich is working hard handling the crane to move the now empty MOCNESS, but he too has a great sense of humor!

As the crane swings the MOCNESS to its resting point for the enxt three months we watch and say farewell!

As the crane swings the MOCNESS to its resting point for the enxt three months we watch and say farewell!

The nets have been removed and now the MOCNESS is ready for a rest, I am too.

The nets have been removed and now the MOCNESS is ready for a rest, I am too.

Day is done, and as the sun sets I have fond memories of the past, and great expectations for the future!

Day is done, and as the sun sets I have fond memories of the past, and great expectations for the future!

**Quote of the Day: **

Never look back, use the knowledge you have gained to move forward. Never question decisions you have made, learn from them even if the lessons were hard.

And never forget, for it is the life that we live that gives meaning to our lives! ~Jillian Worssam

Jillian Worssam, July 29, 2008

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jillian Worssam
Onboard U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Healy
July 1 – 30, 2008

Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 29, 2008

was told yesterday that if you want too much, or have expectations too high you will be disappointed.  Well I disagree.  I believe in going full tilt into everything I do, and well, I want to do pretty much everything.

We have two more full days at sea and still I am learning.  Yesterday was busy for me, a 22 hour busy day.  The funny thing is, I slept in until 8:30 am, but didn’t go to bed until 6:30 this morning.

MK2 Jeffrey Coombe covered in grease after he emerges from the depths of the engine.

MK2 Jeffrey Coombe covered in grease after he emerges from the depths of the engine.

It all started with the Webinar and ended with three successive MOCNESS as Alexei tried unsuccessfully to catch pregnant Krill.  But I digress.  Yes the science is winding down, but there is still so much to do.  After the webinar I went to the engine room to watch the successful removal of a piston cylinder liner in one of the four main engines.  Salt water is used to cool fresh water to cool, I think, jacket water that cools the engine.  This is not a typical repair while at sea, but the engineering team in charge knew exactly what they were doing and proceeded with care and skill.

That is actually MKC John Brogan in the Engine.

That is actually MKC John Brogan in the Engine.

After the engine room, and dinner I joined FN Angela Ford as she did her TOW rounds.  The TOW (technician of the Watch) is responsible for walking the ship from stern to bow, covering all engineering spaces.  The TOWs are looking for water leaks, electrical concerns, fire, pretty much everything and anything out of place or potentially hazardous.  Even though I had already taken a tour of the vessel this trip was predominantly focused on safety and I was able to see new spaces I had not previously ventured into.

There is a right and wrong way to open, enter and leave all hatches aboard an ocean going vessel.

There is a right and wrong way to open, enter and leave all hatches aboard an ocean going vessel.

We even managed to find a crew member I had not previously met, Oscar.  This poor headless fellow is used in man overboard drills as well as other casualty drills during the voyage.  Oscar is also no light weight, weighing in at over 50 lbs he is a great way to practice and for crew members to realize what it would be like to actually work on an injured individual.

Oscar is also the designation of the flag flown when there is a man overboard.

Oscar is also the designation of the flag flown when there is a man overboard.

But the day is not over yet, we still had THREE MOCNESS drills to complete.  Alexei wants to find pregnant krill so that he can develop a baseline for aging.  Unfortunately after over four and a half hours of work all we had to show for our labors were some shrimp and krill that were not pregnant, bummer.

This could be a scientist, or a crew member, all we know is that the past 29 days have worked them to exhaustion!

This could be a scientist, or a crew member, all we know is that the past 29 days have worked them to exhaustion!

Quote of the Day: The “Control of nature” is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man.      Rachel Carson

FOR MY STUDENTS: Please find three authors who predominantly write about knowledge and preservation of the earth’s ecosystems and the species within.

Jillian Worssam, July 28, 2008

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jillian Worssam
Onboard U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Healy
July 1 – 30, 2008

Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 28, 2008

Today will be the last installment of my meet the crew Monday.  There are so many people that I would love to interview and share in this forum, but there is just not enough time in the day.

To start today we have MK1 Allan Whiting, and an amazing list of responsibilities he and his department have on board.  MK stands for machinery technician, and is within the engineering division. Allan’s “A gang” is responsible for EVERYTHING that doesn’t move the ship, thus auxiliary equipment, refrigeration, cranes, hydraulics, water (can make up to 8000 gallons of drinking water a day), winches, therefor a lot of responsibility.

Working on refrigeration is only one part of his job!

Working on refrigeration is only one part of his job!

I think I have previously talked about the scientists as being a web of different fields that drive a bigger picture of how this entire Bering Sea Shelf Ecosystem is changing and adapting with global climate differences.  Well the vessel is not too dissimilar.  Each person, each division is a vital link to the effective and smooth running of the ship, and if the vessel didn’t work, neither would the scientists.

Another responsibility for the “A gang” is the transfer of the starting 1.3 million gallons of fuel from storage tanks while we are underway.  These “A Gang” members are the “FOWK’s” of the vessel; Fuel, Oil, Water, Kings,” and out technical gurus should any fuel casualty occur.  So as you can tell a lot of responsibility with this department.

Where Allan is a lead with the “A Gang,” EM1 Hans Shaffer works with all things wires.  Yes, he is one of our electrical specialists and if it generates, or uses power Hans is part of the team that is responsible for making sure it works.  From all monitoring systems, to the propulsion and even lighting systems, without the electricians the ship wouldn’t move.

While working on the cyclo-converter I stood way back!

While working on the cyclo-converter I stood way back!

Hans also works with the cyclo-converters, and I must be honest, I know that they take 1444 volts at 60 hrtz and convert it to usable power, but that is about all.  This technology is one that I have never studied.  It is a shocking shame I am not more wired in on the intricacies of electricity.  All I know is this electricity is directly proportional to the speed of the propellers and for a vessel, propeller speed is very important.

I usually do only two people on my meet the Crew Mondays, but today I would like to add two more individuals into the mix.  There is camaraderie on this vessel that is amazing, it really is a family.  And a family that exponentially doubles every thirty days or so with the advent of the scientists, yet still all are welcome.  Smiles abound and I have not once felt unwelcome.

FN Angela Ford learning how to operate the winches with excellent guidance from MST1 Chuck Bartlett.

FN Angela Ford learning how to operate the winches with excellent guidance from MST1 Chuck Bartlett.

FN Angela Ford is one of those people who always has a smile, and who appears to always be learning new skills.  Angela started out in the deck department, and then transferred to engineering (which I have heard is a bit difficult to do).  Angela is also studying to get rated as an YN3, Yeoman third class.  If you see Angela she is either studying, doing rounds with engineering or learning new components of the vessel.  Yesterday while in Aft-Con Angela was supported by the MST crew and took a hand at running the winch to deploy and retrieve the CTD, it was great to watch.  Under the guidance of MST1 Chuck Bartlett, Angela jumped right in, ready to learn something new.  As an educator I was not only impressed with her desire to learn, but Chuck’s patience in teaching.  The whole experience was an educational gift!

XO Commander Bateman teaching me how to make a delicious pie.

XO Commander Bateman teaching me how to make a delicious pie.

Unfortunately I could not stay too long, because I had my own educational experience waiting for me.  The XO, Commander Dale Bateman was preparing to give me a lesson in making a Chocolate French Silk Pie.  Ok, get that smile off your face, because, well, let me tell you, it was one of the tastiest lessons I have had in a while.

For those interested here is the recipe:

(multiply all ingredients times 3 for a standard pie crust)

½ cup butter

½ cup sugar

1 oz chocolate

1 egg

A smidgen of brown sugar

A splash of vanilla

To make this recipe, you first construct a pie crust, then in a mixer blend the butter and sugar.  According to the XO, you can never blend too much.  Add the chocolate and blend, add the eggs and blend some more.  To be precise once all the ingredients are in the bowl blend for at least 15 more minutes, you want this no bake wonder to be frothy and smooth.  Place in a refrigerator over night, and in two hours I will be able to get a piece of our masterpiece, and let you know how the finished product tastes.

Meet 1C Jennifer Peterson a senior at the Coast Guard Academy and MK3 Betty Brown, always smiling these two are.

Meet 1C Jennifer Peterson a senior at the Coast Guard Academy and MK3 Betty Brown, always smiling these two are.

I would like to add a special thanks to all those who participated in the webinar today.  It was wonderful to hear your voices, and even better to share with you this amazing adventure of discovery I have been fortunate enough to experience, thank you!

Quote of the Day:  Since water still flows, though we cut it with swords.  And sorrow returns, though we drown it with wine, since the world in no way answers to our craving, I will loosen my hair tomorrow and take to a fishing boat. – Li Po

FOR MY STUDENTS:  Are you prepared for school in two weeks?

Jillian Worssam, July 27, 2008

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jillian Worssam
Onboard U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Healy
July 1 – 30, 2008

Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 27, 2008

Today is Sunday, and there is change in the air. For one, we have left the sun and re-entered fog. We have also started the 70 meter line back to Dutch Harbor. A large portion of the scientists have completed their work, and each station is now predominantly the CTD, calvet, and optics. With three days left, the tenor of the vessel is mellow, the frenzy of departure just a warm memory. Three full days and then on the morning of the 31st we arrive in Dutch Harbor. I am not ready to leave; there is still much to learn, and this goodbye will be bittersweet. Needless to say I need to get busy; there are words to be written.

U.S. Coast Guard Healy

U.S. Coast Guard Healy

I recently received a blog asking questions about the vessel and yes, I have been lax about sharing information about the HEALY and what it is like to live on a four hundred and twenty foot cruising scientific ice breaking mobile command center that floats!

Here are the facts: –Four decks are dedicated to berthing –The Main deck is predominantly the Galley forward, the Engine space a mid ship and the science labs aft. –There are three more decks below the main deck and the bridge above the 04 deck. It is approximately 70 feet from the bridge to the water line. –There is a helicopter hanger and flight deck.

The flight deck without a helicopter is perfect for social functions.

The flight deck without a helicopter is perfect for social functions.

Each deck has shared open space all with TV, computers and other lounge type equipment

With the permission of the room mates here is a corner of a crew room, quite large.

With the permission of the room mates here is a corner of a crew room, quite large.

There is a weight room far forward and a cardio room off the flight deck aft.

With a tv and all this equipment, anyone would be happy here!

With a tv and all this equipment, anyone would be happy here!

And the best of all, there are mapped out distances on the weather deck for those who wish to jog (stairs are part of the experience) –Don’t forget the ships store, they even have latte!

Hi Andy, any new merchandise today? hehehe

Hi Andy, any new merchandise today? hehehe

There it is the bare bones of the HEALY, plenty of places to go, lots of things to do. Bingo on the mess deck every Saturday, ping pong in the hanger. Not a moment passes when I am not trying something new.

Everything on a sea going vessel is always strapped down.

Everything on a sea going vessel is always strapped down.

Even as the science of our cruise slows down my days are full. There is much still to learn and experience. This afternoon I was able to assist the XO in making a chocolate silk pie…tomorrow we eat!

I am in heaven licking the beaters, and chocolate, perfect!

I am in heaven licking the beaters, and chocolate, perfect!

 

Nautical Expression: “Square Meal” originally when ships were close enough of shore to get fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy fare. The meals were served hot on square plates., thus a healthy most nutritious meal was a square meal.

FOR MY STUDENTS: Think up an entire square meal based only on items you can eat from the sea?

Jillian Worssam, July 26, 2008

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jillian Worssam
Onboard U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Healy
July 1 – 30, 2008

Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 26, 2008

Saturday’s on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY are morale dinner nights. This is when different divisions within the crew prepare, cook and then clean up the evening meal. Well today was the scientists turn, and under the direction of Scott Hiller game on!Right after lunch was served and cleaned, it was our turn to invade the galley. Let’s see, hamburgers, dogs, salmon patties…to start. Potato salad, pasta salad, green salad, and baked beans, were just a few of the accessories. For dessert apple crisp (my contribution) with vanilla ice cream.

It was a lot of fun working with happy people in making other people happy!

It was a lot of fun working with happy people in making other people happy!

When I say we invaded the galley, we really did. Kristen Blattner and I took charge of the crisp, we recruited Chris Moser and the pealing began. There are two types of crisp, the home version when the cook is too lazy to peel apples, and then the social version, naked apples. Once we had our large supply of pealed, cut apples I started the crisp, and having never made such a large quantity before was blown away by the volume of ingredients used.

Grilling the burgers

Grilling the burgers

Once all the fixings were completed it was up to the flight deck. Now was the time for Pat and John to work on grilling the burgers. I managed to get a quick “calvet” in and then helped with the set up.

The clock struck five, crew and scientists arrived, dinner was served. It was a beautiful sunny day, calm seas, perfect picnic weather. No fog in sight.

With all sorts of tasty morsels, no one should have left hungry.

With all sorts of tasty morsels, no one should have left hungry.

As far as morale evenings went, I think this one was pretty good. After dinner bingo was on, and then at eight o’clock a movie in the hanger. We might be on a four hundred twenty foot ice breaker, but that does not limit anyone in the pursuit of “good morale!”
With plates laden, the crew and scientists alike sit down for a glorious evening on board the HEALY.

With plates laden, the crew and scientists alike sit down for a glorious evening on board the HEALY.

Quote of the Day: It’s so bright out my face hurts. Rachel Pleuthner

FOR MY STUDENTS: Imagine it is the start of the day and you have worked all night, what would be your quote for the day?

Lots of hands made the clean up quick and easy.

Lots of hands made the clean up quick and easy.

Jillian Worssam, July 25, 2008

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jillian Worssam
Onboard U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Healy
July 1 – 30, 2008

Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 25, 2008

As you might be able to tell, I am about a day behind in my journaling so I thought this would be a perfect time to really explain my “typical” day. One of the hardest parts of explaining a classic day is knowing when to start, because I go to bed when most people are getting up, soooo I will start at six o’clock in the morning and give you a glimpse into a typical twenty four hours.

I have always hated making the bed, now I can just close the curtains.

I have always hated making the bed, now I can just close the curtains.

06:00 Between six and seven in the morning we will have completed our scientific sampling station so I go to bed. There is no fanfare, I collapse!

11:00 The alarm usually rings by eleven, I head down for my breakfast/lunch (today I had chicken nuggets and fries, I know I have a lot of running to catch up on)

Washing down the nets with salt water for any additional copepods.

Washing down the nets with salt water for any additional copepods.

12:00 Alexei finally trusts me so I take the day shift of deploying, retrieving and collecting the samples from the calvet. Yesterday I did approximately five stations, each 1.5 hours apart. Today I had the calvet stations and managed to squeeze in observing a casualty drill in the “bow thruster void.” This was a training drill, flooding in the compartment with an injury. After watching the drill I returned to the back deck for another calvet.

Notice the size of the hatch, not an easy rescue for an injured person.

Notice the size of the hatch, not an easy rescue for an injured person.

17:00 Dinner, even if I am not hungry no way will I miss this social experience. After dinner Alexei returns and I get work on my journals, talking with scientists interviewing the crew, learning more about how this amazing vessel works. (might squeeze a trip to aloft con to visit with Gary)

20:00 A trip to the mess deck reveals a heated game of trivial pursuit, though my journal is incomplete I sit in for an hour.

22:00 My head is falling over, I need a nap, off to my room for a two hour refresher.

23:00 If interested, Mid-Rats are being offered, our fourth meal of the day.

00:00 Is that my alarm, yes, time to check when the MOCNESS will deploy, night time fishing. As most of Alexei’s team left a week ago I am actually needed, it feels great. While waiting to deploy I again try to work on my journal, and squeeze in a game of cribbage.

After the sampling tow and the work of processing samples begins.

After the sampling tow and the work of processing samples begins.

03:30 We get the deploy signal, and start to fish with the MOCNESS. Remember we are fishing for micro-zooplankton, so no big fish at all. Some evenings the tow is late and we do not begin the station until after four.

06:00 If I am lucky back to bed. There is something to be said for not missing anything and it has been very important to me that I see everything. This is a once in a life time experience, to miss even a single moment would be a moment lost. Oh and I pretty much always skip breakfast at seven, I am unconscious by then. And showering, I will hold off on that story.

Just another wonderful sight from the HEALY.

Just another wonderful sight from the HEALY.

Quote of the Day: Ocean: A body of water occupying two-thirds of a world made for man ~ who has no gills. Ambrose Bierce

FOR MY STUDENTS: It is summer, what has been your busiest day, why?

Jillian Worssam, July 24, 2008

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jillian Worssam
Onboard U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Healy
July 1 – 30, 2008

While looking at the collected sediment trap, it is obvious that many unsuspecting pieces of debris were caught within its clutches.

While looking at the collected sediment trap, it is obvious that many unsuspecting pieces of debris were caught within its clutches.

Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 24, 2008

One of the pleasures while at sea is the concept of time; which is in a word, timeless. Last night the sun set around three in the morning, and if you had asked me what day it was when I went to bed, I could not have answered. I know the date because I made files prior to this cruise so that I could keep track, in some infinitesimal way, of my journals. Right now I know for sure that I am a day behind in writing, that the cruise will be over in less than a week, I still have a lot more science to learn and this afternoon I am making Apple Crisp for the Morale dinner. These things I know, what I am still learning is the science of a sediment trap.Pat Kelly is from the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, and he is here, in part, to collect sediment samples that float in the ocean.

There are many components to the research Pat is working on; one is in collecting particles sinking vertically in the ocean. By using an established brine (denser NaCl) solution in an array of floating tubes Pat is able to catch these falling sediments. The process is to deploy his trap, a series of tubes for the falling sediments held aloft by floats that drift in the ocean, for no more than 24 hours.

After the brine from the sediment trap is filtered and dried the collected sediments will be analyzed.

After the brine from the sediment trap is filtered and dried the collected sediments will be analyzed.

When collected, Pat will remove the sediments from the brine, looking at the thorium and organic carbon, there is a relationship between these two elements and Pat wants to focus particularly on the carbon. Now this is where it gets sticky for me as I am not a chemical oceanographer. Pat is looking at the carbon flux. The team wants to look at the carbon transfer as it changes from atmospheric carbon, to organic carbon in the oceans, thus taking it out of the carbon cycle.

The scientists making sure the trap is ready before being deployed off the back deck of the vessel.

The scientists making sure the trap is ready before being deployed off the back deck of the vessel.

One of the underlying questions in this component of the HEALY research is how the oceans will respond to all the increased carbon due to global climate change. Pat’s group is actually looking at carbon cycling in many different oceans, with their hypothesis: The arctic will respond faster to increases in carbon (changes more apparent, faster), due to decreased ice, and the fact that it is dark for ½ the year. Think of it this way, after a long dark winter with good nutrient build up, a higher yield is to be expected with 24 hours of sunlight. The sinking particles Pat studies are also very important to the benthos species providing nutrients and food as they sink.

The scientists are carefully retrieving the tubes of brine that for the past 24 hours have collected ocean sediments.

The scientists are carefully retrieving the tubes of brine that for the past 24 hours have collected ocean sediments.

Like many of the scientists on board, Pat is doing multiple investigations. The ocean as I talked about before is layered and Pat’s team is looking at productivity in the mixed layer using 02 isotopes. This data will give the scientists the rate that phytoplankton is growing.

The team also uses radium isotopes to estimate advection of deep water to the surface along the shelf break. The information will tie in with the scientists studying iron. There is belief that the iron is up welled from the sediments in the deep water to the surface layers.

I am still learning about the chemistry of ocean science, and do not fully understand all of Pat’s research. I do though see that everything is intimately linked, that all components of this ecosystem are dependent upon each other and if one component is changed then ALL will change as well.

I hope to never be so jaded as to not appreciate the beauty in nature.

I hope to never be so jaded as to not appreciate the beauty in nature.

Quote of the Day: Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. -William Wordsworth

FOR MY STUDENTS: No question for today, go out and enjoy the sunset!