I was able to spend time on the bridge as we pulled into port. It was great seeing the officers work together to get us to Dutch Harbor safely. Today was my last night in Dutch Harbor.Amber and I spent some time running errands and later cutting out fish out of fire hose and spray painting them for the local middle school’s tour of the ship the next day. There are not a lot of options while in port, so we headed to the Airport.
Oscar Dyson bridge
I was able to see the Coast Guard helicopter practicing maneuvers.We made our way to the Grand Aleutian Hotel, and then to the UniSea for some pool and pizza.Ms. Miller is the middle school science teacher on Dutch, and she took us on a bumpy but beautiful ride to see the wild horses.
We ended up having a bonfire on the beach thanks to Amber’s coordination, not to mention all of the people that it took to get the fire started. It ended up being a fantastic evening at the end of our trip together! I enjoyed my experiences and everything I learned on the ship. I look forward to bringing back what I have learned into my classroom.
Thank you and goodbye Oscar Dyson!
Two of the scientists and myself “picking” through the collection that was taken off the Bongo tow
Here are pictures of two of the different types of species we have seen on this cruise. On the left are two of the scientists and myself “picking” through the collection that was taken off the Bongo tow. This is done on every tow. It usually takes on average about 30 minutes. You use a pair of forceps and gently pick out any fish that are swimming amongst the krill, copepods, and chaetognaths (arrow worms). They are then placed in a glass quadrant petri-dish that is placed in a tupperware container on ice. The fish are then put under the microscope to determine species and how they will be frozen (different researchers want different methods). The species on the top is a Pacific Halibut and the small one on the right is a Walleye Pollock. Notice the measurements that are seen through the microscope. The are being measured in millimeters.
Well, it finally happened! We were at a depth that was deep enough for us to put in the CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth). Each of the different gray cylinders collect water samples at different depths. We were around 1200 meters. A piece of equipment on the CTD can only go to 600 meters so that is what we were shooting for. Notice how bright it is outside–it’s about 11:00PM!! The CTD was lifted with the wench and lowered over the side of the ship. Once at 10 meters it stops to make adjustments. Every science experiment always has flaws along the way–right!?! Yep! We noticed 5 cups are now floating on the surface of the ocean. The look on my face must have been pitiful. Everybody looked at me and asked if they should bring it back up. I said, “Nope, go for it!” What seemed like forever, but was really only 45 minutes later, it was back at the surface. I looked in the bag from across the deck and I really thought there were only 3 in there. We got wire snips and cut off the zip ties that were holding the bag to the rail. Some cups had fit into larger cups. We ended up with 11. I took a picture of the ones that were left. They are upside down because I had to reshape a few of them, and I left them there to dry. They still look pretty big in the picture but the smallest is actually only 1 1/2 inches. They are packed and ready to come home. I have “Order of the Cups” certificates to give to the students whose cups were chosen to be pressurized.
I woke up about 6:40 am and heard a thump on my wall. My room is on the lowest level of the ship. I worked on the computer for a while then headed upstairs for what I thought would be our first station around 8. There was nothing but white ice all around us.
I was so excited you would have thought it was Christmas morning. I spent the next two hours on the bridge watching as we slowly made a pass through the ice to get to our next destination-St. Paul Island. Most of the ice is broken up into large pieces, so when the waves move through you can see them rolling. Staring at ice chunks is like looking up at the clouds. You start seeing all kinds of shapes: swans, hippos, Lockness monster. It’s amazing how calm the waters get when there is ice to slow the wind. We finally made it to our first station around 5:30pm. During the Bongo tow it pulled up a piece of ice from the surface. It was small, but I got to hold sea ice!
After the ship made it’s way through the ice we made it to our destination, which was about 2 miles off the island of St. Paul. We were supposed to arrive around noon, but it wasalready almost 3. We were there because the scientist (Bill) who was in charge of releasing the Mooring buoy had to get to the airport for a flight at 4. Bill was supposed to get off the ship when it came into port on May 3, but due to ice he was unable to release the buoy on the last trip, so he stayed onboard and was able to release it on this trip.
On the rescue boat
While on the bridge the CO (Commanding Officer) asked who wanted to go on the rescue boat to take Bill, and I smiled and raised my hand. He asked if I really wanted to go—of course I said yes! Next think I knew I was putting on my foul weather gear (the orange jacket and pants), gloves and boots. The boat can only hold 4 people so Dennis, Amber, Bill and I got ready to leave. As we were waiting I got to see Grey whales off in the distance. I would guess about 4 of them. They lowered the boat, with Dennis and Amber aboard, into the water with a crane. The boat then came around the starboard side to pick up Bill and me. We had to climb down the Jacob’s ladder (about 9 meters from the ship to the boat) to get onboard.
Being pulled back up onto the Dyson
I was the last one in. We were on our way. Or so we thought. Dennis started yelling to the ship that he lost throttle. Could only go forward-not reverse. We came back to the ship and tied up. The waves were really pushing us into the ship. They told Bill and I to get out. An engineer climbed down, and 5 minutes later the problem was solved. It was just a pin that had come loose inside the gearbox.Time to board again! And we were off to St. Paul. The waves were nice and rolling so we didn’t get a lot of splash. We went past a red metal buoy that was really dented. Look like a boat ran it over, but they said it was from the ice. The dock where we were supposed to drop off Bill had been taken out of the water because of all the ice.
We went to a boat ramp and let him off there. Amber and I took our picture on St. Paul. Back in the boat—time to get back to the ship.The ship looked so little and far away, but we made it back in about 15 minutes. It was much rougher going this direction. This time I got to say on the boat as they attached the crane and brought us up. I was nothing but smiles for the rest of the day. This has to go down as the best day so far. Started off with sea ice, found my chapstick I lost about 4 days ago, went in the rescue boat, saw a Grey whale, filet mignon and au gratin potatoes for dinner, and played Apples to Apples for the first time. Wow! What a day!
Today we launched another type of buoy. It is called a Mooring Buoy. Its height is 5 meters above the surface (pictured on left) and 72 meters below the surface, which ends with a concrete dome that weighs 4110 (pictured on right). You can see the mooring being towed by the ship to get it into the right position. It has a barometer (measures atmospheric pressure), an anemometer (measures wind speed) and a thermometer on the top. There are sensors at different depths that measure salinity, chlorophyll, temperature, pressure, and nitrates.The information is transmitted to satellite Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (NOAA) that monitors the surface and subsurface of the Bering Sea. This piece of equipment costs $250,000. There are two other moorings already in this location. One measures ocean currents the other measures acoustic plankton. On one it has an underwater rain gauge. Can you figure out what that means? Headed to the Pribilof Islands today. On the way some crew saw sea ice. I’ll be looking! I love reading everyone’s comments. Keep them coming!
Last night I couldn’t sleep. I still saw my glow-in-the-dark alarm clock at 1:15am. I guess I was looking forward to waking up in the middle of the night to deploy the drifter buoy. It was 5am and it was time to go. It was still dark and I put on my float coat, gloves and hardhat. We went to the stern of the ship where it was lightly snowing and set up the drifter. I was able to write on the side of the drifter! 🙂 Key Biscayne Community School is now being represented in the Bering Sea! Of course I drew a Green Sea Turtle for Jonah on the top!A drifter buoy floats on the surface and is tracked by satellite. Some drifters make observations of currents, sea surface temperature, atmospheric pressure, winds and salinity. The ball floats on the surface of the water. It is attached to a wire that is 40 meters long and attached to a holey sock drogue, which looks like a tunnel Jonah would play in. They usually are active for 3-12 months. This particular drifter will just be tracked only by location because we are placing it close to large amounts of larvae pollock to determine where they are headed. Usually they are headed closer to shore. Once I return home I will be able to track it for our science class. We hope to deploy two more on this trip. The water got much rougher tonight. Using two hands to hold on while going up and down the stairs. Headed towards the Pribilof Islands tomorrow.