Peggy Deichstetter, September 10, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Peggy Deichstetter
Aboard Oregon II
August 29 – September 10, 2012

Mission: Longline Shark and Red Snapper Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date:  September 10, 2010

Well, the reason Aaron didn’t pick us up last night is that he took the Engineer to the hospital with an ear infection, apparently, it is serious. The ship will stay in port until a decision is made on whether or not we can run with only 2 engineers (12 hour shifts instead of 8). It is decided that the last day of this part of the cruise (Leg 2) is canceled. I spend the rest of the morning changing my travel plans and packing. Claudia is the first off the ship, she has friends and family here. I say good bye to everyone then start my journey home.

Peggy Deichstetter, September 9, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Peggy Deichstetter
Aboard Oregon II
August 29 – September 10, 2012

Mission: Longline Shark and Red Snapper Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date:  September 9, 2010

Sunrise

Sunrise

Fishing as been suspended until first light. The day dawns and the water is no longerintimidating. The sun is back and it looks like a good day for fishing. We are on our way to the next fishing station.

Mike, an observer for Alaska, and I are sitting on the back deck talking when a rogue wave hits the side of the ship knocking Mike off his chair into the Ballards. (Ballards are used to tie the ship to the dock.) Mike is definitely hurt. I run for help. The crew clears everyone off the deck so they can assess Mike’s condition. Jason, one of the officers, interviews me for the accident report. It appears that Mike crack his ribs in the fall. We are now headed into port to take Mike to the hospital.It takes five hours to get into port. I check on Mike. He says he hurts but he’s okay. Word comes down that we’ll spend the night into port since there is no way to get back to a shark station today. Since we know Mike is going to be okay, we are getting excited about going into town.We think the boat will be docked at the cruise terminal which would be very easy to walk into town. However, we disembark at a pier that is at least 2 miles from town and it is HOT! Aaron, one of the officers, is taking Mike to the hospital. I ask if he could drop me off in town. After clearing it with the lead scientist and gathering a few others, we share Mike’s van and get into town.Cassidy, Ashley, Claudia and I spend the afternoon walking the Strand. We stopped for a drink and then and some Ice Cream. Cassidy and I want to get back to the ship, since we are on the night shift. Aaron told us that he would run a shuttle for anyone who wants to come back at 5:00pm. Cassidy and I meet Tim and Larry a little before five at the appointed spot. No Aaron, no van. Tim finally calls the ship to find out the van is in use. So we walk.We missed dinner but the cook warmed it up for us. Off to bed.

Peggy Deichstetter, September 8, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Peggy Deichstetter
Aboard Oregon II
August 29 – September 10, 2012

Mission: Longline Shark and Red Snapper Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date:  September 5, 2010

 Remora

Remora

The day shift reported to me that they tried fishing. The seas were incredible rough. Besides that they had and incredible number of fish and different kinds of fish The deck was rocking and rolling and waves were crashing over the bow. Ashley was soaking wet because a wave hit her. Fishing was once again suspended.

Red Drum

Red Drum

Sting Ray

Sting Ray

Hammer Head

Hammer Head

Peggy Deichstetter, September 7, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Peggy Deichstetter
Aboard Oregon II
August 29 – September 10, 2012

Mission: Longline Shark and Red Snapper Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date:  September 7, 2010

First, I must make a correction in yesterday’s blog. Hermine never made it to hurricane status. It was only a tropical storm when it hit Texas last night. We are waiting for the storm to clear because working outside is too dangerous. Finding something to do is very challenging. The internet wasn’t working last night. I guess I could have done some work on the computer but I forgot the discs in my room. As you may recall I can’t return to because my room mate who is on the day shift, is sleeping. Not good form to try to find something in the dark when someone else is sleeping.

We are currently sailing back and forth near our next shark station so when the weather clears we’ll be ready to go. So there really isn’t much to report for day ten.

Peggy Deichstetter, September 6, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Peggy Deichstetter
Aboard Oregon II
August 29 – September 10, 2012

Mission: Longline Shark and Red Snapper Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date:  September 6, 2010

What an exciting beginning of my shift. First of all , the seas were rough, well rough for me anyway The line the other shift had set was ready to be brought in. You could feel the energy in the air. The day shift was still on deck with cameras ready. It took awhile for the ship to find the small blinking light in the rough seas. But they did eventually find it and the work began. First hook had a Sharp Nose, and it continued hit after hit. There was a total of 26 fish, most of them Sharp Nose but also a few Black Tip and Spinner sharks.
I must say I admire the scientists. Here we are in the middle of the night on rough seas and these guys are hanging over the side of the boat pulling in some large fish. The other scientists pulled the hooks out , measured, weighed, and tagged them, all on a rocking deck.
Removing the hook

Removing the hook

I’d like to thank the day shift for sticking around, they were invaluable in getting all of the fish processed in a timely manner.

Our next station is a plankton tow. Its two hours away. I started my blog and then started to proof read my published one because the internet was working. Sleepiness and/ or sickness came over me. The dry lab, where the computers are, is small and in the rear of the ship, which is really a great place to get seasick.
I went out and sat on deck and immediately fell asleep. I woke up as the rest of my team gathered on deck for the plankton tow. The seas are so rough that the decision was made only to do the bongos. Once again I have to admire these guys hanging over the edge to put in and take out the netting. Our next shark station is two hours away.
This free time gave me the opportunity to see that a hurricane, Hermine, is forming in the lower Gulf and predicted to move towards……………..us. Everyone needs a little excitement in their life. I think I will take out my panic attack and dust it off just in case I need it later.
The weather has gotten really bad. The rest of the stations for today were called off. The team leaders brought in or tied down everything on deck. I now understand the meaning of the phrase batten down the hatches.

Peggy Deichstetter, September 5, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Peggy Deichstetter
Aboard Oregon II
August 29 – September 10, 2012

Mission: Longline Shark and Red Snapper Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date:  September 5, 2010

Well, I think this coffee has done away with my caffeine habit. I’m down to a half cup diluted with water and that is only because I needed to wake up. I’ve noticed that most of the people on this ship are tea drinkers. Now, I know why.

our shark

Our watch began with sailing to the next plankton station. A squall began, so it was time to get my raingear on. During the squall birds seemed to be attracted to the ship. Toward the end of the storm a little warbler landed on deck. He kept trying to find a place to land away from people. Finally, he was so tired, he landed at my feet. After a few seconds he flew to the edge of the stern. He contently waited out the storm there.

I asked Laurie, one of the marine biologists if she had any ideas on why the birds were following us. Apparently, there was a birder on the last trip that explained because we are close to shore (one of my favorite spots, Corpus Christi) the insect were attracted to our lights and the birds are attracted to the insects.
Again we had problems with the plankton tow. After they got the equipment fixed another squall started and the deployment of the equipment was delayed, once again, until the end of the storm.
Taking Samples

Taking Samples

We finally got to the Shark Station. Not too exciting tonight. We only caught two dogfish sharks. I didn’t even take pictures because it paled to what we have all ready done.

We are at the last Shark Station for our watch. I guess we saved the best for last. Hook number 82 gave an 16 foot Sand Shark,. Too big to be brought on deck, she was measured and weighed in her basket. Tissue samples were taken and she was tagged before we let her go. Exciting!!!!
Shark in basket

Shark in basket

Peggy Deichstetter, September 4, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Peggy Deichstetter
Aboard Oregon II
August 29 – September 10, 2012

Mission: Longline Shark and Red Snapper Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date:  September 4, 2010

As we started our watch we were on our way to the next Shark Station. The other shift had already baited the hooks, so all we could do was wait. Before lone we were deploying our hooks, but the real excitement began when we started pulling in fish. Our first two fish were Gaff Top Tailed Catfish. These very ugly fish are one of the only saltwater catfish species.
Rainbow

Rainbow

We started to pull in Black Tip Reef sharks, followed by a Stingray. The end was the most exciting. The crew pulled in the top half of a Black Tip shark following right behind was a very large Bull Shark. He was so large that he bent the hook and was able to free himself.
We are just off South Padre Island Texas because we can see the lights from the town. Hey, Spring Breakers that come here…this is where we pulled out Black Tip Reef Sharks, a Bull Shark and half of a Black Tip. Enjoy!

Sunrise

Sunrise

During wait time this evening I have been trying to edit my blog. The internet is very sporadic, it will go down in the middle of loading pictures, On some days I can only get text and on other just pictures. I think I have it fixed but I’ll check it again later.

God has really been putting on a show. First, the fireworks, the sky was just lit up with beautiful flashes of lightening. Just after a fabulous sunrise, He placed a rainbow over our stern.

Half of a Black Tip

Gaff Top Tailed Catfish

Our last run was fantastic, catching 25 sharks. Two of them were large Hammerheads as well as, numerous Black Nose and Black Tip. At times there were three sharks waiting on deck to be measured and weighed. The last thing we do before our shift ends is bait and drop the hooks for the next shift.

Ugly Fish

Gaff Top Tailed Catfish