Jason Moeller: June 29-30, 2011

NOAA TEACHER AT SEA
JASON MOELLER
ONBOARD OSCAR DYSON
JUNE 11-JUNE 30

NOAA Teacher at Sea: Jason Moeller
Ship: Oscar Dyson
Mission: Walleye Pollock Survey
Geographic Location: Kodiak Harbor
Date: June 29-30

Ship Data
Latitude: 57.78 N
Longitude: -152.42 W
Wind: 4.9 knots
Surface Water Temperature: 8.5 degrees C
Air Temperature: 9.1 degrees C
Relative Humidity: 69%
Depth: 18.99

Personal Log

For the last time, welcome aboard!

We are now back in Kodiak, and I fly out on Thursday, June 30th. We got in late on the 28th, and so that gave us some time to explore! Once again, it was back to the trail to try and look for some bears!

eagle

We had a nice start when this bald eagle flew right above our heads and landed on a light!

eagle2

Another photo of the eagle.

On June 29th, after stopping for some Mexican food, Paul, Jake, Jodi and I hopped in a car and drove out to Anton Larsen Bay in hopes of some great photo opportunities and wildlife. Below are some of the best photographs that I took of the trip.

The first place we stopped the car had this beautiful view of rolling hills and mountains in the background.

The first place we stopped the car had this beautiful view of rolling hills and mountains in the background.

road

The road we took to get here. In the middle of the image is a lake, and if you look hard enough we could see all the way to the ocean.

yoga

Jodi has fun demonstrating a yoga pose!

bay

Our next stop was to explore the actual bay. This mountain overlooked the spot where the water ended and land began.

boat

An empty boat was randomly just drifting in the bay. It made for a nice photo though.

After looking at the bay, we began to explore a trail that led into the woods. There was supposed to be a waterfall at the end of the trail, but the trail just ended with no falls in sight. Oh well! This stream ran alongside of the trail the entire way.

After looking at the bay, we began to explore a trail that led into the woods. There was supposed to be a waterfall at the end of the trail, but the trail just ended with no falls in sight. Oh well! This stream ran alongside of the trail the entire way.

stream 2

Another photo of the stream.

sun

It was nice and sunny yesterday, making it the first time I had seen sun in Kodiak! It made for some picturesque moments while walking through the woods.

fox

In the end, once again, I didn't see a bear. However, as we were driving back, we did see this fox catch a mouse!

Science and Technology Log

As the survey is now over, there is no science and technology log.

Species Seen

Gulls
Arctic Tern
Bald Eagle
Red Fox
Mouse

Reader Question(s) of the Day!

There are no questions of the day for this last log. However, I would like to extend some thank yous!

First, I would like to thank the NOAA organization for allowing me the wonderful opportunity to travel aboard the Oscar Dyson for the past three weeks. I learned an incredible amount, and will be able to bring that back to my students. I had a great time!

Second, I would like to thank the crew of the ship for letting me come onboard and participate in the survey. Thanks for answering all of my questions, no matter how naive and silly, teaching me about how research aboard this vessel really works, editing these blogs, and for giving me the experience of a lifetime.

Third, I would like to thank Tammy, the other NOAA Teacher at Sea, for all of the help and effort that she put into working with me on the science and technology section of the blog. Tammy, I could not have done it without you!

Next, a huge thank you to the staff of Knoxville Zoo for their support of the trip and granting me the time off! A special thanks especially needs to go to Tina Rolen, who helped edit the blogs and worked with the media while I was at sea. She helped keep me from making a complete fool of myself to the press. Another special thanks goes out to Dr. John, who loaned me the computer that I used to post the first several logs.

Thanks also go out to Olivia, my wonderful and beautiful wife, for supplying the camera that I used for the first half of the trip.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who read the log and sent comments! I received many positive comments on the photography in this blog, although I must confess that I laughed a bit at those. Paul, our chief scientist, is the expert photographer on board, and his photos expose me for the amateur that I actually am. I would like to end this blog by posting some of the incredible images he gave me at the end of the trip.

cliffs

Cliffs rise sharply out of the ocean in the Gulf of Alaska

waterfall

A waterfall plummets into the Gulf of Alaska

clouds

Clouds cover the top of an island.

cliffs

Fog rolls down the cliffs toward the ocean.

Twin Pillars

The Twin Pillars

Cliffs

A closeup of the cliffs that make up the Alaskan shoreline.

fog

Since we saw so much of it, it seems appropriate to end this blog with a photo of fog over the Gulf of Alaska. Bye everyone, and thanks again!

Jason Moeller: June 13-14, 2011

NOAA TEACHER AT SEA
JASON MOELLER
ONBOARD NOAA SHIP OSCAR DYSON
JUNE 11 – JUNE 30, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea: Jason Moeller
Ship: Oscar Dyson
Mission: Walleye Pollock Survey
Geographic Location: Gulf of Alaska
Dates: June 13-14, 2011

Personal Log

Welcome back explorers!

June 13th

Kodiak Dock

A view of the dock as we finally leave!

We are finally underway! The weather cleared up on the 12th, so the rest of our scientific party was finally able to make it in from Anchorage. The scientists did not arrive until later in the day, but at 9:00 in the morning, the Oscar Dyson finally left port in order to run some tests, including a practice cast of the fishing net!

island in harbor

An island in Kodiak Harbor. Kodiak is hidden by the island in this photograph.

Open Ocean

Open ocean, straight ahead!

Net spool

Casting the net was a tricky process that took about 30-45 minutes. (I did not time the process.) The casting started by unhooking the edge of the net from this giant spool. The net was wrapped tightly around this spool when not in use.

net caster

Next, the net was hooked to the mechanism that would lower the net in the water. (The mechanism is the yellow object that looks like an upside-down field goal post)

net hooked up

This is a photo of the net being hooked up to the casting mechanism

net being unwound

Once attached, the mechanism then pulled up on the net to start unwinding the net from the spool. Once the net was properly unwinding, the net was lowered into the water to begin fishing!

Once the tests were completed, we headed back towards the harbor to pick up the rest of the scientists. Once we were all on the vessel, we held a quick briefing on the ship rules. This was followed by a meeting among the scientists where shifts were handed out. I am on the 4 PM to 4 AM shift, also known as the night shift! Hopefully, I will see some northern lights during the few hours that we actually have darkness. After the meeting and a fast guided tour, I went to bed, as I was extremely seasick. Hopefully, that is a temporary issue.

June 14

I woke up to discover that the ship has anchored in a protected cove for the day in order to calibrate the acoustic devices on board that are used for fishing. This is a time consuming but necessary process as we will need the baseline data that the scientists receive by calibrating the device. However, that means that there is not much to do except for eating, sleeping, watching movies (we have over 1,000 aboard) and enjoying the beautiful scenery. As we are in a quiet cove with no waves, I am not currently sick and decided to enjoy the scenery.

cove 1

The next four images are from the back of the ship. If printed, you can go from left to right and get a panoramic view.

cove 2

cove 3

cove 4

Jellyfish

I know the image is bad, but can you see the white blob in the middle of the water? That is a jellyfish!

mountain

Here is a photograph from the side of the boat of a snow-capped mountain. Even though it is summer here, there is still quite a bit of snow.

waterfall

This is another image off the side of the boat. A waterfall falls off into the ocean.

waterfall 2

A closer shot of the waterfall. This place is just gorgeous!

Science and Technology

The Science and technology segment of the blog will be written at the start of the Walleye Pollock survey, which should begin in the next day or so.

Species Seen

Jellyfish!

Arctic Tern

Gulls

Reader Question(s) of the Day

I received a few questions from Kaci, who will be a TAS here in September!

1. What is the temperature here?

A. The temperature has been in the mid to upper 40s, so much cooler then back home in Knoxville, Tennessee, where we were getting 90 degree days! It’s actually been pleasant, and I have not been cold so far on this trip.

2. What did you bring?

A. The temperature affected what I brought in terms of clothing. I started with a weeks worth of shorts and t-shirts, which I stuffed in my check in bag, and then two days worth of clothes in my backpack just in case my checked bag didn’t get it. Our other TAS, Tammy, got stuck here with only the clothes on her back, so a backup set of clothes was necessary. In addition, I have several pairs of jeans, 2-3 sweatshirts, a heavy coat, and under armor to round out the clothing. The under armor and heavy coat have been great, it’s why I haven’t been cold. I also packed¬† all of my toiletries (though I forgot shampoo and had to buy it here.

In terms of electronics, I have my iPod, computer, and my wife’s camera with me. (A special shout out to Olivia is in order here, thanks for letting me use the camera! I am being VERY careful with it!). I have a lot of batteries for the camera, which I have needed since I’ve already gone through a pair!

Just for fun, I brought my hockey goalie glove and ball to use in working out. We have weight rooms aboard the ship, which I will definitely need since the food is fantastic!

I hope that answers those questions, and I will answer more in the next post!

Jason Moeller: June 12, 2011

NOAA TEACHER AT SEA
JASON MOELLER
ONBOARD NOAA SHIP OSCAR DYSON
JUNE 11 – JUNE 30, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea: Jason Moeller
Ship: Oscar Dyson
Mission: Walleye Pollock Survey
Geographic Location: Gulf of Alaska
Date: June 12th, 2011

Personal Log

Welcome back explorers!

fog over Kodiak

Fog over Kodiak

Once again, I woke up this morning to a thick, heavy fog and drizzling rain that enveloped Kodiak like a wet, soggy blanket. While Tammy, who will be the other Teacher at Sea with me, was able to make it into Kodiak, the majority of our science party is still stuck in Anchorage, trying to get aboard a flight. Even though Tammy was able to make it in, her suitcase and clothes did not follow suit, and she was forced to make a Wal-mart run. The result of the weather has been a delay on the cruise, and we hope to set sail for equipment trials tomorrow.

As usual, I had a great day regardless of the rain. I started by helping our steward (cook) stock up on supplies for the ship’s galley. For 40 people on a 19 day cruise, we have $25,000 worth of food stashed away on board. It takes quite a bit of money to stock up a ship!

A river to the ocean

This is a photo of the river I explored weaving its way to the ocean.

After helping shop for the fresh produce, I had the rest of the day off, so I turned to my favorite Kodiak past time, and decided to embark on another bear photo hunt. In addition to bears, I was also on the lookout for salmon (I do not count eating salmon as seeing it) and bald eagles, both of which should be common. Today’s location was the same river that I explored on my first day, but I was much further south. My starting point was where the river met the ocean, and then I walked inland. I will let the photos and captions talk from this point on.

The Beach

I turned left to explore the beach first. It is a black sand beach, the first I have ever seen.

The Beach pic 2

This photo is of the same beach, and better shows the fog cover we had today.

Waterfall 1

While walking down the beach, I noticed a freshwater stream coming out of the woods and winding down to the ocean. I ducked under a pine tree at the edge of the beach and saw this waterfall.

Waterfall 2

Another photo of the waterfall.

Waterfall 3

The same waterfall, falling away towards the ocean.

Bald Eagle

After I left the waterfall, I continued to walk down the beach, and just happened to look up at the right moment to capture this bald eagle, high above the trees. They are so common here that the eagles are jokingly called roaches of the north.

2 eagles

I saw a total of 8 bald eagles, including this pair in the trees. The fog makes them a bit difficult to pick out.

River 1

After exploring the beach, I headed upstream to look for salmon and bears. This is what the river looked like by the ocean.

path

The path by the river was difficult, if it was there at all. Most of the time, I just trudged my way through it. There was not a dry spot on me by the time I finished the hike. It was worth it though.

Marsh

For the first half mile, the river was in a marshland, which the photo shows accurately. However, the marshland quickly gave way to pine forests, which can be seen in the next image.

River in the woods

The river running through the woods.

woods

A photo of the woods running alongside of the river.

Lichen

In the end, I didn't see any bears or salmon in the river, and the vegetation became too thick to go on without a trail. As I was leaving, however, to head back to the ocean and catch my ride home, I ran across this piece of white lichen which contrasted with the darkened woods surrounding it. For me, the photo was worth the trip.

Science and Technology Log

The Science and Technology log will begin at the start of the Walleye Pollock survey.

Species Seen

Bald Eagles!!!

Arctic Tern

Gulls

Magpie

Reader Question(s) of the Day!

Reader questions of the day will start at the beginning of the Walleye Pollock survey! At the moment, I have not received any questions yet, so please send them in! I can take questions at jmoeller@knoxville-zoo.org.

Jason Moeller: June 11, 2011

NOAA TEACHER AT SEA
JASON MOELLER
ONBOARD NOAA SHIP OSCAR DYSON
JUNE 11 – JUNE 30, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea: Jason Moeller
Ship: Oscar Dyson
Mission: Walleye Pollock Survey
Geographic Location: Gulf of Alaska
Date: June 11, 2011

Personal Log

Welcome back, explorers!

Kodiak

Kodiak, Alaska

Today was my official first day in Kodiak Alaska! Kodiak is a small city on Kodiak Island, which lies off the southern coast of Alaska. The city had a population of 6,653 people in 2009, and is likely growing due to its unique population of animals, including salmon, Kodiak bears, and bald eagles. The city’s main livelihood comes from the ocean, where halibut, pollock, several species of salmon, scallops, and crabs are pulled from the waters surrounding the island. A second source of income comes from tourism.

I woke up today to find the city covered in mist with rain steadily falling. This was bad news for several of our scientists and Tammy, the other teacher at sea on our trip, as they were unable to fly in from Anchorage due to the weather.

Stateroom

Jason's Stateroom on the Oscar Dyson

The weather, however, did not stop me from having an active day in the city. The first thing that I did was move onto the ship into my stateroom, where I will be sleeping during the research expedition. I was surprised at the size, as the room was larger than several college dorm rooms that I had seen.

Once I was moved in, I began to explore the ship. While I have not been given an official guided tour as of yet (that will happen when Tammy arrives), I was able to move around and find some of the rooms that I will be in frequently during the trip.

Acoustic Room

This is the sound/acoustic room, where we will look for the fish using sonar!

Command Deck

This is the command deck of the Oscar Dyson. If I ask nicely, will they let me drive?

Mess hall

The all important mess hall!

Kodiak Bridge

Fred Zharoff Memorial Bridge

In talking with several individuals onboard, I found out that some of the best hiking in the area was within walking distance of the Oscar Dyson. Even better, hikers in this area occasionally saw bears. As I still wanted to see a bear in the wild, I immediately left for the bridge that would take me to another island right off the coast of Kodiak Island. I passed through town on the way.

After walking through town, I reached this bridge and crossed it.

The Island

This is the island that I was headed to.

After crossing the bridge, I came across the following park which had some stunning nature trails. I am going to let my photographs do the talking for this next part of the blog, as words do not do justice for the beauty of this place.

Tree

There were many of these thick bodied pines in the park.

Moss

This image, as well as the next, shows the abundant moss in the woods. It carpeted the forest floor completely!

moss image 2

ocean view

A nice view of the ocean from the trail.

ocean view 2

Another beautiful view of the ocean from the trail.

moss on bushes

Many of the low-lying bushes also had moss and lichens on them.

Elderberries

One of the most common trees was the Pacific Red Elderberry. Elderberries are often used for making wines, and occasionally as the punchline in a joke.

Trees

A few Elderberry trees!

Surprisingly, I did not see a great deal of wildlife, only seeing songbirds. I still have time to see a bear, but I did not spot one today and did not see any bear tracks. Deer tracks were in abundance but I did not see any deer on the pathways.

All in all, I was out hiking on the trails for over three hours, and was soaking wet when I got back.

After the hike and a change of clothes (it rained the entire time), I went out to dinner with a few of the ship’s engineers to a sushi/seafood restaurant. The salmon just melted in my mouth, I have never had salmon that fresh. I also had the opportunity to taste Alaskan king crab, and wish that I hadn’t. I am now addicted, and it is expensive at $47.00 a pound being the market price!

Science and Technology Log

The science and technology section of this blog will begin after the survey of the Walleye Pollock has been started.

Species Seen

Arctic Tern

Pacific Red Elderberry

Reader Question(s) of the Day!

The reader question(s) of the day will start after the survey of the walleye pollock begins. I will answer at least one question during each log, and hopefully will be answering more than one. Please submit your questions to me at jmoeller@knoxville-zoo.org.