Mission: Mapping Deep-Water Areas Southeast of Bermuda in Support of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation
Date: July 27, 2018
Weather Data from the Okeanos Explorer Bridge
Air Temperature: 27.8°C
Wind Speed: 10.5 knots
Conditions: Partly Sunny
Depth: 5272.37 meters
Commanding Officer – Commander Eric Johnson, NOAA Corps
Hometown: Maryland but currently resides in D.C
Ever since Eric was young, he had been fascinated by the ocean. After reading about Eugenie Clark’s contributions to marine science and shark research, he was hooked on learning as much as he could about the sea. Eric began his studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland; however, he made the decision to take a six year sabbatical and work in a variety of fields to gain practical experience. During this time, he found employment as an apprentice for a deep sea salvage company and completed electrical work on ROVs for the Navy. This job granted him the opportunity to go to sea and encouraged him to apply what he learned in the field.
After this six year period, Eric returned to college at the University of Maryland, majored in Marine Biology, and earned his scuba certification. Upon graduation, he was a manager at REI in College Park and volunteer diver at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. As an exhibit diver, Eric was responsible for feeding the animals by hand in the tanks, maintenance of tanks and scuba equipment, as well as educational outreach.
Although Eric learned a great deal about customer service and public speaking during his time at REI and the Baltimore Aquarium, he was interested in researching a more permanent marine science career. While researching potential employment opportunities on the NOAA website, he discovered the NOAA Corps. Eric was very interested in the mission of this Uniformed Service and decided to apply. Eric was not selected the first time since he did not have direct experience working in a related field; however, he was not discouraged. Instead, Eric secured a job working at a Biotech company, reapplied to the NOAA Corps, and was selected. Once he graduated from Basic Officer Training at the Coast Guard Academy, Eric began an extensive and impressive career with NOAA.
Eric’s first sea assignment was as navigation officer on the Oregon II. He was responsible for operations focused on diving, navigation, and safety aboard this vessel. After spending two years at sea, he began his first land rotation as the Executive Officer of the NOAA Dive Program before advancing to the NOAA ship Hi’ialakai. Eric kept track of scientific diving operations aboard the Hi’ialakai, which amounted to approximately 3,000 to 4,000 dives per year! Then, Eric served as the NOAA Recruiter for a year and a half before becoming Chief of the Recruiting Branch. He found the recruiting positions to be incredibly rewarding and enjoyed encouraging those who were looking to make a difference while serving their country to apply to NOAA. Eventually, Eric returned to his original ship, the Oregon II, as Executive Officer before beginning as Commanding Officer on the Okeanos Explorer. Although serving as the Commanding Officer is a major responsibility, Eric is dedicated to supporting NOAA’s mission in regards to science, service, and stewardship. He finds is assignment on the Okeanos very exciting since this ship’s main purpose is ocean exploration.
Throughout his career, Eric has learned that it is especially important to pursue your true interests and not be afraid to explore the unknown. Eric believes that stepping outside your comfort zone and learning how to adapt to new situations enables you to construct a skill set that will help you experience success in a variety of situations.
Fun Facts about CO Eric Johnson
–Eric continues to be an avid diver and has completed over 1,000 dives during his career.
– If you added up all of the hours Eric has spent diving, it would be about one month underwater!
– In Eric’s opinion, the best spot to dive is south of Hawaii at Palmyra Atoll.
As soon as the day group’s shift started at noon we were right into sorting the catch and doing the work-up of weighing, measuring and taking samples.
It’s with a good bit of anticipation waiting to see what the net will reveal when its contents are emptied! There were some new fish for me to see today of which I was able to get some nice photos. I was asked today if I had a favorite fish. I enjoy seeing the variety of star fish that come down the conveyor belt as we sort through the catch even though they are not part of the survey. The Atlantic Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) are beautiful with their blue and black bands on their upper bodies and their shimmering scales. They are a schooling fish and today one catch consisted primarily of this species. I’m fascinated with the unusual looking fish such as the goosefish, the Atlantic wolffish (Anarchichas lupus) with its sharp protruding teeth, and some of the different crabs we have caught in the net. Another catch today, closer to land where the seafloor was more sandy, was full of Atlantic Scallops. Their shells consisted of a variety of interesting colors and patterns.
Today I also had a chance to have a conversation with the Commanding Officer of the Henry B. Bigelow, Commander Jeffrey Taylor. After serving as a medic in the air force, and with a degree in Biology with a concentration in marine zoology from the University of South Florida. What he enjoys about his job is teaching the younger NOAA officers in the operation of the ship. He is proud of his state-of-the-art ship with its advanced technology and engineering and its mission to protect, restore, and manage the marine, coastal and ocean resources. Some things that were touched upon in our conversation about the ship included the winch system for trawling. It is an advanced system that monitors the cable tension and adjusts to keep the net with its sensors open to specific measurements and to keep it on the bottom of the seafloor. This system also is more time efficient. The Hydrographic Winch System deploys the CTD’s before each trawl. CO Taylor also related how the quiet hull and the advanced SONAR systems help in their missions. What we discussed that I am most familiar with since I boarded the Henry B. Bigelow is the Wet Lab, which was especially engineered for the Henry B. Bigelow and its survey missions. This is where I spend a good bit of time during the survey. The ergonomically designed work stations interface with the computer system to record and store the data collected from the fish samples 100% digitally. I was pleased to hear what thought, skill and fine tuning had gone into designing this room as I had earlier on the trip mentally noted some of the interesting aspects of the layout of the room. Commanding Officer Taylor also had high praise for his dedicated NOAA Corps staff and the crew, engineers and scientists that work together as a team.
“During a watch change, the XO checked the AIS then handed control over to the CO. When contacted by the mapping room regarding the XBT launch and CTD termination check, the CO said,“Roger that”.
After reading this- you’ll have a better idea what some of these acronyms mean and how we use them on the Okeanos Explorer. In other words, you’ll be able to say- “roger that” to show you understand and agree.
Let’s start with the XO and CO – They are easy and make sense.
CO – The Commanding Officer – He or she is responsible for everything on the ship. (see Personal Log for more information on Commander Ramos of the Okeanos Explorer)
XO – The Executive Officer – Reports to the Commanding Officer and is second in command.
AIS –What is it and why do we need it?
Automatic Identification System. The Okeanos Explorer has an electronic chart display that includes a symbol for every ship within radio range. Each ship “symbol” tells Commander Ramos the name of the ship, the actual size of the ship, where that ship is going, how fast it’s going, when or if it will cross our path, and a lot of other information just by “clicking” on a ship symbol! Here is a link to get more information on AIS. I also took a picture of the Okeanos Explorer AIS screen and below that there’s the actual picture of our closest neighbor, the ship named “Joanna”(look closely on the horizon) . If the CO feels like the ship is going to need to change course, he will inform the scientists in the mapping room right away. Safety and science RULE!
Every two or three hours the mapping team calls the bridge (the driver seat of the ship) and asks permission to launch an XBT – which is short for an eXpendable BathyThermograph. That’s a heavy weighted probe that is dropped from a ship and allows us to measure the temperature as it falls through the water. WHY do we need to measure the temperature of the water if we are using sonar? Sound waves travel at different speeds in different temperature water, just like they travel at different speeds in cold air than warm air. So they need to know the temperature of the water to help calculate how fast the sound or ping that the ship’s sonar sends out so they can map the bottom of the ocean. A very thin wire sends the temperature data to the ship where the mapping team records it. There is more information about XBT’s here:
Many oceanographic missions use CTD’s. The Okeanos Explorer is no exception. CTD stands for conductivity, temperature, and depth, and refers to the electronic instruments that measure these properties. The grey cylinders are water sampling bottles and the big white frame protects everything. WHY do scientists need CTD’s? Scientists use a CTD to measure the chemistry of the Ocean from surface to bottom. The CTD can go down to near the bottom and the cylinders close when the scientist on board ship pushes a key on the computer and close so that a water sample is captured at that depth. It’s a lot easier than swimming down there and opening up a jar and closing it.
WHY do they want to know about conductivity? Why do they care how much electricity can go through the water? If the water can conduct more electricity, then it has a higher salinity, i.e. more salt. That helps the scientists know the density of the water at that depth and can help inform them of the biology and ocean currents of that area.
As I mentioned in last blog, everyone plays a part on the Okeanos Explorer. The CO plays a big part in making sure the scientists achieve their goals. The man in charge- Commander Ricardo Ramos answered a few of my questions last night in his office in the forward part of the ship.
When I say Oregon Trail, fifth graders usually think of covered wagons. I doubt that they think of a family of immigrants from Mexico deciding to leave family and friends in sunny Los Angeles and hit the trail north to rainy Oregon. But the devastating riots in Watts in the 1960s caused Commander Ricardo Ramos’s parents to do exactly that. There were some adjustments to be made to life in tiny Klamath Falls, Oregon but his parents, 3 brothers and sister were up to the challenge of no family support and a new community. The family worked for Weyerhaeuser and Commander Ramos knew he did not want to work in the plant the rest of his life. It was never IF he’d go to college, but “WHERE”. He was the second of the five children to attend college, earning 2 Associates degrees and a degree in Electrical Engineering. After entering NOAA and gaining his masters from Averett University, he spent time on various NOAA ships and in other capacities. He is also a graduate of Harvard’s Senior Executive Fellows program.
He had a couple words of advice for elementary school students. First, take advantage of all learning opportunities, for you will never know when you might need the knowledge you will gain. Second, that communication, both written and oral, is probably the most important part of his job. He is not afraid of getting input and editing of his writing for the job. His greatest reward is realizing that he is charge of a tremendous asset of the United States that provides a platform for scientist to explore our vast oceans.
Did You Know?
Displacement – When you think displacement, you probably think of a quick definition like “moved aside” that we learned when we made aluminum foil boats. When you get in a kiddie pool, bathtub or any body of water, you move aside water. If you measure the weight or amount of water that you move aside, that is your displacement. The Okeanos Explorer moves aside a lot of water – more than 2,500 TONS of water. That’s about 700,000- gallons of water that gets displaced. The ship is 224 feet long and 43 feet wide in its widest part. Now, I don’t know about you – but I start thinking about the really big ships and tankers that we see passing by the Okeanos Explorer on the radar (their ‘deets’ are given to us by the AIS system – See the Section on ABC’s for an explanation of AIS) Well, there was a ship called “The Knock Nevis” and it was 1500 feet long! Did it displace water? You bet!. 650,000 tons of water when fully loaded! (use a ton of water = gallon converter on google to figure out how many gallons that is). Let’s just say that it’s a lot more than our little MUFFIN – the winner of the Coon Creek Boat Race.
Weather Data from Newport, OR: GPS location: 44°38’12.63” N, 124°3’12.46”W
Sky condition: OVC
Air temperature: 10.6°C
Science and Technology Log
During my final days aboard the NOAA Ship Rainier, I began to understand the big picture of all that goes in to hydrographic survey. While we were transiting from the Shumagin Islands back to the Coast Guard Base in Kodiak, the scientists invited me to sit in on a survey review meeting. During the meeting I listened as the Commanding Officer (CO), the Chief Survey Technician, the Field Operations Officer (FOO), the sheet manager, and others went over the Descriptive Report for a project that had been completed on a previous leg in Behm Canal. It was interesting to listen to the conversation and actually understand what these researchers were talking about! I felt as though it was appropriate for me to attend this meeting on my final day on the ship, as this truly is the last step for the scientists on board before the chart and attached data are sent off the ship to the Pacific Hydrographic Branch where the data is further processed in order to ensure accuracy of the data. As I have now participated in most parts of the survey process, allow me to show you a step-by-step explanation of hydrographic survey from start to finish.
Step One: Getting to the Survey Location
It takes a dedicated and skilled team to safely navigate the ship to the correct survey location. It is also important that the FOO conducts a survey meeting to review the plan of the leg with the research crew. When I sat in on this survey meeting at the start of the leg the crew discussed what has been accomplished to date, which sheets we would be focusing on during this leg, and any technical issues that needed to be reviewed with the team.
Step Two: Setting up Vertical and Horizontal Control Stations
Before data can be collected, it is necessary to have a reference of where the data is being collected. As I discussed in a previous post, tidal gauges are set-up prior to survey in order to guarantee accurate water depths. The NOAA Ship Rainier is currently setting up a tidal gauge near Cold Bay, Alaska so that they may begin working in their upcoming survey location. You can track the Rainier at http://shiptracker.noaa.gov/
Step Three: Running Shoreline Verification
Before the launches (small boats) are able to get data close to the shore, it is important for the skiff to visually check the shoreline to make sure that there are no major hazards to navigation. The shoreline crew is responsible for marking any dangers, and getting close enough to shore to decide where the sheet limits should be set. These sheet limits dictate how close the shoreline and rock formations are that the launches need to survey.
Step Four: Data Collection on Ship and Launches
This is the time when the hydrographers and ship crew can begin “coloring in the lines” by filling in designated polygons with sonar data. The hydrographers are in charge of determining where the ship or launch needs to be driven in order to gather the required data using navigation software on the ship called HYPACK. They are also responsible for taking Conductivity Temperature Depth (CTD) measurements in order to apply accurate sound speed profiles to the data. The deck department and the NOAA Corps officers are responsible for following the plan laid out by the hydrographers in order to navigate the ship to gather data. This takes attention to detail, because if the ship goes off course, data is missed for a certain area creating a “holiday”, or a gap in the data. If a holiday is created it means that the crew has to go back and get the missing data later. Nobody likes a holiday as it costs time and money to fix. While data is being collected, the hydrographers are in charge of keeping an acquisition log that is a detailed record of everything that is taking place during a specific survey. The team uses a program called Seafloor Information Systems (SIS) in order to collect the sonar data on the ship. On the launches, HYPACK serves a dual function as the navigation software and the sonar software.
Step Five: Processing and Cleaning the Data
This was one of the most interesting parts of the process as you begin to see the data come to life. The “lines” of data that are collected using the Konsberg sonar unit are brought over to a program called CARIS. Certain correctors such as sound velocity and the predicted tides are added to the data in CARIS as well. While each processing step is being completed, the hydrographer is responsible for making notes in the acquisition log.
Next it is important to “clean” the data. This is done by moving carefully over each line of data to filter out any noise that shouldn’t be there. When the data has been cleaned it can then be added to the project file for the sheet manager. This way the hydrographer that is in charge of that specific sheet of data can see what progress has been made and what steps are still required for the work to be completed.
Step Six: Writing the Descriptive Report (DR) and Conducting a Survey Review
The Descriptive Report (DR) seems to be the most tedious part of the process. This is the report that is included with the sheet when it is sent to the Pacific Hydrographic Branch for review and further processing. It thoroughly explains things like the area surveyed, how data was acquired, and results and recommendations. After a DR is thought to be complete, the ship conducts an internal review. This is what I got to sit in on during my last day on the ship. After it has met the expectations of the Chief Survey Technician, the FOO, and the CO, the project can then be sent off the ship to the Pacific Hydrographic Branch before being sent on to the Marine Chart Division (MCD) where the charts are finalized.
Like I said in my previous blog post, the scientific process is not easy. These scientists and crew work tirelessly to ensure that they are producing quality work that can be utilized for safe navigation. I appreciate their efforts, and I want to thank them for their long hours and their attention to detail.
I find myself unable to fully express my gratitude to the crew of the Rainier for my time with them. They allowed me to ask endless questions, they welcomed me into their close-knit community, and they provided me with an experience of a lifetime. I am extremely thankful for this opportunity, and I wanted to be sure to offer my appreciation.
It has been over a week since I’ve been back in Newport, Oregon, and I’ve had a great time reliving my Teacher at Sea (TAS) experience with family, friends, coworkers, and students. While we were transiting from the Shumigans, Christie Reiser, a Hydrographic Assistant Survey Technician on board gave me an awesome video that she had made with several crew members. The video gives a tour of the Rainier, and I thought it would be a nice to share it on my blog as a way to show people where I spent my 18 days at sea.
In this section I usually do a detailed interview with one crew member. As this is my last blog post, I wanted to be sure to include all of the other interviews that I had while on the ship. For each of these interviews I have included a snapshot of the conversation that I had with each person. While I wasn’t able to interview everyone on board, I can say for a fact that each person I met had a unique story. I was particularly fascinated by the various pathways that people have taken in order to become part of the Rainier crew. Enjoy!
Thank you for following my blog and for sharing this experience with me. Thanks again to the crew of the Rainier for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity. I’ve learned so much from this experience, and I plan to take the knowledge I’ve gained and pass it along to my students, friends, and community members.
Best wishes to the crew of the Rainier, good luck with the rest of your field season, and happy hydro!
Weather Data from the Bridge: GPS location: 55°02.642’N, 159°57.359’W
Sky condition: Overcast (OVC)
Visibility: 7 nm
Wind: 180° true, 8 kts
Water temperature: 8.3°C
Air temperature: 12.0 °C
Science and Technology Log
In my last post I talked mostly about the science needed for safely navigating the ship to our survey area in the Shumagin Islands. Now that the surveying has begun, I’d like to use this post to talk about the actual logistics of the surveys that are being completed. These surveys are the reason that we are in Alaska, and it takes quite a bit of planning and coordination to make sure that accurate data is collected. The hydrographers are looking for features to put on the chart (map) such as depth, rocks, shoals, ledges, shipwrecks, islets (small islands), and kelp beds.
The last time most of this area was surveyed was back in the early 1900s. Lead lines were used in order to gather data about the depth of the sea. While accurate, this method only gave information on discrete points along the ocean floor. This resulted in charts being left with large amounts of white space which represents areas that have never before been surveyed.
The sonar technology on the ship allows us to gather data which can be classified as full-bottom coverage. That means that we have data on every inch of ocean floor that we cover rather than just one point along the way.
Now let’s get to the heart of survey! The overall survey area here in the Shumagins is broken down into what the team refers to as sheets. The Commanding Officer (CO) informed me that the reason they call them “sheets” is because back before the use of computers in surveying, hydrography would be done on a small boat and all the positions would be hand-plotted on a sheet of fine cotton paper. The size of this “sheet” of paper and the scale of the survey dictated how big the survey would be. Anyways, each sheet has a sheet manager that is responsible for the data collected in that area. Each sheet is then broken down even further into several polygons which represent specific areas to be surveyed on that sheet. Meghan McGovern, the Field Operations Officer (FOO) on this ship, explained to me that while the ship itself is running sonar to collect data 24 hours a day only two launches can be sent out at a time to do additional surveys. This is because the ship does not have the manpower to run the entire ship plus all four small survey launches. However, it is hard on the crew to run continuous 24 hour operations on the ship, so every so often the ship will anchor and four survey launches can be sent out to gather data during the day. I asked which method is preferred and Megan told me that it really depends on the area that needs to be surveyed. Sometimes it can be more beneficial to anchor and send out all four launches if a lot of data needs to be collected on areas close to the shore. In that case, the ship is not able to navigate as closely to the shoreline as the small launches are.
Before the launches can be sent out to gather data close to shorelines, benchmarks must be set and tidal gauges must be taken in order to measure the actual water level based on the varying tides. This has not been done during my time in the Shumagins because they were done on the previous leg. (For more information visit TAS Marvin’s blog to understand how she helped set-up benchmarks in the Shumagins.) Shoreline verification must also be completed by the small skiff (boat) in order to visually mark any dangers that may be hazardous to the launches while they are surveying. I am hoping to do shoreline verification while I am here, but for now this area has already been done.
After the shoreline verification has taken place the actual data collection can begin. I have been out in a launch two times since we reached our survey area. The first time we were surveying polygons V (Victor) and X (X-ray) on the west coast of Chernabura Island. I learned a great deal from the crew about the survey system on the small launch. While I was on this launch I was allowed to drive. It turns out it is hard to drive a boat in a nice, neat line. Yesterday I was able to go out for a second time on a survey launch, and this time we collected near shore data on the east side of Near Island.
The launch runs a system that is very similar to the ship in order to collect bathymetric data. The screen, that is projected to the Hydrographer in Charge (HIC) and the coxswain (driver), shows a swath of the area where data has been collected.
On the screen it looks as though the ship is driving back and forth coloring in the lines as data is collected. Once all of the data has been collected on the launch, it is saved to an external hard drive and brought back to the ship for night processing. I haven’t observed night processing yet, but I plan to do that in the upcoming days.
I will hold off on more detail now and wait until next time to give you the science behind the detailed sonar that is being used during these surveys.
Yesterday was one of my favorite days on my adventure so far. I went with three other people on one of the small launches called the RA-6. While I was on the launch I had the responsibility of doing the radio communication back to the ship for a check-in each hour to let them know our position and what we had accomplished up to that point. The sun was peeking through the clouds, and I was finally able to see the majestic islands that are surrounding us. These islands have no trees, but their sharp cliffs and the mystical lenticular clouds that hovered above them captured my attention each time we drove close.
The birds out here are the only animals that can be observed and they include gulls, muirs, and puffins. Each time we drove near a puffin I couldn’t help but laugh as they scuttled quickly away in the water. Some of them seemed to have eaten too many fish to be able to lift themselves into the air.
My free time on the ship has been mostly spent at meals and in the wardroom. Each night the ship shows three different movies that run on the cable channels throughout the ship, and a mix of people tend to gather in the wardroom to sit and watch the shows together. I have also had the unique experience of using the elliptical machine several times while on board.
If you have ever used an elliptical machine, you know that normally when you step off the machine it feels like you are still in motion. Add that feeling to the swaying of the ship and it makes for a strange type of vertigo!
Laura McCrum, a past student of mine, told me in a recent email to remember that knowledge is not confined to age…and she made sure to clarify that she wasn’t calling me old! I am so grateful for this unique experience where I am able to continue my education each and every day in order to expand my knowledge base. I hope that this experience will not only benefit me but also my students, coworkers, and community members as well.
Just Another Day at the Office
I wanted to start this section of my blog as a way to highlight a different member of the crew during each post. These people go to work each day in such a unique environment that I thought it was important to share a piece of their stories.
Carl VerPlanck, 3rd Mate
The first time I saw Carl was on the bridge while the ship was departing from port. He is the navigation officer responsible for creating routes, updating charts and publications, and maintaining a certain decorum on the bridge. Carl also helps to train junior officers in the art of navigation. He conducts underway watches and drives the launches while helping to train others to do the same.
When asked about how he got to be in the position that he holds today, Carl told me that he grew up in Indiana and received his GED when he was 18 before moving to Alaska to work on a fishing boat. Having no prior experience on boats, he worked in a fish processing plant in Naknek, Alaska until he was able to start as a General Vessel Assistant (GVA) with NOAA. He eventually worked his way up the rank as an Ordinary Seaman (OS), followed by an Able-bodied Seaman (AB) until he received his 3rd Mate certification. He currently holds his 2nd Mate certification, and he plans to hold this position in the future.
While I was talking with him, Carl told me that the best part about his job was that he loves working in Alaska. He has a sense of exploration while doing these surveys, and he likes the feeling that anything could be down there on the sea floor. I asked him to share the advice that he would give a young person trying to break into the field of an ocean related career and he said that you shouldn’t be afraid to broaden the scope of what you might be good at or what your interests are. Never miss a chance to take hold of an opportunity, and don’t be afraid to consider a non-traditional pathway.
I ended our conversation by asking Carl what he would be doing if he wasn’t currently working for NOAA, and he said he was sure he would still be in the maritime community in some way. Besides working for NOAA I found out that Carl enjoys taking flying lessons and he is currently working toward getting his pilot’s license. He has a home in Seattle where he lives, when not underway, with his wife and his 1 1/2 year old son.
Your Questions Answered!
I love getting questions via comments and emails, and so I wanted to do these questions justice by providing prompt answers. So here we go…
My first question was from Kirsten Buckmaster, a fellow teacher at INMS. She asked me if I have any specific duties from day to day on the ship. As a Teacher at Sea it is really up to me to insert myself into the everyday schedule of the ship. The Field Operations Officer (FOO) and the Commanding Officer (CO) sat down with me at the start of the leg and asked me what I was interested in doing while on board, and I told them that I was eager to do a little bit of everything. Each day the FOO posts the Plan of the Day (POD), and this tells you what specific tasks are going to be done for the day. Each day I look for my name on the POD to understand if I have any specific responsibilities. Some days it is up to me to go observe on the bridge or in the plot room. I am hoping to help with the deck department before my time is over, as well as try to better understand what the engineers do.
Next I had a question from one of my students Mr. Zachary Doyle. Zach asked me if I was getting seasick. Luckily, it turns out that I am not prone to sea sickness…yet. The POD gives the weather forecast, and the FOO makes sure to let the crew know if we are going to have any inclement weather. If I know the ship is going to be rockin’ and rollin’ I will take Dramamine which helps to prevent sea sickness. Also, the launches get shaken around a bit more so if I know I’m going out on a launch I will take some medicine the night before just in case.
Finally, my grandmother-in-law Liz Montagna asked me about the waves. I’ve learned out here that we need to be aware of two important things: sea wave height and swells. In simple terms, a swell is a wave that is not generated by the local wind. They are regular, longer period waves generated by distant weather systems. The wave height can be measured from the waves caused by the wind in the area where they are created. Luckily we haven’t had waves breaking on the deck. Liz also asked about who does the housekeeping. In my stateroom the answer is my roommate and I. We are responsible for keeping our living quarters neat and tidy. The deck department is mostly in charge of the rest of the ship. Each day I have met people in the passageways (halls) sweeping, mopping, and doing other necessary tasks to keep the ship looking good.
I love questions so please keep them coming! Remember you can post a comment/question on the blog or email me at email@example.com .
All is well in Alaska!
Did You Know…
I didn’t know how the Shumagin Islands got their name so I did some investigating. It turns out that Vitus Bering was the man who led an expedition to the islands in 1741. Nikita Shumagin was one of the sailors on this mission, but he unfortunately died of scurvy and was buried on Nagai Island.
NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Rainier July 29 – August 15, 2013
Mission: Hydrographic Survey Geographical Area of the Cruise: Shumagin Islands, Alaska Date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Weather Data from the Bridge: GPS location: 54°52.288’N, 159°55.055’W
Sky condition: Overcast (OVC) with Fog (FG)
Visibility: Less than 2 nautical miles (nm)
Wind: 120 degrees true, 13 knots (kt)
Sea level pressure: 1009.7 millibar (mb)
Sea wave height: 1 foot (ft)
Swell waves: 180 degrees true, 3 ft
Water temperature: 9.4°C
Air temperature: 12.2°C
Science and Technology Log
From the moment I stepped on to the NOAA Ship Rainier in port at the Coast Guard Base in Kodiak three days ago, it was apparent to me that this ship functions in order to acquire information. Hours upon hours of teamwork, dedication, money, and precise planning go in to making sure this ship gets to the right spot, functions properly, and has the correct instrumentation to collect the data. My goal for this post is to share with you all of the science that goes into making sure that this ship is able to perform the overall mission of doing hydrographic surveys.
First perhaps I should give a brief background of what a hydrographic survey is and why they are done. The NOAA Ship Rainier uses sonar in order to collect information about the ocean floor. Each time the ship, or any of the survey launches (smaller boats), use this sonar, they are surveying the area for hydrographic information.
This information is then processed and used to create nautical charts which NOAA produces for navigational purposes. These nautical charts contain information on ocean floor depth, but they also give detailed information on areas that may be hazardous to those navigating the waters in that area. I will stop there for now on the hydrographic surveys because the surveys have only just begun today on the ship. The ship has been in transit the past two days, meaning that we have been moving from port to our survey area. Little did I know how much science it takes to even get the ship to the survey area where the hydrographic surveys can begin.
If you are one of my students reading this blog, you may know how I say that science is everywhere. One of my students even asked me this past year, “Mrs. Sard, are you like ALWAYS thinking about science?” Well it turns out that science IS everywhere on this ship. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with several different crew members in my first few days, and they’ve been eager to explain the many functions of the ship and the crew. What is important to understand is that there are several departments that all must work together in order to allow the ship to function properly. Here is a brief breakdown of each department and what their main tasks are:
Wardroom – These are mostly members of the NOAA Corps which is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. Besides managing and operating the ship, these dedicated workers also function as scientists and engineers.
Survey – These are the scientists that are mostly in charge of the hydrographic data. They collect, process, and manage the information that is collected during the surveys.
Engineers – These people have the important task of keeping the ship in functioning order. They do things like maintain the engine room and respond to any mechanical type issues.
Electronics Technician (ET) – This crew is in charge of the technology on board the ship. They ensure that things like the computers, internet, and phones are all up in working condition.
Steward – This department is tasked with the job of feeding the crew members. (They do a great job, and I think I might actually gain weight while out a sea because I cannot say no to the delicious food they prepare!)
Deck – The deck crew members are responsible for things like driving the small launches, maintaining the ship’s equipment, and so on.
Visitors – These would be people, like me, who are only on board the ship temporarily. They have a specific purpose that usually falls within one of the other departments.
Navigating the Ship
Now that you are aware of the overall goal of the ship, and you are familiar with the departments, let me discuss the science that is needed to get the ship where we need to go. It was an overwhelming and exciting feeling to be on the bridge of the ship while we were getting underway. The Officer On Deck (OOD) was giving orders to both the helmsman, who marked his orders down on a marker board, and the “lee helm” or engine controls operated by ENS Poremba. The third mate was acting as the navigator and had precisely mapped out the route for safely and efficiently departing the Coast Guard base.
The Commanding Officer (CO) was overseeing all that was happening, along with several other officers. I was in awe of how smoothly everything came together, and how efficiently the people worked together as a team. LT Gonsalves eloquently said that the ship is like a “floating city” and that all of the pieces must come together in order for it to function.
As I awoke yesterday, after our first night out at sea, I could hear the fog horn coming from the bridge. I decided to go and observe again to see how things were functioning out at open sea. ENS Wall showed me how to do a GPS fix to make sure that we are following the plans laid out for navigation.
These are taken about every fifteen minutes. He used the current chart that was laid out as well as electronic GPS measurements and plotted them on the chart with a compass. He then marked the latitude and longitude with the time to show that we were on course at that moment.
The OOD, John Kidd, went on to explain a bit more about the navigation of the ship including the gyroscope. Simply put, a gyroscope is an instrument used for measuring and maintaining orientation while out at sea, but it’s not as simple as it looks. I noticed a sign that read “Gyro Error” and so I asked. John went on to tell me that the gyro error is the difference between true north and what the gyro thinks is north. The difference between true north and magnetic north is the combination of “variation” which is a function of local magnetic fields, and “deviation” which is the effect the magnetic fields aboard the boat have on the compass. The steel ship itself and all of the electricity on board have some crazy magnetic fields that interfere.
Finally, I went up to the bridge this morning to quickly get the weather data that I needed for my blog. What I thought would be a quick visit turned into a 30 minute conversation with the crew. It was remarkable to see all of the data that is collected each hour dealing with the weather. The conning officer is required to take the data once each hour and enter it into the computer. They don’t simply look out and take a rough estimate of the weather. It is a detailed process that takes a variety of instrumentation in order to get the quantified weather data that is needed. All of the weather data is then sent off to NOAA’s National Weather Service and is used to refine the local at-sea weather forecasts.
I couldn’t help but smile at all of the science and math that was taking place in order to have safe navigation through the sea. So much science goes in to making sure that the officers have accurate data in order to navigate the ship. This is one of my goals as a TAS: I want to show my students how many different opportunities they have, and the possible fields of science that NOAA has to offer.
When I arrived in Kodiak on Saturday, Avery Marvin, the previous Teacher at Sea (TAS) was still on board for one night. She took me on a tour of the ship, and gave me the low down on how everything functions. Avery and I decided that before departing on Monday, we would take the day on Sunday to explore the island of Kodiak. I couldn’t believe all of the wildlife I saw including the various creatures of the tide pools, bald eagles, sea otters, salmon, and so much more.
I have been so impressed by the functionality of the ship. Every inch of space is used, and the people on board truly understand what it means to work as a team. Yesterday we had our safety drills including Fire/Emergency and Abandon Ship. When the different alarms sounded, I was required to quickly get to my muster station where I was checked in and accounted for to the CO. I also was asked to try on my immersion suit. In all of the excitement, I wasn’t able to get a picture, but it was an experience to practice these drills.
I believe my body is starting to get accustomed to the constant movement of the ship. While sleeping in my rack (bed) at night, I can feel it as the ship sways back and forth. At times the waves are large, but for the most part it feels as though I’m being rocked to sleep.
Please post comments, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or information that you would like me to blog about. I’m looking forward to sharing more information on my experience with you next time!
Did You Know…
Each ship has it’s own call sign. These signs are displayed on the ship by flags that each represent one letter in the alphabet, and they are international symbols that are used. The call sign for the NOAA Ship Rainier is WTEF.
To ensure clearness when reading off these letters, the military alphabet is used. For example, if you were reading the call sign for the Rainier it would read Whiskey Tango Echo Foxtrot instead of just WTEF.
NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter
May 20 – 31, 2013
Mission: Right Whale Survey, Great South Channel Geographical Area of Cruise: North Atlantic Date: May 29, 2013
Weather Data from the Bridge:
Air temperature: 12.8 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit)
Surface water temperature: 11.8 degrees Celsius (53 degrees Fahrenheit)
Wind speed: 21 knots (25 miles per hour)
Relative humidity: 100%
Barometric pressure: 1023.5
Science and Technology Log
We finally had a right whale sighting today! It was a juvenile and was quite close to the ship. It was exciting to see it frolicking.
Allison Henry, chief scientist, recently told me that over 70% of the right whales they see have entanglement scars. The scars are due to entanglement in fishing lines.
Sometimes teams of scientists with special training attempt to disentangle a whale. It can be dangerous work. The video below shows a team working to remove fishing lines from a whale in 2011. The scientists first need to attach the small boat to the whale with lines so they can stay with it while it swims until it exhausts itself. Only when the whale is tired, can the team work to cut away the entanglement.
Watch this video of a whale disentanglement.
The other hazard is that whales tend to rest and feed near the surface of the water in the shipping lanes, and can be hit by ships.
During the day, from 7am-7pm, the scientists take turns on watch. This means we watch for whales using “big eyes” which are giant binoculars. We spend 30 minutes on left watch, 30 minutes in the center, and 30 minutes on the right watch. At the center station we record sightings and update the environment using a computer program designed for this purpose.
I visited the Wheel House on the ship today. This is also called the bridge, and is the control center of the ship (similar to the cockpit of an airplane). The wheel house has many controls that the crew needs to know how to use, and it takes years of training to be able to command a ship. I spoke with Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Taylor and Executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Michael Levine about the workings of the Gunter.
This is the wheel or helm of the ship. The Gunter is one of the last NOAA ships with this type of helm. The newer ships have a helm that looks more similar to that which you find in a race car. Although the helm is still used to steer the ship at times, especially when docking, the steering is left to the auto pilot the majority of the time.
I know some of you were concerned about how the officers could see to steer the boat in the fog. The ship has an ARPA radar system that shows where other boats in the area are in relation to our ship. The radar also shows the course our ship is taking and alerts the crew to anything that may be in the path of the ship.
The throttles control the speed of the ship. The maximum speed of ship is 10 knots which is about 12 miles per hour. The ship uses diesel fuel and it takes about 1,200 gallons of fuel to run the ship for a 24 hour period. At night they will sometimes shut down one engine which makes the ship go slower, but which saves about 400 gallons or $1,600 a day. This is one reason why we anchored for 3 days during the bad weather. The weather made surveying whales impossible so it didn’t make sense to run the ship during that time. The cost of running the Gunter is $11,000/day on average. This includes everything to do with sailing including salaries, food, etc.
I know that some of my first graders have been asking about where I sleep and eat on the ship. Below are pictures of my stateroom and the galley of the ship. Two very important places!
NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette July 1 — 14, 2011
Mission: IEA (Integrated Ecosystem Assessment)
Geographical Area: Kona Region of Hawaii
Captain: Kurt Dreflak
Science Director: Samuel G. Pooley, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist: Evan A. Howell
Date: July 11, 2011
Surf. Water Temp.
Surf. Water Sal.
Deputy Director of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (NOAA): Mike Seki
Duty: I oversee all operations at the Pacific Islands Science Center. That includes all operation: four research divisions, administration and information technology, science operations. Under science operations the Science Center has about 30 small boats (12 to 30 feet) and the Oscar Elton Sette ship (224 feet) to support the mission…
What do you like about the job? It allows me to see how it all comes together; all facets of the science and how we accomplish our mission.
Experience/ Education: I have BS in biology and have worked with NOAA for 31 years. While working, I went back to school to get my masters and PHD. In today’s world, to be credible, you really need to have an education. Most of our research scientists have a PHD.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job? Trying to do what we can with limited resources. We have to prioritize and that involves making tough decisions.
Captain (CO) Commanding Officer: LCDR Kurt Dreflak, NOAA
Duty: I have responsibility for the whole ship; safety, operations, moral, everything.
What do you like about the job? I like it best when everyone works together and all the pieces fall into place. We get a chance to see things most people don’t. It‘s a unique opportunity that we shouldn’t take for granted.
Experience/ Education: I obtained a BS in geosystems in environmental management, worked as a geologist at an environmental consulting firm, and have forked for NOAA for 12 years.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job?
There are things you don’t have any control over.
Executive Officer (XO): Chief Mate Richard (Pat) Patana
Duty: Second in command after Commanding Officer. I do the administrative work for the ship.
What do you like about the job? I like the NOAA mission, and the job pays well.
Experience/ Education: I am a licensed Captain. I am from Alaska and used to be a commercial long line fisherman in Alaska, Canada, and the West Coast catching shrimp, halibut, and salmon. Then I worked with charter fishing boats.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job?
The administrative duties.
LCDR (Lieutenant Commander): Hung Tran, USPHS
LCDR (Lieutenant Commander): Hung Tran, USPHS
Duty: Medical officer- Emergency medical care on the ship.
I actually work for the United States Public Health Service.
What do you like about the job? Meeting new people
Experience/ Education: Eight years of schooling in Chicago, IL. I use to work for the Bureau of Prisons in Honolulu.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job? The ship is kind of like a “mini-jail”. We are out to sea for long periods and you can’t go anywhere. The confinement can be hard.
What is the most common reason for seeing the doctor at sea? Sea sickness and headaches.
Field Operations officer (OPS): LT Colin Little, NOAA
Duty: A liaison between scientists and command officer (CO)
What do you like about the job? I was trained as a scientist, so I like to use that background to better understand where the scientists are coming from and what they want to do, then use the information to relay it to the Captain (CO).
Experience/ Education: I have a BA in biology and a Masters in evolutionary biology. I have worked my way up to this position by doing various jobs. I work onshore and on the ship at sea. We get transferred every few years, so I will be going to Oregon next.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job?Being away from home.
Chief Scientist: Evan Howell
Duty: Directs the operations of the scientists, coordinates activities working with the OPS to make sure the bridge understands what the scientists are trying to accomplish, and writes report on progress.
What do you like about the job? Although it is tough while we’re going through the process of gathering data, to me it is very satisfying in the end to have something that people can use to further studies of the ecosystem.
Experience /Education: I have a PHD; however, I didn’t have it when I began the job with NOAA. What’s important for this position is to be able to organize all the different studies, communicate with the scientists and know when to push or back off. You need to be able to see the “big picture” of the project and keep it going forward.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job? It is kind of like a juggling act keeping everything going smoothly. There are so many activities happening at the same time, it is sometimes very challenging.
Research Fishery Biologist: Donald
Duty: Research projects dealing with oceanography. (For example; protected species, turtles and larval transports). On this cruise, I am helping lead the midwater trawling operations.
What do you like about the job? The variety. You don’t get bored with one thing. I tend to get bored working on just one thing at a time.
Experience/ Education: I got my masters in biological oceanography, went to work at NOAA, and then went back to school for my PHD.
Can you explain the hardest part your job? Short deadlines and not enough time.
PHD Students: Both up nights supervising the trawls, organizing, recording data, and writing reports.
Johanna: She is working on her PHD through UH in oceanography. Johanna has been working closely with Donald researching larval transport.
John: He is also working on his PHD in preparative biology through the Museum of Natural History in New York. His specialty is studying mictophids.
Scientist (on ship)/Science Operation Lead (on land): Noriko
Duty: My primary duty is to serve as the PIFSC Vessel Coordinator, and to oversee the science portion of the NOAA Marine Natural Monuments Program. My group also handles permits, and makes sure our internal programs are properly in compliance with NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act- 1969. On the ship I am working acoustics.
What do you like about the job? Overseeing a great team of people that help PIFSC scientists go out into the field to conduct important research.
Experience/Education: I got my BS degree, became a survey technician, and then went back to school for my masters in environmental management.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job? Coordinating with people outside of our structure can be challenging. We work with the US Fish and Wildlife, the State of Hawaii, Guam and Samoa, the Marianas, and other sections of NOAA.
Stewards (Clementine, Jay, and Jeff)
What do you like about the job?
Chief Steward: Clementine: My passion is cooking. So I enjoy my job. I can put any kind of food I want out here. The sky’s the limit!
2nd Cook: Jay: I love being on the ocean and living in Hawaii. And I enjoy working with Clementine who is a native of Samoa. She teaches me about Polynesian and Asian cuisine.
Clementine: I used to run my own business in America Samoa. It was a catering business called Mai Sei Aute which means “my hibiscus flower” in Samoan. I catered to a private school named Pacific Horizon, with 130 students and did all the work myself; cooking, delivering, and cleaning. The way I got this job is a long story. I started out on the ship called Ka’imimoana. My husband heard one of the cooks left, so I flew over to Hawaii and was working two weeks later. Then I moved over to the OES seven years later.
Jay: I’m from Rhode Island and graduated from Johnson and Wales University where I earned a BS in culinary arts.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job?
Long hours! We work 12-14 hours a day while at sea with no days off. If we are at sea 30 days, we work 30 days. Another thing is you don’t always have your own room. Sometimes you share with another person.
Deck and Engineering Departments
Chief Engineer: Harry
Duty: I am responsible for the engineering department on board the ship. That includes the engine room, hydraulic, electric, all the equipment, and the propulsion plant that keeps the ship underway.
What do you like about the job?
It is a “hands on” type of job, and I enjoy repairing equipment.
I spent 22 years in the Navy and obtained my Chief Engineer License through the Coast Guard.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job?
Finding good qualified people is difficult. You can delegate the work, but not the responsibility. So if the employee I hire doesn’t do the job, I am responsible for getting it done.
Chief Boatswain: Kenji
Duty: Supervise the deck department
What do you like about the job? When everything runs smoothly
Education/Experience: I’ve worked for NOAA 24 years. Before that I was a commercial fisherman on an AKU Sampan.
Explain the hardest part of your job: Rough seas make the work more difficult and dangerous.
What do you like about the job?
Bruce: Everything! I like working with the machines, the science, helping the environment, and the people. I like NOAA’s mission. And my boss; he’s the best boss I ever had. He has patience with us.
Ray: I love everything about my job. I like the fact that I am at sea and learn things every day and meet new people all the time. The science part of it opens up a whole new world to me. It is something that I wish everyone could experience.
Phil: I agree with NOAA’s mission of ocean management and conservation. This ship, in particular, is a nice place to work because of the people.
Bruce: I have worked for NOAA for 10 years. Before that, I was a long line fisherman; mostly AHI. I also worked construction with heavy equipment.
Ray: I was in the Navy when I was young. Then I attended Prince George Community College in Maryland and Rets Electronic School in New Jersey. I had my own electronics business. NOAA sends us to different places for training; for example Mitags (Maritime Institute of technology and graduate studies).
Phil: I have worked real estate appraisal for 20 plus years. I used to have my own real estate appraisal business in Honolulu, worked for a bank doing appraisals, and also for the city and state. Right before this job, I worked on an import ship. Then I was trained by NOAA at the Hawaii Maritime Institute. They trained me on firefighting, lifesaving, and construction of ships, lookouts, and also personal responsibility.
Mills: I went to high school and college in South Carolina to get a degree in marine technology. Then I worked in Alaska for salmon hatcheries. I moved back to South Carolina and worked for the SCDNR (Dept. of Natural Resources). Five years ago, NOAA called me and asked if I could go to Dutch Harbor in two weeks, and I’ve been with them ever since. I started out working in the hydrographic side of things.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job?
Bruce: Nothing really. I like my job.
Ray: Dealing with negativity issues and people conflicts.
Phil: I would say it has to be adjusting to the schedules. We don’t have a regular 8 hour on, 8 hour off schedule. It varies.
Mills: The hardest part is being away from the world; people, the social life. But then that is the best part of it also.
Coxswain: small boat operator:Jamie
Duty: I’m in charge of the Boating Safety Program and Instructor of Boating Courses for the scientific staff and I help the Pacific Science Center with research boats. There are 24 small boats.
What do you like about the job?: Being on the water and driving the boats
Experience/ Education: I received a degree in marine biology at UC Santa Cruz. Then I began doing field projects and became known to NOAA.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job? Doing the certificates for boating courses along with paperwork and record keeping is my least favorite part of the job.
ET: Electronic Technician: Ricardo
Duty: I’m in charge of all the electronics, information technology, navigational system, communication system, sensors, and computer network.
What do you like about the job? I enjoy it when I get a chance to help others, like the time I was called ashore to help some people on a small island. I also like that I have a partner to share the job with. We switch every two months (onshore/offshore). I am glad to be able to travel, the pay is good, and I like accomplishing things that make the ship look good.
Experience/ Education: I did not go to college, and barely finished high school. Then I joined the Air Force. There is only one tech person, and that is me.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job? Climbing the mast where the antennas are and writing weekly reports are things I could glad give to someone else.
Research Oceanographer: Reka Domokos
Duty: Works as an active acoustician for NOAA at the Pacific Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu.
What do you like about the job?
I like that in my job there is always something new, so I am always learning. I like to look at the big picture to see how the different components of an ecosystem fit together and influence each other. I like formulating hypotheses, and then test them to see if they hold. I am also detail oriented so I enjoy writing computer scripts for my data analyses. In addition, I like contributing to the “collective knowledge” by writing articles that summarized and describe my research and results.
I have a Ph.D. in physical oceanography. I attended Berkley for a BS in zoology, then UH Manoa for a masters in zoology and a masters in physical oceanography. I also earned my Ph.D. at UH Manoa where I taught graduate courses in Zoology and Oceanography before working with NOAA. I believe that sometimes more experience can be substituted for education when applying for a job.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job?
Sitting in an office everyday can sometimes be hard, but spending a month, or sometimes more, a year at sea and going to conferences help to break the monotony. I also have to take care of administrative duties as part of my job which is necessary but not enjoyable for me.
Aimee: This is a special case. Aimee was a previous Hollings Scholar who now works at the University of Michigan and is on the ship working co-op with NOAA in the acoustics department. She lives in Michigan and got her degree in Marine Science Biology, but would like to stay in Hawaii. Before boarding the ship she was researching wind farms and fish. She collects data so that they can see if the underwater wind turbines will affect the fish .
Survey Technician: Stephanie
Duty: Responsible for data collection from shipboard oceanographic sensors; CTD deployment and retrieval, water filtering for chlorophyll-a samples
What do you like about the job? I like the simple life on the ship. There are no roads with traffic and you don’t have to carry around your wallet or keys.
Experience/Education: I have my bachelor’s degree, and plan on going back to school this fall. I have worked for NOAA for two and a half years.
Mammal Research Observers: Allan and Jessica
Mammal Observation-So far we have taken over 2700 photos and several tissue samples for researching dolphins and whales.
Allan: What do you like about the job? I like being on the water and getting paid for it at the same time.
Experience/ Education: I earned my engineering degree, but didn’t use it. I began volunteering for whale watching and doing volunteer work for the University of Hawaii coral reef research. I have lived in Hawaii for 14 years, but recently started spending half of my year in Montana, so that I can experience the four seasons.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job? The toughest thing is not finding any dolphin or whale species. It makes a long day. If the water is rough, it is harder to see them. The best condition to spot them in is when it is smooth and calm.
Jessica: What do you like about the job? I love small boats, being on the water, and finding less frequently seen species.
Experience/ Education: I attended Hawaii Pacific University and have a master’s in marine science. Right now I’m working a one year position for NOAA called the NIMB Fellowship.
Can you explain the hardest part of your job? The same thing Allan said, coming home without seeing anything is disappointing.
Laura: She is attending Stanford University as a senior, majoring in Earth Systems with an emphasis on Oceanography. It includes a wide range of classes, and she has had very interesting traveling experiences while learning. Right now on the OES, she is doing an internship working with the CTD process. This is a paid job with NOAA. Laura’s past experiences include sailing around Cape Cod, a trip to Australia for a Study Abroad Program, and a five-week trip to the Line Islands South of Hawaii. Her plan is to go to school a fifth year to earn a master’s degree while also working in the field.
Nikki: After this cruise, Nikki will have 82 days at sea under her belt. She started going out during high school in New Jersey. Her charter school had a vessel. Right now she is in the Hollings Scholar Program through NOAA. She applied and received a two year scholarship for her junior and senior year of college. She is attending the University of Miami. And when she finishes that, she has a conditional acceptance to attend RASMAS (University of Miami Science Grad School) where she wants to get her masters in Aquaculture.
Jonathan: Miami is Jonathan’s home and he is also in the Hollings Scholar Program. He is a senior majoring in Marine Science Chemistry. He would like to attend grad school, but needs to make up his mind what area to study because it becomes very specialized. His two choices are ocean acidification or biofuels. After the cruise he will be going to Washington DC to present what he has learned.
Meagan: She lives in Honolulu and attends University of Hawaii. In December she will obtain her degree in Marine Biology. She has been employed with NOAA since Nov. 2010 working at the Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center with data collected around the N.Pacific Transition Zone. On this cruise she is helping with the acoustics. Meagan also works at the Waikiki Aquarium educating others about marine life. She hopes to continue with NOAA and educating the public about conserving and protecting the ocean.
UH Marine Research Technician: Jennie Mowatt—
-Preparation and deployment of the Ocean Glider SG513