Kevin McMahon: Getting Ready, June 19, 2014

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Kevin McMahon

Aboard NOAA Ship Pisces

 July 5 – July 18, 2014


Mission:  Southeast Fisheries- Independent Survey

Geographic area of the cruise: Atlantic Ocean

Date:  June 19, 2014

Personal Log

Hi, my name is Kevin McMahon. I am a sixth grade science teacher at Renfroe Middle School in Decatur, Georgia.  I am excited to be a part of the 2014 Teacher at Sea program.

Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated with the ocean.  I spent many summers in Ocean City, Maryland.  I loved watching blue crabs and horseshoe crabs scurry across the bottom of the bay. I loved skimboarding on the thin film of water left behind by a retreating wave. And, I was amazed at how rough the surf could become when a storm was heading toward us.

My favorite shows on T.V. also had water themes.  Marine Boy was a cartoon about a boy who could stay underwater and breathe by chewing a special gum.  How cool is that? I also liked The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.  He was one of the first people to take a camera underwater and share his discoveries of life under the sea.

I recently celebrated my birthday.  My daughter Becky made me a birthday cake shaped like the earth. The cake has four layers to match the four layers of the earth. If you look closely, you might be able to see a picture of the NOAA ship, Pisces, in the Atlantic Ocean.  The Pisces is the research vessel that will be my home for two weeks. Thank you, Becky!

Kevin McMahon, Earth birthday cake
Kevin McMahon showing off the birthday cake made by his daughter, Becky.
Earth layer birthday cake
A birthday cake with 4 layers, just like our earth.

I won’t tell you how old I am, but I will give you this hint.  I have travelled around the sun 50 times since I was born!  How many times have you revolved around the sun?

In a few weeks I will have the opportunity to learn more about the ocean and share it with you.  I will be helping Nate Bacheler, a scientist with NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), collect data on important fish species in the Atlantic Ocean, like snapper and grouper.

Red Snapper
A red snapper at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Credit: NOAA

Why are these fish “important”?  These fish are fish that humans like to catch and eat.  Part of our mission is to learn about the health of these fish populations and to learn whether or not they are being overfished.  If people catch too many of them, there might not be enough of these fish to help feed humans in the future.

You can find out more about the work by clicking this link:

Southeast Fisheries- Independent Survey

Our ship will be leaving from Morehead City, North Carolina.  As a college student, I spent a summer near Morehead City taking a marine biology class at Duke University’s marine lab in Beaufort, NC.  I have fond memories of my time on the coast of North Carolina and am looking forward to seeing how it has changed since I was there.

The next time that I write, I will be in the Atlantic Ocean. I am looking forward to sharing the science with you and sharing what I learn about the teamwork involved in making this scientific expedition safe and successful.


Kirk Beckendorf, July 26, 2004

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kirk Beckendorf
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown

July 4 – 23, 2004

Mission: New England Air Quality Study (NEAQS)
Geographical Area:
Northwest Atlantic Ocean
July 26, 2004

Daily Log

This morning there was a big press conference at the BROWN. A lot of very important people were here. I got to meet the head of NOAA, Admiral Lautenbacher. I found out his wife is a middle school science teacher. Senator Judd Gregg from New Hampshire was also here. Since the BROWN is sailing out today everyone who will be out on the second leg of the research cruise had to be on board at 1:00. I took some pictures of Kevin as he boarded. This time as the BROWN pulled away from the docks, went under the drawbridge and headed out of port I was standing on shore taking pictures and waving to those on the ship. Three weeks ago I was the one standing on the ship deck waving to those still on shore. I’ll sure miss being out there. I just hope they don’t have fog all of the time.