George Hademenos: Do You Know the Way to San Jose?…Oops Siri, I Meant to Say Biloxi, July 18, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

George Hademenos

Aboard R/V Tommy Munro

July 19 – 27, 2022

Mission: Gulf of Mexico Summer Groundfish Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Date: July 18, 2022

The date July 16, 2022 might seem like a typical Saturday, an ordinary day on the calendar to enjoy the last days of Summer before school starts around the corner. And this would be the case any other year. This year was different. It was a day that was two years in the making and one that this physics teacher could not come soon enough. It was in 2019 that I received the great news I was selected as a NOAA Teacher at Sea for the 2020 research cruise season. I was beyond ready for such an incredible learning opportunity. It would however turn out not to be…at least for the present. This is when life (also known as COVID) intervened. Eventually, thanks to vaccinations, mitigation strategies and effective treatments, conditions started to improve and in 2022, the research cruise season was slowly becoming a reality and I finally received my cruise assignment. Today (July 16, 2022) is the formal beginning of the cruise. So, how did the day begin?

I awoke at my usual time (about 7:00 am-ish) and got washed up and ready for the day ahead. I had begun the packing process several days before and had my luggage ready to go.

However, it doesn’t seem official.

My flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Gulfport was scheduled for late afternoon and had arranged for shuttle pickup at 2:40 pm. This meant I had a lot of time on my hands. I took care of school related professional development activities in preparation for the upcoming school year so it was time well spent.

But still, it doesn’t seem official.

Minutes and the hours passed by quickly and the shuttle driver showed up on time. I placed my luggage in the back, took my seat, fastened my seat belt and we were on the way to the airport.

Even then, it didn’t seem official.

The driver was very pleasant and personable, which is not always a certainty with shuttle drivers.  He got me to the proper terminal, informed me of my gate number and I was on the way to check in my luggage and to security. I now had some waiting to do so I found a seat close to my gate, pulled out my iPhone, logged into my Facebook page and checked in.

screenshot of Facebook post, reading: "George James Hademenos is traveling to Biloxi, Mississippi. I can't think of a better way to wrap up summer than a science cruise aboard the R/V Tommy Munro as a NOAA Teacher at Sea! Let's get this started!"
An announcement on Facebook to kick off my journey as a NOAA Teacher at Sea.

Now, it was official. Even though I knew I would eventually be going on a research cruise for two years, it is not truly official until it is Facebook official. Now all I needed to do is get to Biloxi. After a 4-hour “pilots are past their working hours limit…we have to wait for a new crew” delay, we finally were allowed to board the plane. The flight was a relatively short one and pleasant one at that.

Screenshot of FlightAware report showing the flight path from Dallas to Biloxi, plus details, including that the departure was 3 hours 53 minutes late
An overview of the flight, courtesy of FlightAware, from DFW to Gulfport where I will then travel to Biloxi for my cruise.

The next day was a rest day prior to the departure of the cruise. The weather was gorgeous and served as a perfect opportunity to tour Biloxi. I would like to share with you a couple of photos of my self-guided tour.

top photo: a large overhead arch reads "BILOXI" with the years 1699 and 1999 on each side. bottom photo: an informative sign titled "Biloxi City Park & Welcome Sign" (other print too small to read)
Photos from my self-guided walking tour of Biloxi. A historical Biloxi Welcome Sign located a short distance from my hotel.
another Biloxi sign on a pedestrian walkway over a street
Photos from my self-guided walking tour of Biloxi. A Biloxi sign located down the street from my hotel.
the guitar-shaped sign on the outside of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Photos from my self-guided walking tour of Biloxi. There are 8 casinos in Biloxi with one of them being the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. It is a casino hard to miss with its upright large guitar prominently situated in front.
images of an informative sign (too small to read); front of City Hall; side view of City Hall
Photos from my self-guided walking tour of Biloxi. A collage of photos depicting Biloxi City Hall.
mural depicting Dr. Martin Luther King on a building along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd; the street sign is visible at the intersection
Photos from my self-guided walking tour of Biloxi. This is one of my favorite photos of a mural depicting Dr. Martin Luther King taken at Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.

As I was heading back to the hotel, I was looking for a bite to eat and walked by a restaurant I had heard rave reviews about so I decided to stop in. The restaurant was Half Shell Oyster House and the reviews are spot on!

top: sandwich paper reading Half Shell Oyster House. bottom: shrimp po-boy
Photos from my self-guided walking tour of Biloxi. Lunch consisting of a shrimp po-boy and fries courtesy of Half Shell Oyster House.  

I got a shrimp po-boy and it was just as good as it looks. It was a great relaxing day in Biloxi but the exciting part of the trip happens tomorrow when we board the R/V Tommy Munro for the cruise. There will be more detailed information about the ship, the research, the crew and the day-to-day operations of the science team in subsequent posts. In fact, the next blog post will be shared with you from the ship.

As I round out this post, I would like to let you know of a couple of items to expect in the blog posts that follow that will not only provide insight to the research conducted aboard the R/V Tommy Munro and the NOAA Teacher at Sea program, but also will inspire and stimulate interest in learning more about marine science.

I would first like to introduce you to a Google Site that I created for this experience entitled, Welcome to my Classroom at Sea. The site can be accessed by the link below:

In this site, I not only introduce myself and discuss the research to be conducted on my assigned cruise, but I have also included ideas for ocean-related projects as well as a host of various resources to explore all aspects of marine science.

Secondly, I would like to introduce you to a recurring segment on this blog that centers around the Ocean Literacy Framework and the seven essential principles of ocean sciences, shown in the infographic below.

"The Essential Principles of Ocean Sciences: 1) Earth has one big ocean with many features. 2) The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth. 3) The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate. 4) The ocean makes Earth habitable. 5) The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems. 6) The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected. 7) The ocean is largely unexplored.
An infographic detailing the 7 Essential Principles of Ocean Science, developed to improve Ocean Literacy in the classroom.  

The seven principles outline the integral fundamental concepts that all students Grades K – 12 should not only recognize from their science experiences but have an in-depth understanding as to how ocean sciences relate to the sustainability of and human life on Earth. Each blog post will highlight one of the seven principles of Ocean Literacy and an invitation to respond to three questions about the principle. There are no right or wrong answers – the questions serve not as an opportunity to answer yes or no, or to get answers right or wrong; rather, these questions serve as an opportunity not only to assess what you know or think about the scope of the principle but also to learn, explore, and investigate the demonstrated principle. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please indicate so in the blog and I would be glad to answer your questions and initiate a discussion.

For this blog post, I will start with Principle 1: Earth has one big ocean with many features. After you have had some time to think about this principle, please click on the link below:

which will take you to a Padlet (an electronic bulletin board) with three questions to answer. Please click on the rounded plus sign and record your answer on the blank note that appears under each column. Once you have finished typing your response, click on Publish in the upper right-hand corner and you are done with that question. Once you finish your responses for all three questions, you may then close the page. Thank you for participating in this exercise and I look forward to reading your responses.

Dana Kosztur: Introduction, March 23, 2018

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Kosztur

Aboard NOAA ship Pisces

April 5-18, 2018

Mission: SEAMAP Reef Fish Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico

Date: Friday, March 23, 2018

Personal Log

Ocean Springs, MS
Hello from the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  I am a 7th grade science teacher at St. Martin Middle School in Ocean Springs.  This is my 5th year as a St. Martin Yellow Jacket and my 17th year as an educator. I currently teach science to over 100 seventh graders every day.  This is most definitely a challenge, but one I enjoy taking on. Teachers are always looking for ways to improve classroom instruction and grab student interest.  I applied to NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program hoping to accomplish both of those tasks. Because we live so close to the Gulf of Mexico, it is a big part of my students’ lives.  I will use the experience and knowledge I gain at sea to link our curriculum to something they see every day. This will give real value and relevance to the content they learn in class. I have already spent some time explaining my trip and NOAA’s mission to my students.  They are interested and excited about my adventure. Most of them have written questions that they want me to answer in my future blogs. Students, keep checking back to see if your question is posted or just to make sure Mrs. K hasn’t fallen overboard.

I am eager to spend two weeks on the NOAA ship Pisces. I love the Gulf of Mexico and I can’t wait to learn more about it. My husband and I spend every possible weekend, on our on boat usually heading to one of Mississippi’s beautiful barrier islands. We spend most of our vacation days on Gulf beaches and we even got married on the beach in Orange Beach, AL.  IMG_0137[2]

In just a few weeks I will board Pisces in Pascagoula, MS, and join the crew on Leg 3 of a 4 Leg reef fish survey. I will be at sea for 14 days and disembark in Tampa, Florida. I am thrilled I have the opportunity to be on a fishing vessel.  I really enjoy fishing and I love seeing marine life. I feel like this is going to be very interesting and I am excited to do this type of hands-on research.

The next time I write I will be officially at sea. I know it won’t be easy to be away from home.  I will certainly miss my family, friends, and SMMS.  My students wrote me letters to read while I am on the boat to help combat homesickness.  I can’t wait to read them.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to take this trip and I look forward to sharing what I am learning along the way.

Don’t forget to check back in 13 days.

paddleboarding          MS barrier islands
My husband and I with Katie Bug
Did You Know?

The Pisces has a multi-beam echo sounder (MBES) that allows scientist to measure and count fish by the reflection of sound off their bodies. It projects a fan-shaped beam of sound that can also be used to map the seafloor.

Andi Webb: At Sea on the Oregon II, July 12, 2014

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Andi Webb
Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
July 11 – 19, 2014

Mission: SEAMAP Summer Groundfish Survey
Geographical Area: Gulf of Mexico
Date: July 12, 2014

Weather Data: 28 Degrees Celsius 76 Percent Humidity
Wind Speed: 6 knots
Lat/Lon: -86.100708, 30.0353069
Science and Technology Log

Arriving in Mobile, Alabama was exciting as I was picked up from the airport and driven to Pascagoula, Mississippi. Kim Johnson, the Research Fishery Biologist and Field Party Chief, was ready to greet me and quickly showed me all around the Oregon II. I must say it’s quite impressive! Her excitement was contagious as we began this adventure. We participated in safety drills because safety certainly must come first!

Safety First on the Oregon II

This is the orange "Gumby" suit that will keep you warm in the event of an abandon ship emergency. The safety drills occurred after departure to sea.
This is the orange “Gumby” suit that will keep you warm in the event of an abandon ship emergency.

While sorting plankton from algae and preparing the plankton to be placed in labeled jars, we found these two little guys!

Some unexpected little guys while sorting plankton

My bunk on the Oregon II

DSCN4713 After a long day of meeting everyone and getting settled in my stateroom on the Oregon II, it was time to get some sleep in my bottom bunk.

Christina Peters: Introduction, July 3, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Chris Peters
Onboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
July 10 – 19, 2013

Mission: SEAMAP Summer Groundfish Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico, leaving from Pascagoula, MS
Date: July 3, 2013

Welcome to my NOAA blog!

A little about my background…

Christine Peters
Christine Peters

I am Christina (Chris) Peters, from Farmland Elementary School in Rockville, Maryland. I have been a fourth grade teacher at Farmland for the past eight years, after trying out some other careers. While my past teaching has included all subjects, I am excited to get to focus more on science this coming year as my team will be departmentalizing and I will be teaching two classes of science. We spend half the school year learning about life sciences and the environment.

I grew up only a few miles from where I teach today, and was the third of ten children in my family. My father loved to fish and used to take us fishing, in turns of course, in his seventeen foot motor boat. Most often we fished in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of New Jersey, where my family frequently visited. We also fished in the Chesapeake Bay on occasion. One of my favorite summer meals was fresh bluefish. These experiences taught me to love the water, and to care about protecting that environment.

My father and I after a fishing trip. I was about ten, the same age as many of my students.
My father and I after a fishing trip. I was about ten, the same age as many of my students.

In addition to learning about and participating in the SEAMAP Summer Groundfish Survey, I will be learning something else completely new to me – how to blog! While I consider myself pretty technologically informed, I am new to blogging and am very excited, and a little nervous, about writing my own blog describing my Teacher at Sea experience.

Our mission on Oregon II

I will be flying to Mississippi next week and will be joining the crew of Oregon II on July 10 to participate in the SEAMAP Summer Groundfish Survey. To see pictures of the Oregon II, and to learn more about the ship, you can visit the website that describes details of the ship, as well as the different past and present projects for which Oregon II has been used. We will be departing from Pascagoula, Mississippi and measuring data on groundfish in the Gulf of Mexico. The Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) is a state/federal program designed to collect, manage and disseminate fishery-independent data in the southeastern U.S. I am excited to learn more about how the scientists and crew actually complete the surveys and record data. One of my goals is to pass along what I learn to everyone who reads my blog.

Furthermore, while the Groundfish Survey is the mission of the scientists and crew onboard Oregon II, I will have an additional goal of learning all about the jobs of the crew, and sharing much of that information with the readers of my blog. Hopefully, when you read about these exciting and important careers, many of you will consider the possibility of pursuing one similar to those described.

To all my upcoming fourth grade students, I am looking forward to adapting the data collection tools I learn about to our science activities in the coming year. I hope my past students will visit my blog and think about connections they can make to our fourth grade science units where we created and observed our own model ecosystems.

See you at sea!