Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 24, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 24, 2010

Our last full day in Samoa dawned cloudy and somewhat cooler. Or perhaps we are beginning to get used to the heat and humidity. Yesterday was about 90 with a heat index of 105 and today was predicted to be similar but turned out to be cooler without the sun. The few times the sun did come out, it got steamy.
A rainy morning
A rainy morning
A quiet Sunday in Apia means not so much traffic and streets you can simply wander around on without anyone hawking Lava Lava’s, local potato chips, or veggies.
Another common resident of the town
Another common resident of the town
It was just us and the pigs. This little porker is a Number 1 Pig, or a small size. We never saw one but some of the crew mentioned Number 6 Pigs that they saw about town.
Flowers and fog
Flowers and fog
We actually didn’t do much either, not just because the town was shut down, but because it was a very rainy day. Tomorrow we begin out journey back to Montana. We will try to post something tomorrow, if not our next post will be from Montana.
A great home away from home
A great home away from home
Thank you for joining us on this adventure and a special thanks to the NOAA Teacher at Sea Program and the Officers and Crew of the good ship Ka’Imimoana for making this possible.

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 23, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 23, 2010

Wow! The Captain’s Luau was something else. We all got on a bus to Aggie Gray’s Resort at 5:30 in a tropical downpour and drove for about an hour through the Samoan countryside. As we drove we passed many small villages where it seemed everyone would wave at us. Once we got to the resort we took a look around and then we were seated for the luau, which included roast pig, fish, chicken, sweet potato, rice, noodles, coleslaw, and a variety of desserts.
View from the resort
View from the resort
While we were eating we were entertained by local music and dance.
A cultural experience
A cultural experience
…and for the finale the fire dance.
Fire dancers!
Fire dancers!

Saturday is market day in Apia. While there are vendors pretty much everywhere in Apia, there is also a central market where local goods crafts and other items are sold.

Art with the harbor in the background
Art with the harbor in the background

The main market is made up of many stalls, similar to a flea market. Some of the vendors have only Lava Lava’s (the local wrap skirt) and some have woodcarvings and other stalls have designs on the locally made Tapa Cloth.

Goods at the market
Goods at the market

Tapa is made from tree bark, and from listening to the tour guide at the Robert Lewis Stevenson home in Samoa; typically the paper mulberry or the breadfruit tree is used.

Art galore!
Art galore!

The grocery stores are very different than those we are used to in Montana. They are fairly small but have goods similar to those available to us. It is not uncommon to see small open air restaurants that sell fish “n” chips, chicken and other Samoan fair. The one pictured here is right next to the Samoan Central bank.
Fish n ChipsChurches are quite an influence here. We passed many villages, churches and church schools on our trip to Aggie Grays resort yesterday evening. Some of the churches located in the countryside were as large as the one pictured below (located on the main street of Apia).

A local church
A local church

By about 2PM everything in town was shutting down in preparation of Sunday so we began to head back to the ship. The after noon gets a little warm and humid, and even the dogs like to find a shady spot to cool and recharge. Not a bad idea in the tropics.

Dogs are a common sight in town
Dogs are a common sight in town

Once we have a chance to do the same we plan on joining some of the crew for dinner at one of the local restaurants that is close to the ship. Maybe even the rainforest restaurant, which looks like a rainforest inside and out.

A delicious dinner spot
A delicious dinner spot

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 22, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

FedEx Friends_2Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 22, 2010

The first thing that needs to go in the Blog is a Big Thank You to the great folks at the Apia FedEx Office. They were very helpful and without them (and NOAA) Rick would have had a big headache getting the 300 plus shrunken cups back to the USA. His students don’t know how lucky they are to have such great friends in Samoa. Today began early with an invitation from Bob to join him on a drive about this part of the island.

We first hit the city center where the only McDonalds in Samoa is found (we actually avoided this American tradition in favor of the local fare). For lunch we stopped at a roadside café and had fish and chips for $6.50 Tala (or about $3.00 US) a heck of a deal, and it was fresh and cooked to order.

Being a tourist
Being a tourist

While we had a rental car, private car ownership is relatively rare (or has been until recently) and the more common forms of transportation in Apia are taxi’s and buses.They are like weeds and they are everywhere.

Valima_2 After a brief stop at a market to get some water and snacks were off for the Robert Lewis Stevenson (author of Treasure Island, The strange case of Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde, and many other books) Museum. The grounds of this estate are lush with plants of vibrant tropical color. It was also nice to be a little higher in the mountains where the air is cooler and the wind a little fresher.
Vibrant colors
Vibrant colors
Time in the small boat
Time in the small boat 
While we were on our way back to the ship we were fortunate to see a man fishing in his outrigger on one of the many lagoons around the island. Tonight we head off for a special luau that the Captain is giving for the crew. We will hopefully have a full report tomorrow.

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 21, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 21, 2010

Science Log

During our journey to Samoa we have had very nice accommodations and entertainment facilities. There are two lounges each with a big screen TV and plenty of movies to watch. The only live TV channel available by satellite is FOX news (go figure!).
Lounge where we watch TV and relax
Lounge where we watch TV and relax
In addition to movies, there is also a fully equipped gym with weights, cross-trainer, elliptical, and treadmill. When exercising you can listen to your favorite tunes or watch your favorite video.
Samoa at last! We started smelling land just about dawn today and slowly, it seemed slow anyway, made our way toward the mouth of the Apia harbor. The closer we got to the harbor the easier it was to make out the mountains and the city itself.
The onboard gym
The onboard gym
Once we got to within a couple of miles of the harbor, we were joined by a pilot boat and two Samoan harbor pilots came aboard the KA to make sure we got into the harbor safely.
The mountains in the distance
The mountains in the distance
Once under their guidance we made our way in and proceeded to secure the lines and set the gangway so the customs officials could come on and clear us to go ashore.
Approaching the port
Approaching the port

Once the gangway was down the customs officials board the ship and check our passports against the customs form that we were required to complete before disembarking. The whole process was very easy and only took about an hour. At that point we were then given the OK to disembark and explore the town.

Customs boards the ship
Customs boards the ship
Apia looks to be a city of about 50,000 so it between Helena and Billings in size. Tomorrow we will do some exploring and see what Apia and Samoa have to offer.

Tying up the ship
Tying up the ship
Passport proof!
Passport proof!

Stay tuned for more!

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 20, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 20, 2010

Science Log

Steaming and dreaming, that was the order of the day. We had the opportunity to spend a little more time on the bridge today. Here you can see three of the Ensign’s standing watch. While on the bridge we learn about how the radar works.
Learning about radar on the bridge
Learning about radar on the bridge
Most people in Montana are familiar with the concept of radar since that is the basic method used to measure our speed.What do you think is similar about the radar on the ship? What is different?
Radar screen
Radar screen
We also took a look at the ship’s wheel.Like most people we envisioned the wheel to be like one you would see in an old movie or perhaps like those on the tall ships of old. The wheel of the KA is smaller than the average steering wheel, but it gets the job done.
Steering the ship
Steering the ship
 We participated in several meetings to prepare us for our stay in Samoa.One presentation, made by Joe our Electronics Technician was focused on customs and taboos that we need to be aware of as guests and representatives of the US government. Joe has a unique and useful understanding of Samoa since his wife is from Western Samoa and he has lived here so he knows what we can and can’t do.
Laundry at sea
Laundry at sea
We also decided we better do laundry today! The washers and dryers will be secured tonight for our arrival in Samoa tomorrow morning. While the crew visits the island, the engineers will need to purge the sewage system of gray water – water from cooking, showers, toilets etc. The ship will also take on water from the port at Apia, Samoa were we are docking. The ship has great laundry facilities and also very nice exercise equipment. Even though we are seeing the pacific, we still have to take of our chores!
Joe, the electronics technician
Joe, the electronics technician
Land tomorrow! Until then happy sailing and calm seas.

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 19, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Art with the line gun
Art with the line gun

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 19, 2010

Science Log

Safety Drills and an island on the horizon were the highlights of the day.Today we had quite the rainstorm, it came in gray sheets that pounded the deck and boiled the sea surface, like we were running the ship through a car wash back home..We also had gusts that cooled the air for the first time in several days. It was pleasant while it lasted but when the sun came out the air was steamy.
Fixing a pipe
Fixing a pipe

Safety is a big issue on a ship. We have regular weekly drills including Man Overboard, Abandon Ship and Fire Drills. In addition, today after lunch we participated in what is called a safety stand down where we observed several safety demos including using a line gun. You can see Art prepping the gun under the watchful eye of Chris the Chief Bosun and Rick firing the gun. The line gun uses 3000 psi of air pressure to shoot a small rocket with a line out to 750 feet. This tool is used when it is necessary to get a line to another ship or land facility when the ship can’t be close enough for a safe hand toss. After our time on the firing line we learned about fixing ruptured or leaking pipes and how to shore up a sagging upper deck with telescopic metal vertical braces.

When a safety drill is called, a general alarm bell (see picture) is rung notifying all of the ships’ crew, scientists and others to muster (or go) to their assigned stations. The stations are different positions on the ship such as the buoy deck (man overboard station), the top deck by the RHIB (abandon ship) and the mess – cafeteria (fire). The positions in parentheses are my stations for this cruise – they differ for other participants. When practicing the drill for abandon ship, we are shown where the inflatable life boats (see pictures for life boats) are stored and to know to bring as much water as possible from the water locker.

Fire alarm
Fire alarm

We have begun a series of video interviews of the different NOAA corps crew. We began yesterday with the three new Ensigns. Today we interviewed the oiler, Mike Robinson and the Lieutenant Commander Helen “Doc” Ballantyne (Ship’s Nurse/PA ). Our tour of the engine room was fascinating in addition to being very noisy and very warm. This area can really be considered the heart of the ship. The diesel engines, generators, propulsion mechanism, sewage disposal system, and filters for producing fresh water are all located here.  L

t.Cmdr. Ballantyne or “Doc” is not only a nurse who takes care of sick crew members but is also responsible for procedures for handling and storing hazardous materials, disaster care, and other safety related issues. NOAA is always looking for good nurse practitioners, so if you want adventure on the high seas, give NOAA a call!

DSC02156

As we were on deck for the man overboard we passed Nassau a small island in the Cook Islands located close to 11 degrees 40 minutes South and 165 degrees 24 minutes West. Another day of sailing and we should be close enough to see the Samoan Islands.
Small island in the Cook Islands chain
Small island in the Cook Islands chain
Touring the engine room
Touring the engine room
DSC02158

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 18, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 18, 2010

Science Log

Painting in the morning, painting in the afternoon.We had a time change this morning, we set our clocks back (retarded) them one hour so we are now four hours earlier than Montana or 11 hours earlier than GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) or Zulu. This means that we are almost half way around the world from the Prime Meridian that runs through Greenwich England.

Ensigns onboard
Ensigns onboard
You might notice that it looks like Rick is in a fog, well he is. The difference between the inside of the ship and the outside of the ship in regards to temperature and humidity is huge. The ship is generally around 21 degrees c or close to 70 degrees F with low humidity and outside has been close to 31 degrees c or about 87 degrees F with high humidity. When you bring something like a camera outside from the cooler interior of the ship the moisture in the humid outside air condenses on the camera and instant fog.
More buoy maintenance
More buoy maintenance
We painted the international yellow on the top half of the four tolroids and now all the buoys will be the new color scheme, no more orange and white top half’s anymore.
Hitch hiking onboard
TAS Rick hitch hiking onboard
You may have noticed that the sky is gray and the sea is fairly calm. We are in the Doldrums, an area of low pressure and often very little wind. This area is also known as the “Horse Latitudes”. Do you know why?
Small cups
Small cups
While we were waiting for the paint to dry we watched Alen refresh the sonic releases that connect the anchor to the nylon anchor line. Each of these releases costs about $12,000 and it is essential to use them over and over so replacing the battery, the rubber “O” rings and filling them with argon is a must after they are recovered with the anchor line Nilspin and nylon, pretty much ever thing that can be re-used is reused in order to minimize the cost of the project. Because we are able to use the acoustical releases only the iron anchor and some chain are left on the bottom of the ocean where they rust away eventually. It is hard to see but just before the releases are approved for re-deployment Argon is put into the body of the refreshed unit to provide and inert environment for the electronics. By removing the air, the risk of oxidation to the components is reduced.

Cleaning up the lab
Cleaning up the lab
After lunch the paint was dry enough that we taped in prep for painting the black waterline and we put the TAO on the donuts.Now these are ready for deployment on the next two legs of the cruise. We also had some time today to interview some of the crew on the KA. Today we chatted with three of the four young Ensign’s who are stationed on this ship. We asked them a variety of questions about life in NOAA and the types of degrees that they have and their interests. We discovered that one of the Ensign Rose (white shirt) is from Wyoming and that Rick went to school with one of her uncles and that she is distantly related to his wife through a cousin. Weird how small the world really is.

DSC02155
Two days ago, on 1/16/10, we conducted the last deep CTD at about 3,000 meters (about 2 miles). Rick had about 130 cups to send down and Art ran an experiment with control for Rossiter School in Helena. Just to review, this operation sends down a large, round instrument with tubes that collect water samples at different depths up to 3,000 meters. The intent of this procedure is to measure the salinity, Temperature and Pressure at different depths of the Ocean. As the depth of the ocean increases, so does the pressure of the water. An experiment that we can do to see the strength of the pressure is to attach a bag of Styrofoam cups to the CTD instrument. As the instrument sinks, what do you think would happen to the Styrofoam cups? Look at the picture of the cups before being sunk into the ocean depths and after. How would you describe the pressure of the ocean waters at 3,000 meters?
The batch of cups, back from the depths
The batch of cups, back from the depths

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 17, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 17, 2010

Science Log

Today was not all that physically demanding which is good since it was 30.5 degrees Celsius by 9:30 AM ship time.My students should be able to figure out the temperature in temperature units they are more familiar with.While it was still fairly cool this morning Art and Rick helped Alen paint the anti fouling paint on the bottom of each of the three tolroids that needed it. Once the deck crew flipped them back to top side up, Alen discovered that one of the buoys had been hit and was cracked and so he needed to do some grinding and patching before painting the yellow. So we are going to finish the paint job early tomorrow after the patch has time to cure.

TAS Art painting
TAS Art painting
Land Ho! Later in the day we sighted land for the first time since we lost sight on Hawaii on the 6th. We came upon Tautua Island, which is part of the Cook Islands. If you take a look on Google Earth around 9 degrees: 13 minutes South and 157 degrees: 58 minutes West you can see the

island and the village on the island. We weren’t very close, so we couldn’t actually see the village, but it was nice to see land after 10 days of the vast expanse of the Pacific in every direction to the horizon.

Rick painting the buoy
Rick painting the buoy
Tautua
Tautua

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 16, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

flipping_2
Donut buoy

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 16, 2010

Science Log

Today was a day of odds and ends.We had planned to paint first thing after breakfast and Art and Rick got started masking off the water line on one of the orange and white buoys that needs to be painted. This one was chosen to do first because it only needed a coat of yellow and not a complete repaint. The other three buoy floats need the rust colored anti-fouling paint and the yellow. Just about the time we got the tape on, it was determined that all the buoys

would have the anti- fouling paint first so we had to wait while the tolroids or “donuts” were

flipped. In the process of turning them we discovered that a couple of the buoys were partially full of water and Alen had to drill them out to allow the water to pour out. While these were draining and drying we were put on hold for painting until tomorrow. Alen had to carefully look over the donuts and fix any cracks in the fiberglass hull and reseal the mounting brackets where they pass through the hull.

ThroughtheDonut_2

Since painting was sidetracked for a day, we got to participate in one of the necessary, but less exciting aspects of scientific research…inventory. As we mentioned yesterday, science is hard work and hopping a buoy or working on the fantail doing fairings with the ocean breaking over the deck has an element of risk and can be exciting. In order to do the exciting parts of the research safely and efficiently means that you have to have the right equipment and the right number of parts to make the instruments work and the science happen.

Flipping the buoy
Flipping the buoy
So today we counted bolts, and paintbrushes, screwdrivers, nylon zip ties and even pencils and post-it notes, everything that allows us to do the science. Today was a reminder that even the most exciting job in the world, like climbing up a swaying mast on a ship, might have to be done because you need to get the serial number off an antenna, an antenna that allows you to communicate the fruit of your research back to those who can use it to understand the world’s climate a little better.

Doing inventory
Doing inventory
About 4:30 pm today we approached a TAO buoy that needed to be visually checked for any damage. Prior to this check, the ship makes several close passes to the buoy for examinination and more importantly so the crew can fish! Six long lines were in the water as we past the buoy on four separate occasions. No one caught any fish. However, Alen speculated that this was because the buoy had been deployed fairly recently and there was not enough time for it to form a food chain of small microorganisms that eventually attract top level carnivores like Ono, Tuna and Mahi Mahi. Bummer!
Searching for the antenna serial number
Searching for the antenna serial number
The last order of business today was to deploy the last deep (3000 meter) CTD at 8 South on the 155 West Longitude line. Rick sent the remainder of the Styrofoam cups from his school, cups for Art’s wife’s school in Helena (Rossiter Elementary) and a couple for his grand kids plus two extras he had for the Ensigns down in mesh bags attached to the instrument.
Deploying the CTD
Deploying the CTD

Soon we say farewell to the 155 West line as we make our way toward Apia, Samoa and the end of our experiences aboard the Ka’Imimoana.

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 15, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 15, 2010

Science Log

We have our last buoy of the 155 West line in the water and the anchor is set. Today began with a ride for Rick over the old buoy where he was responsible for removing an old loop of rope in order to put on the shackle and line that the tow line would be attached to.

Readying to retrieve the buoy
Readying to retrieve the buoy
You would think that cutting a three-eights nylon line would be pretty easy, and you would be right if that line wasn’t attached to a rocking, slime covered buoy floating in the middle of an ocean that is over 5000 meters deep.
Teamwork is essential
Teamwork is essential
It would also have helped if my knock-off Leatherman had a sharper blade.Anyway, Al and I went out the buoy on the RHIB and got a pretty good spray here and there as you can see from the water drops on some of the images.
Reeling it back in
Reeling it back in

Once we were on the buoy Al removed the ‘Bird” and handed to the support crew in the RHIB.If it weren’t for these men and women we (the scientists) would not be able to collect the data.This is science on the front lines and it takes a dedicated and well-trained crew to make the endeavor of science one that produces meaningful, valid, and important data.

Barnacles and all!
Barnacles and all!

Once the ‘Bird’ is off the buoy and the towline is attached it is time to go back to the KA to pick-up the towline so that the buoy can be recovered and the next phase of the process can begin, deployment of the new buoy that will replace this one.

Zodiak returning to the ship
Zodiak returning to the ship
During the recovery Art and Rick often work as a team spooling the nylon because it takes two people to re-spool the line in a way to prevent tangles, one person to provide the turning and another to be the ‘fair lead’.
The fair lead actually has the harder job because they have to keep constant eye on the line as it spools.With seven spools of nylon all over 500 meters and the 700 meters of Nilspin recovery is a team effort by everyone.
KA from RHIB_1
Like the recovery, the deployment is a team effort and many hands make the work easier for everyone.But at this point of the cruise Art and Rick can pretty much handle the nylon line individually, but work as a team to move the empty spools and reload the spool lift with full spools. Deployment of this buoy ended just about 4:30 PM with the anchor splashing and some deck clean up then it was out of the sun and into the air-conditioned comfort of the ship for some clean clothes and good food.
Deployment is also a team effort
Deployment is also a team effort

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 14, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Making fish lures
Making fish lures

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 14, 2010

Science Log

After the buoy deployment yesterday, I spent the afternoon, contributing to our blog, setting up my online courses for this semester and building fishing lures. Yes, building fishing lures. I mean we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – why not fish? This type of fishing is very different from what we typically think of when fishing in the rivers and lakes of Montana. Most of the fish are big and require heavy tackle. I had the opportunity to help Jonathan and Doc (Helen) build a lure using multicolored rubber skits tied onto a large metal head.

These lures are then attached to a nylon line that is about 200 feet long and attached to the rear of the boat.
Fishing off the back of the boat
Fishing off the back of the boat
Catch of the day
Catch of the day

The prized fish is the yellow fin tuna (Ahi) that the crew likes to make Sashimi and Poke (Sushi). Other fish caught include Whaoo (Ono) and Mahi Mahi (Dorado). The Chief Stewart even deep fat fried the Ono to produce delicious, firm chunks of fish to supplement on of our dinner meals and tonight we had Ono baked in chili sauce that Rick said was…Ono, which is Hawaiian for ‘good’. After lunch today I launched the Rossiter/MSU Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) drifting buoy. These buoys collect surface sea surface temperature and air temperature data and send this information to the Argos satellite system. The data is downloaded and used by agencies such as the National Weather Service to produce models that are used to predict weather patterns. The satellites also track the AOML buoy’s drifting path. These buoys will collect this data for approximately the next three years. You can track the Rossiter/MSU drifting buoy as soon as the information from the deployment is registered with the proper agency.

Rick had a fairly relaxed day today, preparing the
next batch of cups for the 3000 meter CTD cast at 8S: 155W and doing odd jobs on the buoy deck getting ready for our recovery-deploytomorrow at 5S: 155W and future deployments scheduled later in the cruise.

With the drifter buoy
With the drifter buoy
Cups ready for the depths
Cups ready for the depths
Continuing south
Continuing south
As you can see by the GPS, at 4:54 Hawaiian Standard time (7:54 Mountain Standard Time) we continue to move south toward our next buoy recovery and deployment at 5 latitude South and 155 West longitude.
Stay Tuned for More!

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 13, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

At the controls
At the controls

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 13, 2010

Science Log

Bronc Buoy Day! By 8 this morning ship time we were running out the Nielspin and slapping on the fairings from the recovery yesterday.Some of these were pretty clean, but the majority of them, the ones that the teachers got to help with were pretty slimy and even had barnacles stuck to them. The fairings are added to help the reduce shake on the wire that can be produced by currents close to the equator.

We put these airfoil shaped fairings on the first 250 meters, after that it was smooth sailing.Because the Bronc-Bobcat buoy at 0: 155W is a TAO-CO2 buoy it needed a little extra weight on the anchor, 6200 pounds of steel. Once the anchor was off the fantail and sinking we noticed that there was a ship close to the location of the buoy. The science crew commented that this must be a new record for fishermen finding one of the buoys. It seems that fishermen love the TAO buoys since they attract fish.One of the scientists said, “A buoy for these guys is like having your own private fishing hole”. It will be interesting to see if this ship leaves, or just steams away and waits for us to be clear of the area and then comes back.

Broncs buoy deployed!
Broncs buoy deployed!

Around 12:15 today, actually Rick and Art were just finishing up lunch when the call came from Survey, “Teacher’s at Sea report to the CTD deck”. The first order of business was to lower an Argo buoy over the side of the ship and then to release the buoy using a quick release. According the home page for Argo, Argo is a global array of 3,000 (3199 on Jan 13) free-drifting profiling floats that measure the temperature and salinity of the upper 2000 m of the ocean.

These buoys are unique because the sink to between 1000 and 2000 meters and then on regular intervals, generally 10 days the Argo returns to the surface to transmit and the data it has collected. This allows, for the first time, continuous monitoring of the temperature, salinity, and velocity of the upper ocean, with all data being relayed and made publicly available within hours after collection. Once the Argo was on its own a call was made to the bridge for the crew to help with the deployment of the Bronc Buoy. This AOML drifter’s data will be available in a few days from the Adopt-A-Drifter website. It will be interesting to follow the Bronc Buoy and see where it goes over the next several years.

Our afternoon will be spent sailing south, in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time this trip and devoted to teardown of the old 0: 155W buoy and set-up of our next buoy.

After the deployment of the new CObuoy we crossed the equator and entered the southern hemisphere. Our new position put us in the southern hemisphere and we officially went from the winter to the summer season. Currently (at 6:15 pm MST) we are approximately 28.5 miles (at 6:19 MST) miles south of the equator.
Minding the lines
Minding the lines
Reeling it in
Reeling it in

Those of you in Montana today experienced temperatures ranging from 30 to 40 degrees while the temperatures around the equator (regardless of north – winter or south- summer) are staying at about 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Quite a warm temperature when considering the area north of the equator is technically in the Winter season. Regardless, of your position just north or south of the equator, the deck work required to recover and deploy TAO buoys is demanding. An air temperature of 84 degrees seems mild but is really very hot when working on a deck that is painted dark gray. Everyone has to be careful to make sure they drink enough water to stay hydrated. This operation is certainly a team effort. Everyone works together to make sure the job gets done by checking to make sure those participating in deployments or recoveries are safe. This means checking for life jackets, hardhats, application of sunscreen, the need for water etc. Higher education could take a lesson from the way that this crew collaborates and works together!

The anchor sinks to the depths
The anchor sinks to the depths
Decorative spirit
Decorative spirit
The team
The team
How the buoy gathers and sends data
How the buoy gathers and sends data
Crossed the equator!
Crossed the equator!

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 12, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Sunrise
Sunrise

Mission: Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 12, 2010

Science Log

We are almost there! We are holding station at 0 degrees 3 minutes North and 154 degrees 58 minutes West while we conduct out second deep (3000 meter) CTD. This cast began at 9:13 AM ship time (19:13 Zulu) and made it to depth at 10:10 AM ship time. The depth is 4650 meters at this location.

This cast has significance to Rick’s students (and his Daughter) because this is the first cup cast the cruise.
Rick spent about 30 minutes making sure that the mesh bags with 172 cups (a record for a single cast on the KA) and the bag with the Styrofoam head were attached on the instrument cage securely and in a way that would not interfere with the operation of the instruments on the CTD. As you can see from these pictures the results were profound.
CTD ready to go
CTD ready to go

When Rick returns to the classroom he will return all the cups to their rightful owners. The kids will then recalculate the volume, mass, height and diameter (if they can) and determine the rate of compression for the styrofoam cups. And of course the famous shrunken head his Daughter provided.

After recovery of the CTD Rick and Art spent about a 45 minutes getting the mesh bags off the CTD, untied and for a few of the cups that had nested, carefully pulling them apart so that they would dry as individual “mini-cups”. As soon as this task was completed we moved to the TAO-CO2 Buoy that we are going to replace.The new buoy will be the Bobcat-Bronc Buoy and will be deployed tomorrow since the recovery started around 2 PM and wasn’t complete until just about dark. Tonight we will remaining on station through the night, making five mile loops around the position of the new buoy so there is a very good chance that we will cross the equator 10 or more times tonight.

Cups returned from the depth
Cups returned from the depth

As Rick wrote, today we recovered a buoy designed to measure the amount of COin ocean water in addition to typical data (i.e., temperature, wind speed, humidity, rain and salinity). During the recovery I had the opportunity to ride the RHIB out to the CO2buoy to help the Chief Scientist remove some equipment before pulling the buoy onto the ship. Our ride to the buoy was phenomenal! We were told by the Coxswain to “hold on tight” to the ropes surrounding the top of the RHIB. As we pushed through the indigo waves of the ocean at the equator, I felt like a Montana bull rider holding on for dear life. While Brian was removing the anemometer and the rain gauge, I attached a short rope with a coupling to one leg of the buoy that a larger rope could be attached and bring the buoy aboard the ship. While on the buoy, I realized that the only other thing in site for miles was our mother ship, the Ka’Imimoana!

Out in the zodiak
Out in the zodiak
The RHIB returned to pick us up and then went back to the ship to retrieve the rope that would be attached to the buoy. After some concern that the anchor did not release, the buoy was hauled aboard and stowed for future use. Tomorrow the new CObuoy will be deployed.

This morning we were at 3 minutes North (3 nautical miles) of the equator, about a half hour ago we were only 3/10th of a mile North, we are really getting close. On to the Southern Hemisphere!

Retrieving the buoy
Retrieving the buoy

gettingclose_2

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 11, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Successfully deployed
Successfully deployed

Mission: Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 11, 2010

Science Log

“Science isn’t pretty…” Dexter from the cartoon Dexter’s Laboratory tells his sister. What he really needs to say is that science is hard work, work that takes a team of scientists, technical specialists, and in this case the dedicated crew from the NOAA ship Ka’Imimoana. Yesterday was our first real taste of what it takes to get the data needed to understand the role of the tropical ocean in modifying the world’s climate. We began out day with a shallow cast of the CTD at 6N:155W that ended around 7AM. A shallow cast still goes to a depth of 1000 meters (how many feet is that?) and takes about two to three hours to complete. The Survey Technician, a couple of the deck crew and several officers worked though heavy winds (35knots) and seas of around 18 feet and intermittent downpours of rain to make the data from the TAO Buoy array more solid.

Mahi mahi
Mahi mahi

Once the CTD was back on the ship and secured we headed toward our first recovery/deploy at 5N:155W. Our next task was to recover a TAO buoy that had been sending climate data for the past 8 months. The recovery began with a pass by the buoy to make sure that everything was still attached and that the buoy would be safe to “hop” and then come aboard. During these “fly-bys” or passes to view the condition of the old buoy the crew had an opportunity to fish. The Doc caught a nice Mahi Mahi as you can see in the image. Two Ahi (Yellow fin tuna…fresh poke and sashimi…yum) were caught, a Wahoo or Ono, and a small Galapagos shark that was released back in to the ocean.

After our successful fishing the RHIB was sent over to the buoy to secure the ‘bird’ (how we refer to the anemometer) and attach a line for hauling in the buoy to the ship. Once the winch line is attached the RHIB was brought back onboard and we started the recovery.Retrieving the buoy produced a steady rhythm of line in, filling spools, and switching to empty spools.Even the Ensign’s got in on the deck action running in a spool and scraping the barnacles off the old buoy.

Recovering the buoy
Recovering the buoy

Once the buoy was completely recovered (about 4 hours) we set the deck for deployment of the new buoy and broke for dinner. After dinner we began the deployment which took about 3 hours and ended in the dark around 8PM. Deployment of buoys is basically the opposite of the recovery process: Nielspin, plastic coated steel cable, with its sensors attached are then attached to the buoy with its electronics.

This line along with thousands of meters of braided line feed out into the water until the buoy’s anchor position is reached.Once the buoy was anchored in the water we waited for about a half an hour then swung by the buoy to check that it was operational. Once the buoy was confirmed as successful, the crew began to prepare for the 5N CTD and our first drifter buoy deployment.

Rick helped with this CTD to continue his training for his solo CTD’s coming in a day or so.The 5N CTD, like the 6N was a shallow cast and took about 2 hours and once the CTD was stowed Rick, the Survey Technician and two Ensign’s bid farewell to the first drifter and the day was pau (“done”) as the Hawaiians say.

Reeling in the line
Reeling in the line

Today was our opportunity to take it a little easier as compared to yesterday’s long day of buoy recovery and deployment that did not end until after dark. We had an opportunity to catch-up on some email and work on an article that is due on the 15th of January. Nothing like being under a time crunch to get you motivated. The day is filled with sun and winds are “fresh” as it is called by some. The first order of business was to help with the 3N: 155W shallow cast CTD. It is still had to grasp that shallow is over 3000 feet down into the ocean. When the pressure of the water increases the equivalent of 1 atmosphere each 10 meters that is a lot of pressure when something goes down 1000 meters like the shallow CTD does. When we make our deep cast (3000 meters) at the equator the pressure on the instruments is staggering. What would it be in pounds per square inch? Once the CTD was back on the ship and we resumed our course south along the 155W longitude line we worked on getting the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) drifter prepared for its deployment as the Bronc Buoy at the Equator along the 155W line.

Hard at work
Hard at work

If followers look back to a post from October they can see the stickers that the students at Billings Senior High Freshman Academy prepared for the drifter they were adopting through NOAA’s Adopt-A-Drifter Program. If you are interested in adopting a drifter you can find information about the program in the “links to learning a little more” area of this Blog. After lunch we helped the Brian, Jim and Alan to put together a specialized TAO buoy that collects information about the amount of dissolved Carbon Dioxide in the ocean in addition to the typical temperature, salinity, humidity and rain data that is gathered. These buoys appear to be easy to build.

On the lookout
On the lookout

However, standing on top of a TAO buoy anchored to the ship’s deck while trying to hold on with one hand and attach electronic sensors with the other can be daunting as the ship pitches to and fro considering the seas we had today. One gains a whole new perspective and respect for the power of the Ocean and the scientists who routinely build these buoys so that good data can be collected to help mankind. One added benefit of working on the buoys is that occasionally we have the chance to do a little personalizing. Art painted MSU CATS on one side since he works at MSU and since I just graduated from Bozeman last May. On the other side Rick put in a plug for Billings Senior Broncs. So now the Broncs and the Cats will be part of the TAO array at 155W at the equator for the next year.

We also had our first fresh sashimi and poke.Rick for one can’t wait! It is great that we have a crew with diverse skills and hobbies. Deck crew who prepare top notch sashimi and a doc who makes poke with his help.

Adopted buoy
Adopted buoy

BroncCO2Buoy_1MakingPoke

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 9, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 9, 2010

Sunrise
Sunrise

Science Log

Today was a busy day. We were up before dawn so we could check on an existing buoy close to the location of our new deployment. We made what was called a ‘fly-by’. The ship closed on the buoy and at about a mile it was vaguely visible in the early dawn. The first buoy deployment of our mission began about 7:30 AM and we had the anchor in the water about 11AM and everything went smooth. The new generation TAO buoy was deployed at 155 W longitude and 8 N latitude in a depth of 5200 meters(about 3.2 miles deep!). The TAO buoys, also called moorings, are anchored to the ocean floor using plastic coated steel cable and heavy rope. We have a drawing of the standard buoy to give you some idea what the whole package looks like, at the surface as well as below. The adjacent image is of the actual buoy that we deployed today.As you can see the color scheme has change to a solid International Yellow above the waterline.

Buoy mooring up close
Buoy mooring up close

During the initial deployment electronic sensors are placed at specific depths on a special coated steal wire. These sensors are designed to by induction and send information about conductivity (salinity), temperature and sometimes depth to the instrument tube in the buoy.This image shows two of the science team placing one of these sensors on the line.

The information provided by these sensors, and those on the buoy that measure surface conditions, help climate scientists better model the behavior of the ocean atmosphere interface and understand what patterns are more representative of El Nino, La Nina, or Neutral conditions.

In addition to the deploy of this first buoy on our trip, the ship was also engaged in the deployment and recovery of the first deep CTD. This 3000-meter (about 9750 feet or slightly over 1 3/4thmiles down) cast went fairly smoothly until it was on its way back to the surface. The winch

controller overheated and the CTD had to rest

for about one hour while the instrument package sat at 2000 meters.After the control circuits had a chance to cool we were able to continue the recovery of the CTD and resume or course south on the 155 W to our next station at 7N for a 1000 meter CTD cast. There is a good chance that we will do the CTD later this evening since it will take about six hours for the ship to transit one degree depending on sea conditions.

Deployment
Deployment
Sensors monitor the ocean conditions
Sensors monitor the ocean conditions
CTDs being deployed
CTDs being deployed

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 7, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 7, 2010

Cups heading to the depths
Cups heading to the depths

Science Log

Today was a day of transit. We did a lot of work on the buoys, preparing them for deployment and Rick, with the help of Tonya our Chief Survey Technician, got about half of the cups that his students decorated for ‘shrinking’ into the mesh bags to attach to the deep CTD when we do one . The CTD is a rosette of bottles that are sent to depth, in this case 3000 meters (how many feet is that and how many atmospheres of pressure?) where water samples and a record of the Conductivity (salinity), Temperature, and Depth are taken. These CTD’s will help provide a double check for the electronic data that our buoys collect and add to the data used to model El Nino/La Nina. One of the side activities of the CTD is to send down the cups to be squeezed by the pressure. We also have a cup of similar size that will be used as a control so that students will be able to see the changes that the cups undergo. Rick also has brought along a Styrofoam wig head from his daughter Teri to see the effect on a larger scale.

In addition to our work on the buoys we had our first at sea drills including an abandon ship drill.But since we had a similar drill in port we only were required to muster to our stations with our exposure suits, long sleeve shirt, head cover, and long pants and wear our personal flotation device.

Ship safety drill
Ship safety drill

A wee bit rocky today.We have a swell that seems to be coming from the starboard (right) aft quarter, which gives the ship a strange movement that has made some of the folks a little queasy.Ships tend to roll (movement around an imaginary line running bow to stern) pitch (movement up and down around an imaginary line running 90 degrees to the direction of roll) and yaw (movement left or right of the imaginary line running bow to stern).Today the KA is doing all three at the same time which is why we are encouraged to take Meclizine HCL (Dramamine) for a few days prior to the trip and for the first few days at sea. Taking this makes it easier for the crew to function in an environment that has un-natural motion without getting ‘seasick’. Even with the weird motion of the ship, we still have work to do and for us “newbies” things to learn before we are allowed to do them, like learn how to set the ‘painter line’ for the RHIB so that we will stay attached to the ship in the advent that the engine of the RIHB doesn’t start or other various bad things that can happen to a little boat in a big ocean. We didn’t actually ride in the RHIB today, we simply learned how to enter the boat, where to sit , where the emergency items are located, and how to start and steer the boat.

Out on the deck
Out on the deck

One of the tasks that needs to be done prior to the deployment of our first Buoy at 8N:155W is to determine (as close as possible) the ideal position for the buoy’s anchor. To do this it is essential to know the true depth of the ocean and the topography (collectively called bathymetry) of the area within a few miles of the target latitude and longitude for the buoy.Brian, our Chief Scientist, will determine the depth and location for the anchor by using both satellite sea surface heights and actual sonar depth data from ships that have been in the area. In reality, there really isn’t much hard data, physical sonar tracks, for much of the ocean and much of the depth is determined by the actually height of the sea surface as measured by satellite. These measurements take into account variables, such as orbit of the satellite, atmospheric effects on radar, and tides and compare the computer result to a mathematical ellipsoid model of the Earth’s shape. Sounds pretty complicated, and it is, but we can use this calculated sea surface to help determine the depth of the ocean since the surface mirrors the actual topography of the ocean floor. For Academy students, you will have the opportunity to do two activities from the American Meteorological Society (AMS) that will help you understand what it is that we are attempting to do.

Bathymetric map
Bathymetric map
Catch of the day!
Catch of the day!

 

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 6, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 6, 2010

Science Log

The KA is under her own steam, well actually diesel and electric, and we are making 10 knots (you should figure out how fast that is in miles per hour) at a heading of 173 degrees. The KA uses diesel generators to create the current to drive here electric propulsion motors. She is a vey quit ship because of this configuration which was part of her original deign…to be quite. The KA is a former Navy antisubmarine warfare ship and needed to be quiet to play her role listening for submarines that might have been lurking around the oceans. Now that quiet nature makes it nice for those of us about to have our first night at sea.

Our current position was 157degrees 51 minutes and 7 seconds west longitude (157:51:07 W) and 22 degrees 55 minutes and 8 seconds north latitude (22:55:09N) at 19:30 lcl on the 5th of January. At that time we had been at sea for about five hours and have many more to go on our way to work the 155 W Buoy line. Sunset was fantastic, but very short. It seems to take almost no time to go from day to night here in the tropics. You can see how it looks behind some of the “birds” (anemometers) that will measure windspeed and direction on the buoys. We are now (09:10 lcl) about 40 nautical miles south of the Big Island and can just see it in the distance. It will be some time before we see land again.

Since we are running a little slow on the internet I will simply post a few images from our first day rather than a video. I will attempt to post a video or two later on but currently we are limited on our bandwidth to about 128K.

For two days I have been overwhelmed as I observed all of the aspects of the crew’s preparation for the TAO mission to Samoa. I am fascinated with everything about this operation – watching the crew load the ship, observing the ship being fueled, viewing the massive nuclear submarines located in Pearl Harbor, and assembling the sensors that collect climate data from each of the buoys we will deploy. Yesterday, in preparation for our voyage, we continued to calibrate instruments and assemble sensors.Last night was our first night at sea, I slept like a baby -the gentle rocking of the boat was like being in a giant cradle.

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 5, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 5, 2010

Science Log

The ship has been in port at Pearl Harbor most of the day. We got underway about ten to ten this morning to transit to the fuel pier. We have been loading fuel and getting the various instruments ready for deployment. One of the more memorable things for me was passing by the USS Arizona Memorial and thinking about all the history that has gone on here. It makes one pause and think of the value of our freedom and the price paid for that freedom.

One of the more mundane, but important tasks today has been to check all the sensors and to make sure that the electrical connections are all correct. I even had the opportunity to crawl under the test bench to make sure the connections for the long wave and short wave UV sensors were connected to the correct test leads.

Richard Jones & Art Bangert, January 4, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Richard Jones
Onboard NOAA Ship KAIMIMOANA
January 4 – 22, 2010

Mission: Survey
Geographical Area: Hawaiian Islands
Date: January 4, 2010

The ship is underway
The ship is underway

Personal Log

Art and I arrived at Pearl at 7AM today at the Visitor Check-in and ID office. We were a half hour early and were still 12th and 13th in line. The process was pretty slow, but we got picked up by one of the science crew (James) when we got our passes around 8:15AM. We then went the ship and came on board durning the first of three drills for the day. Within in a few minutes of getting to the ship we were already involved in the ship board fire drill. Both Art and I were shlepping fire fighting equipment to the “fire scene”, I had a ventilation hose and Art a really big, and nasty looking, pry bar. It looked like a pry bar on steroids. After the fire drill it was the abandon ship drill, where we all put on our “gumby” suits ( I wish I had thought to have my camera ready first thing) and exchanged our old whistles for new ones without cork balls. After the abandon ship drill, it was man overboard and then we were able to stand down by about 10AM. Once the drills were done it was time to get with moving the equipment to the ship and setting up the instruments. The process of meeting the crew, loading the equipment and stores, and setting up the science stuff took until almost 6PM.

Rachel Dane, May 4, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Rachel Dane
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
April 29 – May 10, 2005

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Date: May 4, 2005

Plan of the Day
0400: 1.5N CTD
0830: 2N Recovery and deploy with CTD, AOML and ARGO
2215: 2.5N CTD

Weather Data
Latitude: 1 degree N
Longitude: 95 degrees W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles
Wind Direction: 153 degrees
Wind Speed: 10 knots
Sea wave height: 1-2 feet
Swell wave height: 2-3 feet
Sea water temperature: 27.9 degrees C
Barometric pressure: 1013.2
Cloud cover: 5/8 cumulus, altocumulus

Science and Technology Log 

Last night I ended up falling into bed, exhausted, around midnight.  Jim and I spent almost an hour having a super fun conversation about river running in Idaho and the Grand Canyon—I had no idea that he and I were both guides on the main fork of the Salmon River in Idaho!  It was a wonderful talk, and I hope to have the opportunity to chat more together.

It’s another buoy day; today we will be recovering a damaged buoy and deploying a new one in its place. Each TAO buoy is moored to the bottom of the ocean using Nilspin, which is steel cable surrounded by a protective plastic shield.  Old railroad wheels are used as anchors for each buoy in the array.  The Nilspin cable is also equipped with sensors at various depths; these sensors transmit data from the ocean to the surface of the buoy. Remember, these buoys constantly collect data on wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, barometric pressure, sea surface and subsurface temperature, salinity, water pressure and ocean currents.  The data is gathered and transmitted via NOAA satellites, and is used by scientists all over the world who are studying the relationship between the Pacific Ocean and climatic changes.

Buoy recovery is a fairly labor intensive process that involves lassoing the floating toroid, craning it aboard, spooling in all of its cable, and cleaning the entire apparatus.  Being submerged for 6 months at a time, the buoys acquire quite a collection of barnacles!  Before a buoy can be recovered the anchor needs to be dropped; a sensing apparatus on its underside is responsible for detecting the “drop anchor” signal transmitted by the ship.  In today’s case, the recovered buoy will be stored on deck until it is cleaned, painted, and outfitted with new instrumentation; it will then be standing by, ready to replace another buoy on the array if necessary. There was some excitement today during operations when the anchor release signal was not acknowledged by the buoy—the ship’s winch was very unhappy about having to haul up the additional 2.5 tons of anchor weight!

Deploying a buoy involves all of the same steps as recovery, but in the reverse order.  First, one end of the spooled cable is attached to the bottom of the buoy’s 2.5m diameter base. The buoy is then lowered into the water and the cable is unspoooled.  Finally, the anchor is dropped. The entire buoy lifting and lowering process is done with the large cranes and winches that the KA is equipped with.

Personal Log

All hands involved in the buoy ops functioned together like a well oiled machine.  There is no doubt that everyone on board is familiar with their duties and responsibilities, and all know what needs to be done and precisely when it needs to happen in order for the procedure to be successfully executed.  It is definitely impressive. Again today, all crew members were more than happy to include me in the excitement, and all were very patient with this rookie sea-goer!  Thank you, everyone!

The weather here at the equator is much less humid than I expected.  In fact, I find it quite pleasant; maybe because there is always a sea breeze blowing.  The inside of the ship sometimes feels like a refrigerator, especially the computer and science labs which are kept cool to maintain the machines.

Teams are made and times are set; let the tournaments begin!  For the remainder of the cruise we will be competing against each other in scrabble, cribbage, darts, poker, and a card game called Sequence.  My first challenge is tonight at 6:30—Fred and I play cribbage.  Personally, I can’t wait to see the dart competition as we rock and roll our way to Mexico!

Rachel Dane, May 3, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Rachel Dane
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
April 29 – May 10, 2005

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Date: May 3, 2005

Plan of the Day
0300: 0.5S CTD
1200: Equatorial mooring repair followed by a deep CTD and an ARGO
1845: 0.5N CTD
2345: 1N CTD

Weather Data
Latitude: 0 degrees N
Longitude: 94 degrees W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles
Wind Direction: 150 degrees
Wind Speed: 12 knots
Sea wave height: < 1 foot
Swell wave height: 2-3 feet
Sea water temperature: 26.5 degrees C
Barometric pressure: 1013.0
Cloud cover: 2/8 cumulus, cirrus

Science and Technology Log 

Today is my first full day on the KA’IMIMOANA (KA).  After sleepily answering my 3:30 AM wake-up call and quickly grabbing a hot cup of caffeine, I met Shawn and Jay on deck to begin the first CTD cast of this second leg of the KA’s journey along the equator. CTD is an acronym for “Conductivity, Temperature, Depth”; it is essentially an analysis of the salinity and chlorophyll levels of a site specific water sample. The casts are performed at each 1 degree change in latitude along the entire TAO array.  The CTD “package” consists of 15 cylinders, each about 1.25m high, attached to a sensing apparatus. Based on commands from the deck, this sensing apparatus will open and close the cylinders and provide real-time data of water conductivity, temperature, density and salinity. For the purposes of this morning’s sample, the package was lowered to a final depth of 1000m for sample collection.  Final depths vary with each cast.  Once the cask is deployed, data analysis of the water sample is displayed graphically on a nearby computer—this morning I was able to view a graphical representation of the thermocline for the first time!

Before lunch, I shadow Doc during her weekly safety inspection.  What a great opportunity for me to see the inner workings of this impressive vessel!  After lunch, the announcement that we have arrived at the site of our first buoy repair comes echoing over the loudspeakers, and it’s buoy time!

The equator! For me, it’s no longer simply a line around the globe.  Not only does the equator represent the dividing line between the northern and southern hemispheres of the earth, but this is also the region where Pacific ocean currents are being extensively studied by NOAA in order for us to better understand the relationship between the oceans and climate.  Essentially, the TAO buoy array acts as a 6000 mile antennae that scientists use to monitor ocean trends.

Donning hard hat and life jacket, I ran to the third deck clutching my zip locked camera and climbed into one of the orange work rafts attached to the KA’s port side.  We (Dave, Brian, Chris, Matt and I) were gently lowered into the water by attentive crew members, and off we motored to our waiting buoy, about 75m away.  Unfortunately, this buoy had been damaged by a fishing vessel so Dave and Brian had some repairs to make.  Fish prefer to swim in the vicinity of buoys because schools feed on the growth that accumulates on the underside, and it is quite common for large fishing vessels to tie up to TAO buoys; oftentimes damage occurs in the process.  After the repairs were complete, I was enthusiastically invited to jump onto the mooring buoy, and it was the absolute highlight of my day! Since fish like to hang out by the buoys sea birds do too; this was immediately obvious to me once I had hopped onto the platform and was clinging to the rungs of the tower.

The entire apparatus was covered from top to bottom with dried guano, and within minutes of climbing and perching on the tower, so was I!  Kind of gross; however, this did not prevent me from reveling in the experience of being on the equator and bobbing like a cork, completely and utterly surrounded by water.  It felt as though I had stepped into a completely foreign liquid universe.  Other than our work boat, the only object in the panoramic view was the KA’IMIMOANA headed towards the horizon. I believe that I could have very happily floated on that buoy for the rest of the day, reveling in the vastness.

Once back in the orange raft, our expert coxswain Chris kicked it into turbo gear and off we sped on a high speed chase, in hot pursuit of our ocean home.  Although the KA remained in sight for the entire operation today and although I longed for more time bobbing in the serene, blue stillness of the equatorial Pacific, there was a feeling of extreme comfort in riding to port side of the mighty Ocean Seeker.  Looking up, we saw 10 of our crew members peering anxiously over the rails on all decks, ready to work together to bring us home safely.

Personal Log

On a daily basis, I continue to be amazed by this ship.  So many aspects of life aboard the KA’IMIMOANA are extremely refreshing: that it is a floating home that operates so efficiently through the patience, teamwork and cooperation of all hands, that a hallway passing almost always evolves into a friendly conversation, and that crew members are consistently willing to share their knowledge and experience with me and excitedly teach new information.

Despite my best intentions and despite a 4.5 mile run on the treadmill, I was not able to squeeze in a rest this afternoon. Now it’s 10:30pm and I’m feeling exhausted, but too overwhelmed to sleep.  This evening I studied the Southern Cross and surrounding constellations with Don. Although I live at the Grand Canyon and regularly study extremely impressive night skies, the stars here rival what I’ve become accustomed to at home.  Thanks to Jimbo’s call I watched over 100 squid swarming on our starboard side, and kudos to Tony–his expert fishing skills have ensured that we will all enjoy fresh calamari tomorrow night!  Matt was the first person to introduce me to an actual example of bioluminescence tonight, visible in the ship’s wake; thank you, Matt, it was so incredibly cool! I definitely plan on taking him up on his offer for me to borrow the “Blue Planet” series to learn more about deep ocean luminescence.  So, brimming with curiosity and excitement, I look forward to the gentle rocking of the ship once I tumble into my bunk later this evening.

Rachel Dane, May 2, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Rachel Dane
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
April 29 – May 10, 2005

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Date: May 2, 2005

Science and Technology Log

Today is the big day—my first day at sea! I am excited and nervous at the same time; with no experience sailing my main hope is that sea legs will develop quickly for me!  As Academy Bay receded behind us I was a bit wistful at having to leave the Galapagos with so much left unexplored, but I am phenomenally happy to have had the experience to travel here and truly hope to return someday.

Much of my afternoon was spent picking the brain of Patrick Rafter, our Ph.D. student from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Patrick boarded the KA in San Diego at the start of this cruise, and is amazingly knowledgeable about marine chemistry.  He is also super patient with all of my questions, and very fun to chat with! You rock, Patrick! I basically asked him for a crash course in oceanic interactions, and this is what he taught me—too cool!

Essentially, the ocean can be viewed as the shallow, warm “mixed layer” at the surface and the deep, cold ocean. The dividing line between these two is called the thermocline, and it is the level at which a rapid change in water temperature occurs. Think about it as a multi-layered cake, with each water layer maintaining a fairly unique and consistent salinity, density and water temperature.  Generally, the mixed layer at the surface is the warmest.  In the equatorial pacific this surface layer has a depth of about 100m, and it is this first layer of oceanic cake that NOAA is most interested in studying.  Normally, the thermocline that divides the high warm layer from the lower cold layer maintains a gradually increasing easterly slope.  Under normal conditions, there is also less convection occurring and less wind is present.  However, under El Nino conditions the dividing line between the two layers becomes more level, creating a deeper, warmer top layer. This increase in depth of the top layer affects marine interactions in several ways.  First, a much larger percentage of surface water is warmer.  Second, more convection is occurring due to the warmer water temperature, and third, more wind is present.  One of the major uncertainties that TAO project data is attempting to explain is the cause of this thermocline change.

Personal Log

After a long Monday and a fabulous shrimp dinner, I feel quite tired and ready to call it a day. Tomorrow, Joe will set up my ship email account; I am really looking forward to being in touch with friends and loved ones at home, and also communicating with my students! It pleases me to report that, surprisingly, my stomach feels more settled at sea then it did when we were anchored in the Bay!  I’m not feeling 100% yet, but definitely well enough to give the treadmill a try tomorrow—and maybe I can even skip the Dramamine… Until tomorrow!

Rachel Dane, May 1, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Rachel Dane
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
April 29 – May 10, 2005

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Date: May 1, 2005

Personal Log

Following 16 hours of travel that brought me to Guayquil, Ecuador, a 2 hour flight has transported me to the northernmost tip of Baltra Island in the Galapagos.  The Galapagos Islands is the name given to this isolated group of volcanic mounds, which consists of 19 major islands and scores of inlets located 1000km west of mainland Ecuador.  From the air I could observe most of the land mass of the archipelago, which covers 7882 square km.  That these islands have so profoundly influenced scientific thought is astounding! The handful of animals that made their way out here have, through isolation, developed into completely unique species without fear of predation.

After a 10 minute ferry ride from Isla Baltra to the northern tip of Isla Santa Cruz, I am driven 42km south to Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the archipelago.  The population of this town is growing (too fast!) due to immigration from mainland Ecuador, and now numbers about 12,000 individuals.  During the drive I was observing the vegetation and wildlife, and noticed many plants with brightly colored flowers ranging from deep red to vibrant pinks and purples. Also present were a plethora of small, lemon yellow butterflies. Soon, Academy Bay was stretching far out to the east, and anchored peacefully in the turquoise water I spotted what was to be my home for the next 12 days: the NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana (Hawaiian for “Ocean Seeker”).

Once dropped off at the pier, I was ferried out to the KA’IMIMOANA (KA) via a local “panga”, or water taxi. I was welcomed by Doc, Joe and Sean (more to come about my crew mates!) and given a brief tour of the ship.  Eager to explore Isla Santa Cruz, Joe and I headed back to the island with our panga.  One of the most popular visitor sites in Puerto Ayora is the Charles Darwin Research Station, which is where I met the giant Galapagos tortoises face to face!  The station directs a captive breeding program for several of the 11 remaining subspecies of tortoise, and I was happy to learn that the captive bred animals are generally released to their home islands when they are about 4 years old.

Tired but elated after spending the afternoon at the research station, I enjoyed a meal of delicious fresh sea bass at a local restaurant.  My first day in the Galapagos closed after the short water taxi trip back to the vessel, and meeting several more of my helpful and welcoming ship mates.  I was lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the anchored ship, and the comforting view of stars from the window of my berth.

Nancy Lewis, September 27, 2003

Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 27, 2003

Transit to Honolulu, HI

Sunday night arrival at Hotel pier, Pearl Harbor

Monday morning:  clear Customs/Immigrations/Agriculture

Refuel, then depart approximately 1500 for Snug Harbor

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  17 degrees, 18.4’ N
Longitude:  153 degrees, 17.5’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles
Wind direction:  080 degrees
Wind speed:  14 knots
Sea wave height:  3-4 feet
Swell wave height:  5-7 feet
Sea water temperature:  26.8 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1013.5 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  27.2 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  25.0 degrees C
Cloud cover:  1/8 Cumulus, alto-cumulus

Science and Technology Log

Today I will try and summarize for you the “El Nino Southern Oscillation Diagnostic Discussion” that was forwarded to me by Captain Ablondi of the KA’IMIMOANA.  This report was issued by the Climate Prediction Center.

Current atmospheric and oceanic conditions are near normal and do not favor either the development of El Nino or La Nina. Sea surface temperature anomalies of +0.5 degrees Celcius were noted west of the International Dateline, but there were near-zero anomalies in the equatorial Pacific east of 150 degrees West longitude.  During August, very little SST anomalies were observed in the El Nino regions.

In May there were gains in upper-ocean temperature which spread eastward into the central and eastern Pacific.  This was associated with an eastward Kelvin wave, that resulted from weaker than average easterly tradewinds that occurred in May and June.  SST (Sea Surface Temperatures) anomalies increased during June and July, but then subsided during August.

The Tahiti-Darwin SOI (Southern Oscillation Index)  showed a great deal of month to month variability, but shows no trend towards the development of either El Nino or La Nina.

Most of the statistical forecasts display near neutral conditions for the remainder of 2003 and 2004. This forecast is consistent with the trends revealed by all other oceanic and atmospheric measurements and data.

I have copies of the graphs associated with the above report, and would be happy to make them available to any classes, students or teachers upon request.

Personal Log

Today everyone is readying for our arrival tomorrow night into Pearl Harbor.  Accounts with the ship’s store are being squared up, and some of the computers are having operating systems reinstalled.  Most of us are starting to pack.  I am still answering e-mails, cataloguing photos and catching up with my daily logs.

The real treat came just at sunset after dinner.  The Big Island was visible from our position of 100 miles away.  Mauna Loa showed clearly on the horizon, and I thought I could even see Kilauea off to the east.  It was an exceptionally clear evening, but in spite of that, we saw no “green flash”.  I was really excited to get my first glimpse of land in so many days, and be able to see my much loved mountain.  One other crew member, Curt, also lives on the Big Island, and we joked that we could probably jump ship and swim home.

The prediction is that we will pass by South Point around 2 in the morning.  I plan to be on the bow!

Question of the Day:  What is phytoplankton?

Land Ho!

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 26, 2003

Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 26, 2003

Transit to Honolulu, HI

0700:  Wog Breakfast

Sunday night arrival at Hotel pier, Pearl Harbor

Monday morning:  clear Customs/Immigrations/Agriculture

Refuel, then depart approximately 1500 for Snug Harbor

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  14 degrees, 54.7’ N
Longitude:  149 degrees, 22.4’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles
Wind direction:  090 degrees
Wind speed:  10 knots
Sea wave height:  3-4 feet
Swell wave height:  5-7 feet
Sea water temperature:  28.0 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1012.7 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  27.8 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  24.9 degrees C
Cloud cover:  6/8 Cumulus, strato-cumulus

Science and Technology Log

Last night I was able to interview the Chief Scientist on board the KA, Patrick Ahearn.  Patrick’s responsibilities include assembling and disassembling the buoy components, working with the Captain to map out the buoy operations each day, and also overseeing all the other science projects that are being done on board the KA.

I have received several e-mail questions from students about whether or not they ever put out new buoys.  Research and developments is always going on with the TAO/Triton program. Patrick talked about several experimental instruments that were used for the first time on this cruise.  A new buoy was deployed (parallel with the one at 5 degrees North) that had on it a new type of wind instrument called an Acoustic Wind Anemometer.  This will be a test buoy to see how it performs compared with the older propeller type model, which is greatly subject to damage.

Another experimental device just deployed for the first time on this cruise is called a pCO2 unit. This unit has been laying out here in the lab, opened up, and we are shooting some video footage of it, so that you can see what it looks like.  It is pretty amazing in that inside the waterproof canister are various transistors, wiring, and an iridium modem phone which they use to call up the buoy.  Another canister contains lots and lots of batteries to power the instrument.

The pCO2 unit is being used to measure the amount of carbon dissolved in the water.  It will enable data to be gathered on the amount of carbon dioxide that is either being  dissolved into the ocean, or being diffused out of the ocean water and into the atmosphere.  These studies are very important to the study of the greenhouse effect and relate to studies that are considering whether or not global warming is indeed occurring.  It was truly fascinating to see the inside of this sophisticated instrument, another example of the type of cutting edge science being conducted on board this vessel.

Patrick is the one who always goes out to the buoys, climbs on them to remove the instruments before the buoy is retrieved, or brought on board the ship.  On the night that I rode out to the buoy where a repair would be conducted,  I was amazed to see Patrick bring onto the buoy a laptop computer.  You can imagine how it must have looked, in the pitch dark, with him gazing at the lighted computer screen on the buoy.

Personal Log

All of the Wogs had to serve breakfast to the Shellbacks this morning.  I have been sworn to secrecy about the exact nature of the rest of the morning’s proceedings.  The initiation of Wogs is a tradition that goes way back to the days of sailing ships, but nothing that happened to us was injurious to life or limb. Suffice it to say, that I survived the treatment and was rewarded with a card that proves I have been across the Equator, and am now an honorable Shellback.

The scientists are beginning to pack up all their instruments and gear.  Tom Nolan is still running calibrations with his SINBAD instrument whenever the satellite is overhead.  The crew has been busy cleaning the decks, painting and generally sprucing up the ship for our grand entrance into Pearl Harbor on Sunday.  The Customs officials have to clear us, since the ship has been to a foreign country.  Then, the ship will refuel and make its way over to Snug Harbor.  Many of us will be leaving the vessel, but for much of the crew, a new cruise will begin for them after not too many days.

In the meantime,  I am keeping track of our projected time to approach Ka Lae, or South Point, the southernmost tip of land in the U.S.  My school, Naalehu Elementary and Intermediate School, is located  very close to South Point, and indeed, the school overlooks the ocean near there.  It may be in the middle of the night, but I am planning on being, no matter what time it is.

Question of the Day:  Where is the ozone layer located in the atmosphere?

Aloha from the KA,

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 25, 2003

Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 25, 2003

Transit to Honolulu, HI:  Approximate arrival:  evening of 9/28//2003

1600-1700:  Fantail BBQ

1800:  Wog Talent Show

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  12 degrees, 29.6’ N
Longitude:  145 degrees, 30.0’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles
Wind direction:  120 degrees
Wind speed:  9 knots
Sea wave height:  3-4 feet
Swell wave height:  5-7 feet
Sea water temperature:  28.0 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1013.4 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  28.0 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  25.7 degrees C
Cloud cover:  6/8 Cumulus, cirrus

Science and Technology Log

Yesterday,  I asked the question:  “What is the difference between climate and weather?” Understanding the distinction is important, and is often confused by students, who often hear the two terms used interchangeably.

Very simply,  weather is what is happening at any given moment in terms of temperature, rainfall, winds, humidity and storms.  We all know that the weather can change from hour to hour and day to day.  Climate, on the other hand,  is the overall weather pattern and conditions for a given area or region over a period of time.  Thus,  we may say the climate for large areas of the continental U.S. is temperate, while the climate of Pacific islands is tropical.  The Big Island of Hawaii, with its two 13,000 foot mountains, has at least 9 climate zones.

We know that the earth has undergone times in its past of major climate change.  At one time, the polar ice extended down into areas of the United States that today are ice free. We know that even very small changes in ocean temperatures can create conditions that have far-reaching effects around the world.  Scientists are still attempting to understand the interaction of the atmosphere and oceans in order to be able to better predict and prepare for climate changes.  The climate observation system provided by the TAP/Triton array and maintained by the KA’IMIMOANA is an important link in the global effort to completely understand the complex relationships between air, sea, land, and human actions and how these affect climate and weather.

Personal Log

Today I spent a lot of time preparing for the Wog Talent Show, in addition to answering my email and writing this log.  I thought I would share with you part of my little act, which was a dramatization of the Legend of Fenua Enata, the creation myth of the Marquesas Islands. It was set to some very nice island music from the island of Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands.

The buoy that was dedicated to Taiohae School was painted and named by the students: “Fenua Enata,” which they told me was their word for their islands. The term “Marquesas” was the name given to the islands by the first European to come to Fenua Enata.

Legend of the Fenua Enata

A long time ago, when the sun was shining on the sea, the first man, Atea and the first woman, Atanua had no house.

So Atanua told Atea:  “We do not live well without a house”.  Atea did not answer.

He thought:  “I do not know how to build a house.”

Then he thought,  “I have the divine power of the Mana.  I will ask the gods.”

One evening Atea said to his wife Atanua: “Tonight I will build you a home.  I know how.”

It was dark and Atea’s voice was like a spell singing in the silent nothingness:

AKA OA E, AKA POTO E, AKA NUI E, AKA ITI E E

E E, AKA PITO E, AKA HANA E, HAKA TU TE HAE

The spell was finished, the work began, the site was chosen in the middle of the ocean.

Two sturdy posts were erected:  these became UA POU

A long beam was placed on top of them;  it became HIVA OA

The front posts and the rafter covering the roof was NUKU HIVA

Nine woven coconut palm leaves, laid end to end as thatch became FATU IVA

The weaving of the thatch took a long time as did the making of the sennit.

Time passed quickly as Atea worked and worked without stopping.

Suddenly Atanua shouted:  “O Atea e,

The light of dawn is turning the sky to red”:  it is TAHUATA

“O Atea e, Moho, the morning bird just sang”: It is MOHOTANI

Atea kept digging a hole for the litter of fronds, sennit and hau bark,

Until finally he said:  “This is UA HUKU”.

Then the sun lit up the sky illuminating the ocean and the new dwelling place.

Atanua cried out:  “Ir is EIAO”.

Thus, the Land of Men, Fenua Enata, was created.

 

Question of the Day:  What is the thermocline?

 

Aloha from the KA,

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 24, 2003

Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 24, 2003

Sunrise:  0613
Sunset:  1828

0600:  All wogs on bow

Transit to Honolulu

Time Change:  Set your clocks back one hour to Hawaii time

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  9 degrees, 57.8; N
Longitude:  141 degrees, 41.6’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  130 degrees
Wind speed:  7 knots
Sea wave height:  2-3 feet
Swell wave height:  4-6 feet
Sea water temperature:  27.8 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1012.2 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  27.0 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  26.0 degrees C
Cloud cover:  7/8 Altocumulus, cumulus, altostrattus
Air temperature:  27.0 degrees  C

Science and Technology Log

The phenomenon known as El Nino will be the subject of our discussion today.  El Nino is a recurrent weather phenomenon that has been known for years by fisherman along the coasts of South America.  During an El Nino, the normally strong easterly tradewinds weaken, bringing warmer than normal currents eastward to the the coasts of Peru and Ecuador.  Fishing drops off, and there can be catastrophic effects in weather all the way from Australia and Indonesia to both American continents.

During the unpredicted El Nino of 1982-83,  the effects began to be felt in May.  West of the dateline, strong westerly winds set in.  Sea levels in the mid-Pacific rose several inches, and by October,  sea level rises of up to one foot had spread 6000 miles east to Ecuador. As the sea levels rose in the east, it simultaneously dropped in the western Pacific, destroying many fragile coral reefs.  Sea temperatures in the Galapagos Islands rose from the low 70 degrees Fahrenheit to well into the 80s.  Torrential rains on the coast of Peru changed a dry coastal desert into a grassland.  Areas from Ecuador, Chile and Peru suffered from flooding as well as fishing losses, and that winter there were heavy storms pounding the California coast, the rains that normally fall in Indonesia. The effects of this El Nino to the world economy were estimated to be over $8 billion.

During the 1920s, a British scientist, Sir Gilbert Walker, pioneered work in what he called the Southern Oscillation Index. Using data from barometric readings taken on the eastern and the western sides of the Pacific Ocean, Gilbert discovered that when the pressure rises in the east, it falls to the west, and vice-versa.  When the pressure is in its high-index, pressure is high on the eastern side.  The pressure contrast along the equator is what drives surface winds from east to west.  When the pressure is in the low index,  the opposite condition occurs.  Easterly winds usually disappear completely west of the dateline, and weaken east of that point.

The TAO/Triton array is part of an international effort to be understand, in order to be able to predict and prepare for such events as El Nino and its counterpart, La Nina.  Formerly, data was collected from historical records, instruments at tide gauging stations, and also the observations made by ships transiting the ocean.  The data that is being collected will be able to help scientists hone their understanding of the complex relationship between the atmosphere and the oceans.  We have only recently become aware of the profound effects that climate changes in far flung points on the globe have for many parts of the inhabited world.  It is a sobering fact to realize that oceans cover 71% of our planet, and that, next to the sun, the oceans are the biggest determinant of climate and weather.

Personal Log

The buoy operations are over and we are now steaming our way back to the KA’s home port of Honolulu.  The ship is basically moving at approximately 10 miles an hour, so in 10 hours, we only travel 100 miles.  Our estimated time back is sometime Sunday evening.

Fishing lines have been set out off the fantail, and the crew is beginning to clean up the gear, power washing the deck and acid cleaning the sides for our grand entry back in Hawaii.  Tonight in the mess lounge, we had the “wog Olympics”  where we competed in such races as rolling olives on the floor with our noses.

My usual routine has calmed down a bit, but we are still making videos.  Some of them have to be tossed and redone if  I flub my lines too much.  It was raining today, the sky a mass of almost evil-looking clouds.

We also had periods of rain and drizzle.  I paid a visit to the bridge asking for any old navigation charts, and came away with a bundle.

I am also busy rehearsing my “act” for tomorrow night’s performance on the fantail after a barbecue dinner.  We wogs are expected to provide the evening entertainment for the honorable shellbacks.

Tonight for the first time,  I watched some television.  We have programming provided by the Armed Forces Network.  I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes for a safe return to all those men and women serving in the current conflict in the Middle East, and most especially to PFC Noel Lewis and all those in his unit.
Question of the Day:   What is the difference between weather and climate?

Aloha from the KA!

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 23, 2003

Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 23, 2003

Sunrise:  0608
Sunset:   1815

9/22/03~2330:  6 N CTD

0615:  7N CTD

1300:  8N CTD

2000:  Repair 9 N Buoy W/ CTD

Weather Observation Log

Latitude:  7 Degrees, 25.3’ N
Longitude:  140 degrees, 8.0 W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  170 degrees
Wind speed:  10 knots
Sea wave height:  3-4 feet
Swell wave height:  4-6 feet
Sea water temperature:  28.5 degrees C
Dry bulb pressure:  30.4 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  26.3 degrees C
Cloud cover:  5/8, Altocumulus, cirrus
Air Tempterature:  30.4 degrees C

Science and Technology Log

Previously, I explained that there is other scientific work being done on this cruise.  One such project is CO2 and pH analysis.  Previous to this, NOAA has been using water samples taken from the CTD, and these samples only come from particular depths, generally every 200 meters.  The scientists from the University of South Florida have brought along devices which they are testing in order to work out the “bugs”, from these prototypes.  They are called SEAS systems, and are lowered in the water column to a depth of 300 meters at a rate of 6 meters per minute to collect pH profile continuously.  The advantage of the SEAS system over taking samples from the CTD is that they get a continuous data, not just data from the specific depths tested by the CTD.  The data they produce is therefore much more complete and accurate.

In my interview with Dr. Renate Bernstein I asked the question:  “Is your work related to studies of global warming?”  Her answer was: “absolutely. “  The SEAS system is analyzing dissolved CO2 in the ocean water. Normally, the ocean is considered to be a “sink” for CO2 in the atmosphere.  Cold water has the capacity to dissolve more CO2 from the atmosphere than hot water.  The analogy would be to think of the carbon dioxide in a carbonated soda.  If you shake up a cold drink,  it doesn’t fizz as much.  If you do the same thing with a warm soda,  it will fizz up much more.

How does dissolved CO2 relate to the pH of the ocean?  The  carbon dioxide combines with water (H20) molecules in the ocean to produce carbonic acid, which has a higher acidity.  Thus water with more dissolved CO2 would have a higher pH value.

Dr. Bernstein explained that there are areas, however, where the ocean is liberating CO2. She said that was what they were seeing from the data they’ve collected.  The water near the equator where cold water upwelling occurs were the places where CO2 was being diffused into the atmosphere.  According to Dr. Bernstein, what they were doing on board this vessel was truly “cutting edge science” being done nowhere else in the world.  It has been exciting to me and a great honor to share with you some of  the science being done on board the KA’IMIMOANA.

Personal Log

For the first time on this cruise,  the weather has become hot and humid.  It was not a pleasant day to be out on the deck of the ship, plus they were power washing the deck and acid cleaning the sides of the vessel.  Last night I was out with my Planosphere, trying to identify some constellations, but the clouds had started, so visibility was not that good.  I did see Sagittarius, which looks like a teapot.  Randy, the Survey Tech in charge of the CTD, showed me a computer program that I want to get called “Starry Night”.  You put in your location and the time and date, and it shows the night sky and superimposes images over the constellations:  very cool!

I almost missed the biggest event of the day, and for me, of this, cruise.  John Kermond had told me that the buoy repair was cancelled, so there wouldn’t be a last RHIB ride out to the buoy.  I had already prepared for bed, when there came a knock at the door. “ Hurry up,  they’re going on the RHIB!” I quickly scrambled on some clothes and ran up to the deck, while Doc hunted up a hard hat and life jacket for me.  They strapped a Cyalume light onto my vest, John gave me a flashlight, and we were off.  I felt a little like what it must have been like on the Titanic, getting into lifeboats in the inky blackness.  We roared off, using a powerful light to see the buoy.  The water around the buoy was teeming with large fish, mostly mahi.

This buoy had been damaged and Patrick Ahearn, the Chief Scientist would be making the necessary repairs.  Sometimes, they say, other ships hit the buoy, or fishing boats tie up to the buoy.  This was the first time the sea had been relatively calm, and it seemed a good thing, since higher seas would make a repair job much more difficult, like working on a bobbing cork.  Patrick swung out onto the buoy, follwed by Nicole Colasacco, the Field Operations Officer who would assist him.

In the meantime,  we sped back to the KA to pick up replacement instruments, a new rain gauge, a new anemometer, and a new temperature sensor.  The ship seemed a long way off, but all of its running lights were on.  I thought about how it must have felt for Patrick and Nicole to be all alone in the dark on that buoy while we went back to the ship.

As soon as we returned with the instruments,  Jimbo set out fishing lines and we bagan to troll.  We spent a good 45 minutes circling the buoy, but got nary a bite.  Maybe it just wasn’t feeding time.  As our eyes got our night vision, we could see the sparkling of bioluminescent creatures in the water all around the boat.  The skies were cloudy, so stargazing was out, and eventually it began to rain.

Finally, they were finished with the repair job, and it was my turn to get out onto the buoy.  I already knew that the donut would be slimy and slippery, and it was.  There are several platforms, though, that afford good footing inside the bars of the instrument scaffold.  By the time I was up on the buoy, the swells had picked up a little, and actually, there was a terrific current pulling on the buoy.  It was a little like riding a bucking bronco!

We were out on the buoy operation until well past 11 last night, but I was so glad I hadn’t missed my last chance to get on one of the buoys.  The fish weren’t biting, so we came away empty  handed, but they’ll be other fishing opportunities as we start the long transit back to Honolulu.  Since we have to go right past South Point on the island of Hawaii, there is a chance that students from my school may get to see us, and I’ll keep you posted on exactly when that will be.

Question of the Day:  What is the chemical formula for carbonic acid?

Aloha from the KA!

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 22, 2003

Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 22, 2003

Sunrise:  0610
Sunset:  1817

0515:  4 N CTD

0900:  Shellbacks on bow

1215:  Deploy Test Wind Buoy

Repair 5 N 140 W Buoy

SOLO

Weather Observation Log

Latitude:  4 degrees.,  22.7’ N
Longitude:  139 degrees, 58.8’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  160 degrees
Wind speed:  10 knots
Sea wave height:  2-3 feet
Swell wave height:  4-6 feet
Sea water temperature:  28.0 degrees C
Sea level presuure:  1013.0 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  27.8 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  24.6 degrees C
Cloud cover:  4/8 Cumulus, altocumulus, cirrus
Air temperature:  27.8 degrees C

Science and Technology Log

I promised that I would return to a discussion of the ADCP, or Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler.   You can see from the Daily Log’s Plan of the Day when these were deployed, but they are deployed at the following locations:  (0-147 E, 0-165 E, 0-170 W, 0-140 W).  On which of these locations did we deploy the ADCP on this leg of the cruise?

These moorings are subsurface, and the data is only available after their recovery. Typically, the depth is 300 meters, and these buoys use the Doppler effect to gather data on ocean currents at that depth.  I have posted several pictures on the website of the ADCP, and to me, it looks like a satellite when it was on board the ship.  In the water, it looked like a big orange fishing bobber.

Our buoy ops (operations) are beginning to wind down, and we recovered no TAO buoy today, as you can see from the plan of the day.  There was a repair done to the 5 N 140 W buoy.  A whole group went out to do that, and used the time while out at the buoy to do a little fishing.  Two large fish came back on the RHIB, a yellow-fin tuna and a mahi-mahi. Kamaka was preparing the fish by cutting filets and making poke for tomorrow’s lunch.

I’d like to make available for teachers a lesson plan submitted by Suzanne Forehand from Virginia Beach City Public Schools.  Because the schools have been closed due to the hurricane,  it is not available as yet on the web.  Teachers may request a copy from me, and I will send it as an attached file to an e-mail.  I would like to thank Ms. Forehand for her collaboration on this project, andI  hope that their electricity is restored soon.  I look forward to hearing from the students at Plaza Middle School in Virginia Beach.

Personal Log

Oh, the life of a lowly Wog!  Traditionally,  those who have crossed the equator at sea for the first time are treated to a variety of secret initiation ceremonies where one is designated a “wog”.  Shellbacks are those people who have already made the passage, and it is their delight to devise various tortures to inflict on the wogs.  The 6 of us on board here were ordered up on the forward deck early this morning, and the fun began.  I cannot give away any of these secrets, but suffice it to say that we all got a saltwater shower.  From here on until we complete the initiation, we have to wear our clothes in ridiculous ways, and bow and scrape to the honorable shellbacks.  At the end of several days of this entertainment for all the shellbacks,  we then become a shellback ourselves and will be issued certificates and a card that we will hold on to forever to avoid having to endure the same in the future. In the 19th century this tradition was carried to extremes with such measures as keel-hauling the wogs, and some very serious, life-threatening acts of hazing.  It is toned way down from those days, and all is done with a spirit of fun and good humor.

I have been busy looking at the photos I have taken on the digital camera, and of course selecting ones to be sent to Maryland to be posted on the website.  There were various glitches today with the computer I am working on, so my work had to be done in fits and starts throughout the day.

Tom and I played 2 games of sequence this evening against the CO and Doc and we won the championship!  The competition is fierce around here because the winners get a T-shirt or cap from the ship’s store.  I guess I’ll find out if it was wise to beat the Captain hands down like that.  I am scheduled to play him next in Scrabble.

Question of the Day:  What is the origin of the word “hurricane”?

Aloha until tomorrow!

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 21, 2003

Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 21, 2003

Sunrise:  0609
Sunset:  1819

Plan of the Day:

0045:  1.5 N CTD

0445:  pH profiler Cast

0700:   Recover/Deploy 2 N 140 W Buoy

CTD after anchor drop

AOML after buoy fly by

2230:  3 N CTD and AOML

Weather Observation Log

Latitude:  2 degrees, 2.2’ N
Longitude:  140 degrees, 2.5’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles
Wind direction: 140 degrees
Wind speed:  15 knots
Sea wave height:  3-4 feet
Swell wave height:  4-6 feet
Sea water temperature:  27.7 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1012.2 mb
Air Temperature:  26.7 degrees C
Dry bulb pressure:  26.3 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  24.0 degrees C
Cloud cover:  2/8 Cumulus

Science and Technology Log

Several other scientists are utilizing the CTD casts in their projects.  The first thing that is done when the CTD is brought to the surface is to collect what we have been calling the “Dickson” sample  A .5 liter sea water sample is collected from the surface and then capped using a small bench-top press.  These samples are sent to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego and are analyzed for dissolved inorganic carbon.  This procedure is done by the Survey Technician, and yours truly has learned to do it.  Also, scientist Charles Gutter-Johnson, from Bloomsburg University, uses the CTD water samples for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute research.  This involves taking chlorophyll and nutrient samples using a bench-top flourometer.  Charles also works to collect barnacles off the retrieved buoys for the Bloomsburg University Barnacle Census.

Tom Nolan from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been calibrating his instrument, called the MISR, which stands for Multi-angle Imaging  SpectroRadiometer. What Tom is doing is checking this instrument against NASA’s  satellite in order to check its calibration. The instrument basically looks like a small oblong box, which he points to the sun to get a reading, and then down at the ocean to get another reading.

Lewis 9-21-03 Tom Nolan
Tom Nolan, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, calibrates the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR).

These checks have to be done at precise times in order to catch the satellite in its orbit overhead.  The satellite images are used in weather forecasting and tracking of storms, such as hurricane Isabel. Here is the website address for viewing the satellite image of Isabel taken by MISR: http://www-misr.jpl.nasa.gov.  I would love to look at the image myself, but we do not have the internet on the KA.

I would also like to give you a website address where you can view a labeled diagram of a buoy.  It is: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/images/nexgen.gif.  Here is a question for you: why do the buoys measure conductivity?  To give you somewhat of a hint, conductivity is actually measuring the salinity of the ocean water.  How does salinity relate to ocean currents?

Personal Log

Today we dedicated the TAO buoy to Naalehu Elementary and Intermediate School!  On a large NOAA sticker, I wrote the name of our school, and we had a dedication ceremony where the Captain, John Kermond, our videographer, Tom Nolan and myself signed the sticker. Captain Ablondi and myself then fixed the sticker to the central shaft of the buoy, which is above the water.

CO Ablondi, scientist Tom Nolan, and TAS Nancy Lewis dedicate a buoy to Na’alehu School.
signing the sticker to dedicate the TAO buoy

I am very proud to be a part of the Teacher at Sea program, and be able to share the work on the KA’IMIMOANA of climate observation.  I hope to inspire many of the students at my school, and at schools around the country to a greater interest and study of science, and in particular earth science and oceanography.  If we fail to care for the oceans (and it is all one big ocean despite our giving them separate names) we risk upsetting the entire ecosystem of this planet.  We need the next generation, those of you in school now, to learn as much as they can about this planet, the waters that cover 70% of it, and the atmosphere above us.

We finished filming this afternoon just before sunset, and would like to see who can answer this “brain teaser” of a question:  Why does the ocean foam? Even I do not know the answer to this question, and I pose it for all you budding young scientists out there.

The game tournaments have begun, and I just learned how to place the card game “Sequence”.  Tom is my partner and we won 2 out of 3 games that we played against Nicole Colasacco, the Field Operations Officer (the FOO) and Curt Redman, Engine Utilityman.  The championship game will be against Doc and the CO (Commanding Officer), Mark Ablondi.  According to Doc, whoever wins the first round will be going down when they play her and the CO.  We’ll see!

Questions of the Day:  Quiz for prizes!  First prize will be a KA’IMIMOANA T-shirt, Second prize a ship’s baseball cap, and Third prize a special KA’IMIMOANA patch.  

Here are the questions:

  1. Name the world’s 5 oceans.
  2. Which one is the largest?
  3. How many island groups make up French Polynesia and what are their names?
  4. What is La Nina?
  5. What does NOAA stand for?

Kia Orana!  (May you live long and be at peace, in Cook Islands Maori language)

Nancy Lewis, September 20, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 20, 2003

9/19/03:

2015  Deep CTD

9/20/03:

0100:  pH Profiler

0800:  Deploy CO2 Buoy

1600:  .5 N CTD

2000:  1 N CTD and SOLO

Weather  Observation Log:  0100

Latitude: 0 degrees, 1.9′ S
Longitude:  139 degrees,  49.7 W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  120 degrees
Wind speed:  15 knots
Sea wave height:  3-5 feet
Swell wave height:  4-6 feet
Sea water temperature:  26.1 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1-12.0 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  26.3 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  24.0 degrees C
Cloud cover:  48 Cumulus, altocumulus, cirrus

 

Science and Technology Log

Last evening  there was a deep cast of the CTD to a depth of 4000 meters.  Tom Nolan and I packed lots of styrofoam cups  that had been decorated by students in mesh bags, as well as several foam wig heads that had been artistically painted by Kamaka.  These bags we attached to the CTD.   The idea was to see what would happen to these cups when subjected to the pressures of the ocean at that extreme depth.  The effect was quite interesting. The cups were scrunched, the heads shrunken, but all in perfect  proportion.   As you can see from the Plan of the Day, 2 other CTD casts were done today, both at the regular 1000 foot depth.

The pH Profiler is a prototype instrument designed and being tested here by scientists from the University of South Florida, Renate Bernstein and Xuewu (Sherwood) Liu.  The purpose of their work is the development of precise, accurate, simple, robust and inexpensive CO2-system measurement procedures for use in global CO2 investigations on NOAA vessels.    What they are trying to do is to assess the accuracy, precision and overall performance of the University of South Florida systems compared to the systems used by NOAA over the past 15 years.  From what I have gathered so far in talking to these scientists,  they are not happy about the performance of their instrument.

Let me address the question of AOML drifters.  AOML stands for Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and these are surface drifting buoys which are deployed by simply tossing them off the fantail of the ship.  They are tracked by the Argos satellite and provide SST (Sea Surface Temperature) and mixed layer current information.  There is a global array of these drifters and they provide ground truth for NOAA’s polar orbiting satellite AVHRR SST maps.  Please email Craig Engler@noaa.gov or check out http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/ for more information concerning the AOML drifters.

Lewis 9-20-03 drifter buoy
AOML drifters buoys are deployed by simply tossing them off the fantail of the ship.

Personal Log

Before leaving Hawaii, I told all my students that it was going to be extremely hot and humid here at the equator.  Surprisingly enough for me, that has not been the case at all.  It  has been actually quite pleasant outside, and of course, there is always a sea breeze blowing.  Inside the ship is sometimes like an icebox, especially in the computer lab which is kept at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ship’s doctor, Michelle Pelkey, affectionately known as “Doc” runs the ship’s store every evening from 0730 to 0800.  Already I have bought a T-shirt and Aloha shirt emblazoned with the NOAA insignia and KA’IMIMOANA.   They also sell soft drinks, popcorn, hats and other sundry items.

Doc is also the ship’s recreation director, and has pressed everyone to sign up for tournaments in cribbage, darts, Scrabble, and a card game called Sequence.

My evening tonight was spent doing a CTD cast from start to finish with Tom, my colleague from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Tom has written down every step of the procedure, and we were editing  his instructions during the entire procedure. Randy must have had a lot of faith in us, because we did the whole CTD cast without his help.  The last thing to do on the CTD cast is to hose off the rosette, and I got soaked in the process.  Looks like it is a good time to call it a day!
Question of the Day:

What event occurs this year on September 23rd and what is its significance?

Until tomorrow,

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 19, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 19, 2003

Plan of the Day:

0700:    Recover /Deploy Equatorial ADCP
Recover CO2 Buoy (if there)  OR
Deploy CO2 Buoy ( if Buoy is missing)

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  0 degrees,  0.7′ N
Longitude:  140 degrees., 2.3′ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  120 degrees
Wind speed:  21 knots
Sea wave height:  3-5 feet
Swell wave height:  5-7 feet
Sea water temperature:  26.0 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1011.2 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  26.0 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  23.8 degrees C
Cloud cover:  3/8 Cumulus, altocumulus

Science and Technology Log

The equator!  For me as for most people, it has always just been “that line around the globe,”  but now that I am out here on this project,  I realize that the equator defines more than just the northern and southern hemispheres of the earth.  It is here that the ocean currents are being intensively studied in order for us to understand the relationship between the oceans and climate.  The 1982-83 El Nino was not predicted by scientists, and it had far-reaching, damaging effects on such diverse places as South America and Australia.  It was then that NOAA funded the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere project that is the TAO/Triton array.  Approximately 50 of the buoys are maintained by the U.S. and the other 20 are maintained by Japan.  It took 10 years to complete and in essence, it is a 6,000 mile antennae for scientists to monitor conditions in the equatorial Pacific.

Normally,  the trade winds blow from east to west, but in an El Nino event,  the situation is reversed.

The phenomenon has long been observed by South American fisherman,  and usually occurs around the time of Christmas, hence its name which means “Christ child.”  The great ocean currents are moved by the wind, but around the equator, there are counter, below-sea currents.  Instruments in the TAO/Triton array are involved in collecting important data on these below surface currents.

Each TAO buoy is moored to the bottom of the ocean using steel cable surrounded in plastic and railroad wheels are the anchor.  At various depths on the Nilspin, temperature sensors called thermistors are strapped to the cable.  The cable conducts a signal to the surface of the buoy.  These cables can become damaged (by sharks biting them!) or otherwise degraded, and then the signal will be corrupted. Thus, there is the need for the periodic maintenance which is the main mission of the KA’IMIMOANA.

In addition, some of the buoys are equipped with CO2 sensors, which measure the amount of dissolved CO2 in the water, and which can then be used in studies of global warming.  The buoy which we retrieved today stopped working shortly after it was deployed, and it was not known if it had broken free or what had happened.  As it turned out, the buoy was there, and has been replaced with a fully functioning buoy. Right now, I am looking at innards of that CO2 sensor, which is in the computer lab and is being analyzed by the Chief Scientist.

Personal Log

Early this morning, we recovered the ADCP, which is a subsurface buoy.  Shortly thereafter, we deployed a new ADCP.  ADCP stands for Acoustic Dopplar Current Profiler, and this instrument is used to record data on the below surface currents. I will spend time later discussing this buoy, which looks like a giant orange ball.

I spent much of the day catching up on my daily logs, downloading photos and making several video clips to send to the website.  It appears that the hurricane did a number on the East Coast, and we probably will not have email communication until at least tomorrow.  I have been very happy to get some good questions from the students at Na’alehu School on the Big Island, and I am looking forward to hearing from many more of you next week.

I also spent time today chatting with the Chief Boatswain, Kamaka, a very hard working Hawaiian young man who spreads a lot of aloha wherever he goes.  I have invited Kamaka to come to my school when we get back to Hawaii since he is planning to visit the Big Island.  His girlfriend is Marquesan and lives on Nuku Hiva.

The sunset this evening at the equator was stunningly beautiful,  and there was a rainbow under some misty clouds in the east.  I am hoping my photo was able to capture it for you all.  We shall remain here at the equator overnight, and I am looking forward to the gentle rocking of the ship once I tumble into my berth later this evening.

Question of the Day:   What is the Coriolis effect and how does it relate to winds and ocean currents?

Aloha from the KA’IMIMOANA!

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 18, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 18, 2003

Plan of the Day:  

0130:    4  S CTD and SOLO

0840:    3 S CTD and AOML

1545:    Visit  2 S 140 W Buoy w/CTD and AOML

1800:    Shellback Meeting in Main Mess:  Shellbacks Only!  (If you do not know what a shellback is you are not one)

2345:    1 S CTD and SOLO

 

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  2 degrees,55.3′ S
Longitude:  139 degrees,57.2′ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  080 degrees
Wind speed:  16 knots
Sea wave height:  4-5 feet
Swell wave height:  6-8 feet
Sea water temperature:  26.4 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  
1012.7 mb
Dry bulb pressure:
 26.3 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:
 24.1 degrees C
Cloud cover:  3/8 Cumulus

 

See Tomorrow’s Log for info

Nancy Lewis, September 17, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 17, 2003

Plan of the Day:

0900:    Recover/Deploy 5 S 140 W Buoy
CTD after anchor drop
AOML Drifter after buoy flyby

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  5 degrees, 2′ S
Longitude:  139 degrees, 54.7′ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  090 Degrees
Wind speed:  21 knots (kts)
Sea wave height:  4-6 feet
Swell wave height:  7-9 feet
Sea water temperature:  26.8 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1012.7  mb.
Dry bulb temperature:  27.1 degrees C
Wet bulb temperature:  23.8 degrees C
Cloud cover:   2/8 Cumulus

Science and Technology Log

The primary mission of the KA’IMIMOANA is to service and maintain the TAO/Triton array of weather buoys strung out along the equatorial Pacific Ocean. TAO stands for Tropical Atmosphere Ocean and Triton is the name of the Japanese component of the array.  These buoys are jointly maintained by Japan and the U.S.  in an effort to better understand how the oceans affect climate and weather, especially in the regions close to the Equator.

Today I was able to observe first hand the entire operation of retrieving and deploying what used to be called the Atlas buoy.  They are now designated as TAO buoys. These buoys are placed at strategic points north, south and on the Equator.  The first leg of this mission began in Honolulu on August 21, 2003.  Honolulu is the home base port for the KA’IMIMOANA, which I hope you all know means “ocean seeker” in Hawaiian.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
TAO buoys are jointly maintained by Japan and the U.S. in an effort to better understand how the oceans affect climate and weather, especially in the regions close to the Equator.

Tetsuro Isono from JAMSTEC (Japan Marine Science and Technology Center) was on board as part of the Teacher at Sea program for the first leg from Honolulu to Nuku Hiva.  You can access his broadcasts on the NOAA Teacher at Sea website.  Although he was speaking Japanese, an English translation can be printed out for you to follow. In his broadcasts, Tetsuro interviews many of the scientists on board and introduces much of the equipment and buoys that are used in this project.  It would be very helpful for you to view these broadcasts in order to get a working background for the buoys and their operations, but I will also be giving explanations during the project.

The first thing in retrieving the buoy is that is that it is sighted from the bridge of the ship. These are moored buoys, so they remain in position where they are placed. Once the buoy is sighted, the RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) is lowered from the ship, and a crew is sent out to visually inspect and to remove some of the instruments that would be damaged during the retrieval process.  The anemometer, rain gauge, and Patrick Ahearn, the Chief Scientist and one other “volunteer”.  The buoys are usually very slimy and slippery having been out in the ocean for a period of several months, so climbing on the buoy can be a dangerous affair, especially if there are significant waves and swells.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
lowering the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB)

One of my students has asked the question:  “What information is gathered by the buoys?” The buoys gather data constantly on the following:  wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, downwelling shortwave radiation, downwelling longwave radiation, barometric pressure, sea surface and subsurface temperature, salinity, water pressure, and ocean currents.  You can find more details about the instruments for measuring these variables at this website:  http:www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/proj_over/sensors.shtml.  The data is transmitted via NOAA polar satellites and is actually picked up by computers located on Wallops Island.  This information is used by scientists all over the world who are studying the Pacific Ocean and its relationship to weather and climate, particularly the El Nino and its opposite La Nina.  I will be talking more about these as the cruise progresses.

After the buoy was retrieved, a replacement buoy was deployed.  I will be posting pictures on the website of the marine life growing on the bottom of the buoy, and it must be cleaned, painted and otherwise serviced before it is used again.  The process of retrieving and deploying a new buoy takes approximately 8 hours, as many meters of cable must be spooled on board, and it is amazing to watch this crew work together to bring it all off.  It is a well orchestrated event that I will do more to explain as we go along.

Lewis retrieved buoy
The retrieved buoy must be cleaned, painted and otherwise serviced before it can be used again.

Personal Log

Today was a full day indeed for me, and thankfully I was over my initial seasickness.  The opening act of the morning was my first ride in the RHIB to go out to the buoy.  You can see from the weather observations that it was by no means calm seas, so the ride out to the buoy was pretty exciting.

I was then put to work helping to spool the Nilspin cable which attaches the mooring to the buoy.  The spooling operation takes a long time, and even the XO (Executive Officer) joins in to help.  I observed the entire retrieval and deployment operation, and it basically took the whole day.

After dinner, I began training with Randy Ramey, the Survey Technician in charge of the CTD’s.  I was actually involved in every aspect of the operation under Randy’s expert guidance and Tom Nolan, the scientist from NASA was also on hand.  I will save an explanation of the CTD for another day, but this instrument is really fascinating to me.

It has been a long and exciting day, but very satisfying. I am still learning my way around the ship and getting used to the shipboard schedule  I would like to invite anyone who is looking at the website to e-mail your questions to me, which I can include the answer to on my daily logs. Before I close, let me pose a question for you: What is the Doppler effect?

My thanks go out to my colleagues and students at Na’alehu Elementary and Intermediate School for helping to make this project a success, and I wish you all a fond Aloha!

Nancy Lewis

 

 

Nancy Lewis, September 16, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 16, 2003

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

0815       Anchor Aweigh:  Underway

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  8 degrees, 56.7′ S
Longitude:  139 degrees, 59.1′ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  100 degress
Wind speed:  18 knots (kts)
Sea wave height:  5-6 feet
Swell wave height:  5-7 feet
Sea water temperature:  27.2 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1013.8 mb (millibars)
Dry bulb temperature:  28.0 degress C
Wet bulb temperature:  23.0 degrees C
Cloud cover:  2/8 Cumulus, Altocumulus

Personal Log

Today is my first full day on the KA’IMIMOANA, and we steamed out of the harbor of Nuku Hiva at 8:15 am past the huge rocks that guard both sides of the bay.  I was out on the forward deck for much of the morning, admiring the striking coastline of Nuku Hiva as we got underway in what were somewhat rough sea conditions.  I took some pictures of the dramatic cliffs that break off sharply down to the sea with not a sign of any human habitation. I was somewhat wistful at departing this very unspoiled island, but thought, perhaps some day I will get to return.  After all, I never in my life expected to ever visit such a remote spot as the Marquesas Islands.  Off in the distance, so shrouded in mist it seemed almost a mirage, could be faintly discerned another one of the Marquesas Islands, its craggy peaks rising up like castle ramparts in a fairy tale. I remained on deck taking in the salty breeze, but the ship was heaving up and down in seas that were at least 6-9 feet.

I thought I should go back to my stateroom and finish my unpacking and arranging my things, as everything on board a ship has to be “ship-shape,” meaning neat, clean  and orderly.  I was aware that I really wasn’t feeling all that well, having developed somewhat of a queasy feeling from the rocking of the ship while in the bay at Nuku Hiva. I went outside a few more times to catch some final glimpses of  island we were leaving behind, and it  seemed that the seas were definitely rough.  Uh, oh, I had heard horror stories about some crew members being seasick for days on end.  By this time, I was feeling quite ill.  I talked to several “old hands” on board, and several urged me to take it easy, and maybe try and sleep.  We were steaming to our destination at 4 degrees South Latitude from Nuku Hiva, which is at 8 degrees South latitude, and so were basically headed north, along the 139th meridian of Longitude.   We had no buoy operations scheduled today, so I decided it would be best to just take it easy.

There is nothing worse than being seasick, although I never really got that bad.  I took some more Dramamine and hoped for the best.  The few times I did get up in the afternoon to go down to the mess for some tea,  I saw other crew members, and they were telling me it was unusually rough, and I was not the only one feeling sick.  So there isn’t much to tell about today, except that they say that a little seasickness comes with first going to sea until you get your “sea legs”.  As I turned in for the night, I imagine my face looked a little green, and I was fervently hoping I would get those legs as quickly as possible.

From the Plan of the Day:  Notice:  ” Secure all items for sea”

Does that include lunch?

Aloha from the KA!

Nancy Lewis, September 15, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 15, 2003

Nuku Hiva:  Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Personal Log

Several of us piled in Rose Corser’s Land Rover and were dropped of at the school in Taiohae, where we soon found the principal’s office.  I was pressed into service as interpreter since the principal did not speak English.  We were directed to one of the classes, where Tom Nolan and Tetsuro Isono made a short presentation to the students.  “Le professeur” explained a little about the mission of the KA’IMIMOANA,  and I was able to understand a quite bit of what he said.  Except for the language being French, I would have thought I was in a classroom in Hawaii.

The students then came outside with us and sang to us in the Marquesan language.  With the bay in the background, the KA moored in the harbor, it was one of those “island moments.”  Our objective today was definitely one of diplomacy and good will.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Students from the school in Taiohae sing in the Marquesan language.

Our next stop was the Mayor’s office where there was to be a presentation from the KA’IMIMOANA to the VIP’s of Nuku Hiva.  The current mayor of Nuku Hiva was there, along with the past 2 mayors, the island Chief, the head of the Gendarmerie (Police) and the French representative for Nuku Hiva.  Captain Mark Ablondi presented them with an enlarged satellite photo of Nuku Hiva.  Many speeches were made, expressing appreciation for the collaborative work of all the parties in the effort to better understand the world’s oceans.

It was now time to take the water taxi out to the KA’IMIMOANA for the tour given to the VIP’s. This was my first time on board the ship, in fact, my first time on board any ship! I joined in the VIP tour of what would be my floating home for the next 2 weeks.

Lewis VIP tour
The VIP tour of NOAA Ship KA’IMIMOANA.

After lunch on board, a class of students from the school joined us and I enjoyed trying out my French with them, and just generally enjoying being around the kids.  By the time they served ice cream in the mess, several of the crew on board had become celebrities, signing autographs and the subject of many 14 year old girls’ giggles.

For the last night on Nuku Hiva almost the entire crew went out for pizza after saying our goodbyes to Rose and Diana, the manager of The Pearl.  It was nearly eleven by the time we took the water taxi to the ship, and I was shown to my stateroom.  Tetsuro had flown back to the States, and I was taking over his berth on the ship.  I must admit that my few hours on board earlier in the day had  given me a bit of a queasy stomach, so I regretfully swallowed some dramamine before turning the lights out.  We would get underway in the morning continuing the work of the KA’IMIMOANA near the equator.

Bon nuit and au revoir Nuku Hiva!

Nancy Lewis, September 14, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 14, 2003

Nuku Hiva:  Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Personal Log 

A group of us from the Pearl Lodge signed on to make the day long trip back into the interior of the island to see a one thousand foot waterfall.  We were to have Jean Pierre, a native Marquesan, as our guide, but first we had to take a boat over to Hakaui Bay to reach the trailhead.  Once we reached the mouth of the bay, things got really interesting, with  our pilot expertly navigating the moderate sea swells that seemed much bigger from our small craft.

We came well south of the bay passing sheer headlands that plunged right to the sea, and then entered into Hakaui Bay facing a gray sand beach fringed coconut trees, the perfect picture of a wild, tropical beach.  As we all gathered on shore to begin the trek, an old Marquesan woman appeared with a dog on a leash, seeming to come out of nowhere. She reminded me of the stories of Pele back home in Hawaii. We soon started our trek, and found the very small village of Hakaui, and Jean Pierre, our Marquesan guide, told us that there had been many people living in this valley until 1942 when a malaria epidemic forced most of the inhabitants to leave.  We also met Daniel, a spry Marquesan who’d lived in the village since 1927.

The hike to the waterfall first passed through some of the village’s cultivated cleared areas where they were growing bananas, coconuts, and papayas.  We soon entered some dense tropical jungle, and were glad for the deep shade provided against the hot sun.  We passed many stone foundations of houses, called in Marquesan “papais”, remnants of former human settlement.  At one point, I saw a stone tiki sitting on top of one of these papais, and it seemed to be guarding some secret.  Although there was a trail, we had to cross the river several times, and so we definitely needed Jean Pierre’s services.

Just before reaching the falls,  we encountered several hunters on horseback, who had their kill wrapped in cloth and slung over their saddles.  A little further on, spiky ramparts of needlelike rocks rose up five hundred feet, and Renault, our other guide, told us that there were the bones of human sacrifices hidden in the clefts of one of the needles.

We soon reached the base of the falls with its sheer cliffs rising up in a narrow gorge that reminded me of certain places in Utah.  There was a spacious pool easily accessible,  but further back behind some rocks was the pool where the cascade roared down.  Several of us jumped into the cold fresh water, and eventually we found a way into the cascade pool, and discovered a hidden grotto behind the rocks.  The water was very cold, but invigorating.

After our swim, and a bit of lunch, we started back , but took a slightly different route, arriving at the beach of Hakatea Bay where our boats were waiting.  The ride back to Taiohae was exciting, and well, dangerous.  The seas had kicked up to between 9 and 12 feet, and we were literally holding on for dear life to stay in the boat as it crashed into one trough and rose up to meet the next:  and we had no life preservers! Jean Pierre was in my boat, and a few times had a worried look on his face, but I enjoyed it immensely.

We cruised into the harbor past the KA and piled into the back of an open Land Rover to go back to the lodge.  It was satisfying to turn in early after the excitement of our expedition into the interior of the island, and to once again hear the soft sounds of surf at the close of  a great day.

Nancy Lewis, September 13, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 13, 2003

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Despite my intention to catch up some sleep,  I woke up for the stunning sunrise across  the bay.  Because of some dense tropical foliage obscuring my view from the lanai, it was not until I walked over to breakfast that I could see that the NOAA Ship KA’IMIMOANA had arrived and was anchored peacefully in the bay.  My colleague, Tom Nolan, a scientist from NASA,  had gone to meet the ship, so I took advantage of this opportunity to steal back to my bungalow and read.  I had brought with me a copy of Herman Melville’s Typee, which is the semi-biographical account of how he jumped ship on this very island of Nuku Hiva, and escaped over into the next valley to live for a period of time with the notorious Typee natives. I mused on his descriptions of tyrannical sea captains, and inhumane treatment aboard his ship, and dreamed myself of stealing over to Taipivai Valley to visit the very place of his mild imprisonment with the “fierce Typees”.

My reveries were soon broken by the arrival of the party from the ship, and soon I was sitting and conversing with Tetsuro Isono, the scientist from Japan who was on board for the first leg of the KA’s mission from Honolulu.  I also met Diane Bernstein, from the University of South Florida, who is working on calibrating an instrument designed to analyze CO2 dissolved in the water. It was great to meet these people and all of the other folks who make up the crew of the KA’IMIMOANA.

The day ended for all of us in a very special way.  After dinner, a local dance troupe came and entertained the party with traditional Marquesan dancing and drumming.  The young men and girls were decked out in hand made costumes of feathers, beads, and raffia, and they brought out huge homemade drums.  The performance was a spirited dance that had the bare, painted chests of the young men glistening with sweat.  The only complaint was that the dancing didn’t go on all night.  I thought again about Melville’s time that he spent here on Nuku Hiva.  His story helped to fuel the romantic ideas associated with the remote South Sea Islands.  I walked back to my bungalow with the scent of tiares wafting down the path, and the moonlight reflecting off the waters of the bay.

Nancy Lewis, September 12, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 12, 2003

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Personal Log 

I arrived in Nuku Hiva on Friday, September  12, 2003  after flying from Honolulu to Los Angeles, and from there to Tahiti.  I spent one night in Papeete, Tahiti, then boarded another flight for Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands,  3 hours by air from Tahiti.  From the air I could see many of the other islands and coral atolls that make up French Polynesia, and which are strung out over one thousand miles of ocean.  The Marquesas Islands are one of 5 island groups comprising French Polynesia.  The other island groups are the Society Islands, the Austral Islands, the Gambier Islands, and the Tuamotus.

Lewis 9-12-03 Nuku Hiva
A map of the island of Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

The plane landed on the southern end of Nuku Hiva, its landing strip right beside the ocean, as the island rises sharply into craggy peaks affording little flat, coastal ground. I was greeted by Jean Claude, who asked me if I spoke French, as he informed me, in English, that he would be my driver to the village of Taiohae, on the other side of the island.

We soon departed in Jean Pierre’s Land Rover, and  it was to be a two hour  ride over a very rough, unpaved road, definitely a four-wheel drive track.  The road wound its way up into the mountains of the interior, and the views were spectacular.  One particularly deep valley, almost at the summit, is called the Grand Canyon, and it aptly deserves that name.  We bounced over the deeply rutted, twisting dirt road, and I was very glad that the rainy season was past, as I could tell that the road would have been absolutely treacherous under wet conditions.  In many places, we were right on the edge of steep precipices, with no protection, but Jean Pierre was an excellent driver.

Along the way I was observing the plants and trees, and saw many that were the same or similar to what we have in Hawaii.  We began to descend out of the steep crests of the interior mountains, and passed pastures with cows and horses grazing.  All at once we came to a paved road, and Jean Pierre joked that we had reached the “freeway”.  A young Marquesan waved to us from his horse. A freeway indeed!

Soon the village of Taiohae was laid out below us, nestled around the horseshoe-shaped bay, truly a delightful scene of tropical tranquility.  We descended into the village and came to The Pearl Lodge, my accommodations while in Nuku Hiva.  The grounds of The Pearl are a botanical garden, carefully tended by Rose Corser, an American woman who started the lodge with her late husband, Frank.  The bungalows are built in the Tahitian style, faced with split bamboo, and most tastefully decorated.  My lanai faced the bay, and at last,  I could have a rest from my long journey, and drink in the serene beauty of Nuku Hiva.

In the afternoon, needing some exercise after two days of being on an airplane,  I rode a bicycle from the lodge to the far end of the village,  and stopped at the quay at the end of the harbor.  Young men were just coming in on outrigger canoes and there were a number of people from the village there.  On my way back to the lodge,  I was hailed by some girls from the school, who said “stop” and indicated they wanted to talk to me.  They soon brought their teacher over to talk to me in English, as my French is not very good. It was wonderful to meet these young people and to explain why I was on their island.

I had dinner that evening with Rose and Tom Nolan,  a scientist representing NASA from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and who would also be joining the NOAA Ship KA’IMIMOANA. Tom endeavored to coax Rose into telling some stories from her adventurous past, as evidently she had sailed around the world and certainly had a wealth of tales to tell.

My first day on Nuku Hiva closed with the moon shining brightly over the bay, back-lighting the peaks of the mountains cradling the bay, and with the soft whisper of the surf  a lullaby of the island.

Diane Stanitski: Days 20-25, September 4, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 20: Friday, August 30

We arrived in Nuku Hiva with a bright sun beginning to set behind a band of gorgeous clouds. There was an air of excitement flowing through the group as land came into view. Because it’s customary to raise the flag of the country that you’re visiting, Steve, the ablebodied seaman and the XO, Doug, raised the French flag before arriving in port. We had a morning all hands (all on board) meeting to collect passports and explain procedures for docking. I spent most of the afternoon answering emails and working on lesson plans, two things I hadn’t had time to do this week because of the daily broadcasts that we completed. I also packed my books and clothes and began taking more pictures of all the spaces and people I hoped to remember on the ship. Aaaahhhh, I had such mixed feelings about leaving. We slowly made our way into the middle of Taihoae Bay, anchored, and raised a round black flag on the front mast designating that the ship is anchored. As we were waiting to hear from the gendarmerie, Nemo spotted three manta rays off the port side of the bow. They sailed through the water with kite-like bodies. Rain began to fall and we were finally told that we could take the RHIB to shore and that our passports would be stamped the next morning. A group of us decided to visit one of few local restaurants, a place that serves pizza, and we all enjoyed an evening together on land. Many people said that they still felt the rocking of the ship, even though we were on land, but I felt firmly planted. Don Shea and I felt so good that we decided to run back to the pier after dinner. Oh, what a feeling to run on solid ground!

Day 21: Saturday, August 31

I awoke early on the ship to depart on the 7:00 AM boat taxi to town. We wanted to make sure that we received the appropriate departure paperwork so we wouldn’t have a challenging time leaving French Polynesia in four days. With all paperwork complete a group of us walked along the one main road in the small fishing village to the bungalows at Pearl Lodge where John Kermond and I would stay. Wow, what a wonderful place! It overlooked the bay and had a beautiful (very small) pool with a pretty patio. I filled out the necessary paperwork for my room, but it wasn’t quite ready so I decided to return to the ship to gather my luggage. After a final goodbye to the KA (or so I thought), John and I returned to the Pearl Lodge, found our rooms, and were able to unpack and settle in for two nights. The Captain led a group hike over the mountain behind the lodge to beautiful Colette Bay where we swam in the waves and imagined that we were part of the Survivor series. We then scaled the volcanic cliffs to the end of the peninsula where a group of people were fishing for barracuda. Upon return to the hotel, I showered and decided to return to the KA one last time to check and reply to emails from my students. The ship was quiet because almost everyone was cherishing the last moments on shore before ship departure the next morning. I walked around the ship and a real feeling of sadness came over me. I was very surprised at my response to bidding farewell to this ship and the people I’d learned so much from during the last two weeks. I could really get used to life at sea. With a wave to the XO and Fred Bruns on the ship deck, I hopped back onto the boat taxi around 9:00 PM, was whisked away into the night air, and then returned to the bungalows for a much needed rest.

Day 22: Sunday, September 1

Nuku Hiva is predominantly Catholic and so the 8:00 AM Catholic service in town was the place to be on Sunday morning. The entire town was there. The church was absolutely beautiful and the music lifted the roof (as John said) off the building. The service was in both French and Tahitian, but very traditional and so easy to follow. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE sang the songs and that made it very powerful. After the Mass, we walked back to the bungalows to film the ship’s departure, however, it didn’t leave until nearly noon and so we waited for 2 hours on the hotel’s patio while the weather changed from hot and sunny to a torrential downpour with strong winds. After its departure we were then invited to take an afternoon jeep tour to the Typeevai, the valley where Herman Melville wrote his book Typee. We hiked to a ceremonial site with 11 Tikis carved in 1200 AD from the volcanic rock of the island – beautiful! It poured on us and our guide broke off a huge banana leaf that we used as an umbrella. I managed to receive about forty mosquito bites on my legs and arms and our guide picked a lime, cut it open, and applied it to the bites to relieve the itch – marvelous. What a gorgeous island.

Day 23: Monday, September 2

After a few hours making final arrangements for our flights and filming the last shots of Taihoae, we departed by four-wheel drive Land Rover later in the morning for a two-hour exciting trip to the airport northwest across the mountains and valleys of the remote, rugged island of Nuku Hiva. In the pouring rain the trip was treacherous. At times, the mud was up to the top of the tires and, although we had a difficult time seeing through the fog, we could tell there were steep cliffs on one side. Our driver had clearly made this trip before. We arrived safely and waited for our 3-hour flight to Papeete, Tahiti. We flew over atolls and through beautiful trade wind clouds.

Day 24: Tuesday, September 3

This was our only day in Tahiti. We awoke early and called Meteo France to see if we could have a tour of the weather station at the airport. We were trying to discover where the meteorological readings had been taken for the 100+ years of data recorded and now used to determine the Southern Oscillation Index. After a challenging conversation half in French, half in English, we were finally able to ask the necessary questions and receive a historical summary of the station. We were given a tour of the airport’s weather station and pamphlets to provide to my classes. John filmed the entire meeting. I was especially excited about this side trip because I’d always wanted to visit this specific weather station. Next on my list is Darwin, Australia, the sister site to the Tahiti station – maybe in a few years.

This experience has been like no other for me. I am so grateful to Dr. John Kermond, Jennifer Hammond, Rear Admiral Evelyn Fields, NOAA, NSF, Shippensburg University and all those responsible for my incredible journey. I will use the information that I learned on this trip in my classes, but more importantly, I hope to share the excitement and wonder of science with my students and my teaching colleagues so that they can understand the importance of conducting scientific research to discover more about our world and ourselves. Thank you to all!

Signing off for now, but I hope to hear from you again at dmstan@ship.edu.
Best wishes,
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 19, August 19, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 19: Thursday, August 29, 2002

The FOO (Field Operations Officer)’s quote of the day: 

“The art of art, the glory of expression…is simplicity.”
– Walt Whitman

Weather Log:
Here are our observations at 1600 today:
Latitude: 4°59.00’S (into the Southern Hemisphere!)
Longitude: 139°49.2’W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 95°
Wind speed: 12 kts
Sea wave height: 3-4′
Swell wave height: 5-6′
Sea water temperature: 27.3°C
Sea level pressure: 1009.3 mb
Cloud cover: 2/8, Cumulus

Science and Technology Log:

I awoke early to be sure that I could hop on board the RHIB when it was ready to depart for our next buoy retrieval. John K. wanted to try something new…a live broadcast from the RHIB while he filmed from the ship. I suited up with a life jacket, hard hat, radio, microphone, and cameras. This would be a challenge. As it turned out, Larry, our electronics technician who assists with the technology end of the broadcast, and John could only hear me for a short distance away from the ship. John, however, caught the entire scene on camera. Upon arrival at the buoy I jumped on to it after Dave Zimmerman and asked him questions while he was dismantling the instruments so they didn’t break while the buoy was being retrieved. It was so much fun. There appeared to be quite a few barnacles and algae (very slimy) built up below the waterline on the buoy.

We then hopped off and drove back to the ship where we finished the broadcast. Ensign Sarah Dunsford then joined me and described the entire retrieval procedure from the boat deck of the ship looking back at the fantail. She did an excellent job.

We decided to hold off on the shooting of our general broadcast so that we could all pitch in to assist with the spooling of the cable as it was brought up from over 4000 meters of depth. This takes a few hours and I helped by turning one of the spools while the nylon cable wrapped around loop after loop. In between spools I helped Nadia with the barnacle removal. We scraped the entire buoy clean.

Someone then shouted that whales were spotted off the stern of the ship and I ran back to see if I could find them. There they were!!! I was told that there were ten of them, but I only saw about five. They were pilot whales, not too large – perhaps 12′ long – but still very beautiful as they swam through the water. What a treat!!! We completed the retrieval and went into the mess to eat lunch.

The afternoon consisted of conducting interviews during our final general broadcast from on board the ship. We are hoping to complete additional broadcasts from Nuku Hiva, if possible, and to shoot video footage in Tahiti at the Meteorological station. This was a fun broadcast. We interviewed Takeshi from France who played his flute and said a few words in French, Nemo who described his duties on the ship and showed up how to tie a few important knots, and Mike Strick who can often be found assisting in the kitchen as well as on the fantail – he does it all! The broadcast ended with the deployment of the buoy that would replace the one removed earlier today. A great day in my book!

Personal Log:

I began taking photos of all the people on the ship today. I don’t want to forget any of them as I leave this ship and sail back to my life in Shippensburg. It’s the little things that people do along the way that make all the difference, isn’t it!? During one of the CTD casts to 1000 meters, Jason Poe helped me miniaturize and mold a group of styrofoam cups that I could bring back to my family, friends, and students. Doug McKay (Nemo) assisted many times when I needed a hard hat or life jacket at the last moment in order to be able to experience something on the ship. Fred Bruns provided insight, feedback and tidbits of history about the ship. Larry Wooten was always ready to help with any technical problem that arose, no matter the time of day or night. Paul Freitag answered an unending array of questions that I had about the science on the ship. John Kermond, of course, was always there with new ideas and ways to make my experience the most exciting and informative possible. All of the officers on board cooperated during each of our broadcasts and permitted great flexibility so we could produce interesting and educational webcasts for all of you. I could go on and on…and probably will tomorrow during my final day on the ship while it’s at sea.

Takeshi taught one last French lesson tonight just after dinner while watching the sunset so that we would be prepared for arrival in Nuku Hiva. Most people are ready to see land before they complete their journey by ship, taking them back to Honolulu in the next few weeks. Six of us will depart in Nuku Hiva. I look forward to an opportunity to explore the island and to shoot more footage to be used in our videos on the web. After another productive day, it’s time for bed.

Question of the day: Name two of the instruments that are placed on the buoys at sea, and state what they measure. Email me one last time with your response. If you’re the first person to respond and I receive your answer early enough tomorrow, I might be able to include your name in my final logs.

Last full day at sea…
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 18, August 28, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 18: Wednesday, August 28, 2002

The FOO (Field Operations Officer)’s quote of the day: 

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”
– William Shakespeare

Weather Log:
Here are our observations at 0900 today:
Latitude: 3°39.88’S (into the Southern Hemisphere!)
Longitude: 140°00.36’W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 100°
Wind speed: 13 kts
Sea wave height: 4-5′
Swell wave height: 6-8′
Sea water temperature: 27.1°C
Sea level pressure: 1011.7 mb
Cloud cover: 2/8, Cumulus, Cirrus

Hurricane Genevieve lives!

Science and Technology Log:

I stayed up until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore last night. I finished the script and lesson plan for today’s broadcast with my graduate students in the Atmospheric Environment class. When I awoke at 0600, I realized that the fish bite test was already in progress on the fantail of the ship. I quickly prepared for my morning broadcast and then went outside to see if I could help place fish heads (mostly red snapper) on the lines that were being tested. The objective of the test was to qualitatively determine the fish-bite protection of a new armored mooring cable. The current cable that is used, nilspin, is very heavy while the cable to be tested is much lighter, but has a greater diameter. The test cable consists of a polyester core wrapped with electrical wires with up to two layers of special cloth armoring with a PE jacket. The cable diameter is ~221 mm. The test consisted of towing three 100 m cables (no armor, single, and double) simultaneously from the stern while the boat moved at 1-2 kts. Fish heads were attached every 3 meters to each cable. I was asked to take notes on the procedure since it was a new experiment and to use a multimeter to ensure that the lines were actually measuring electrical conductivity in case of a fish bite. Occasionally, I managed to assist with the deployment of the lines by helping place mesh bags alongside the line, opening the bag and inserting a partially frozen and slimy head of a fish, attaching the bag to the cable with wire ties, and then placing electrical tape over the wire tie and ends of the bags to keep them attached. It took approximately 2-1/2 hours to prepare the fish lines and deploy them. I really enjoyed it. There’s something exciting about having a group of people working together toward a common goal, especially when science is involved.

We started the broadcast soon after the fish bite test was running and I had the opportunity to interview a number of people on board who hadn’t been highlighted in a past broadcast. They were great! This was a more scientific webcast mostly focused on El Nino and the research conducted on the ship. I loved every minute and learned a great deal in the process. The video is 51 minutes long and can be accessed at on our videos page. Check it out when you have time.

I asked Lobo, our Chief Engineer, how portable water is created on the ship. He provided a great overview of the process. Seawater is converted into fresh water by vacuum distillation. In the end, the water is used for drinking, as process water, and for domestic purposes. The seawater to be distilled evaporates at a temperature of about 40°C (very low temperature for evaporation to occur) as it passes between the hot plates in an evaporator on board. The evaporating temperature corresponds to a vacuum of approximately 93%, which is maintained by the brine/air ejector. The vacuum serves to lower the evaporation temperature of the feed water. Having reach boiling temperature – which is lower than at atmospheric pressure – the feed water undergoes a partial evaporation, and the mixture of generated vapor and brine enters the separator vessel, where the brine is separated from the vapor and extracted by the combined brine/air ejector. The vapors that are generated pass through a demister where any drops of seawater that are entrained are removed and fall to the bottom of the distiller chamber. The vapors continue to the condenser where they condense to fresh water as they pass between cold plates. The freshwater that is produced is extracted by the freshwater pump and led to the freshwater tank. We can store approximately 3000 gallons of water on board.

I conducted a CTD test by myself for the first time tonight at 7:30 PM. Everything worked and we decided to test zucchini, a green pepper, a potato, and a round loaf of bread to see what happens to it when it’s submerged to the extreme pressure at 1000 meters below the water surface. When we finished the CTD cast where we sampled water at 1000m, 800 m, 600 m, 400 m, 200 m, 150, 100 m, 60 m, 40 m, 25 m, 10 m, and the surface, we brought the sampling cylinders up with the food. The potato looked and felt the same, the zucchini was squishy, the green pepper looked exactly the same but it had a crack on the side and was full of water. It must have burst on the way down and filled with water. In this case, the pressure would have been the same from the inside to the outside so no change in size took place. The bread looked like pita bread. It had been placed in plastic wrap, 2 zip-lock bags, and another plastic sleeve, but still managed to get wet. Interesting experiment.

Just after the CTD returned to the surface, I went to the starboard side of the ship to throw in an AOML, a device that measures water currents across the ocean surface (more on this tomorrow). AOMLs float away into the distance but transmit their data on a realtime basis. They are occasionally retrieved, but usually remain in the Pacific forever.

Personal Log:

I am receiving all of your emails – thank you! It’s great to hear that your first week of classes is going well. I will highlight several of your questions in tomorrow’s log!

Congratulations to Steve Osmanski who knew that the term “knot(s)” is a unit of maritime speed goes back to the days of sailing ships, when speed was measured by throwing a wooden device called a “chip log” over the stern of the ship. The chip log had a line attached with knots spaced along it. When the log was thrown overboard, a timing device (usually a 30-second sandglass) was turned and the number of knots that passed through the user’s hand as the line unreeled during the 30 seconds was the ship’s speed in nautical miles per hour. It was reported to the officer of the deck as so many “knots.” The distance between knots in a log line is calculated at 1.688 feet for every second in your timing interval; so a 30-second log line would have knots 50.64 feet (50 feet, 7 and 2/3rds inches, just about). Many of you answered this correctly, but Steve was first!

John and I played Yahtzee tonight in the third round of the match. I managed to win again so I move into the semi-final round.

Question of the day: How long is the Ka’imimoana? Check out Teacher at Sea web site for all the details.

Closer to land, but wishing I was further out to sea…
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 17, August 27, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 17: Tuesday, August 27, 2002

We are still enjoying the equator today!!! (0° latitude, 140° west longitude)

The FOO (Field Operations Officer)’s quote of the day: 

“Just as much as we see in others we have in ourselves.”
– William Hazlitt

Weather Log:
Here are our observations at 1400 today:
Latitude: 0°00.49’S (into the Southern Hemisphere!)
Longitude: 139°52.4’W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 090°
Wind speed: 15 kts
Sea wave height: 3-4′
Swell wave height: 5-7′
Sea water temperature: 26.9°C
Sea level pressure: 1008.5 mb
Cloud cover: 4/8, Cumulus

A new tropical storm, Genevieve, is on her way to hurricane status! She is currently at 14°N, 115°W and is moving toward 280° at 6 kts. She has sustained winds at 60 kts with gusts to 75 kts.

Science and Technology Log:

After the equatorial buoy was retrieved late last night, most of the crew worked very late to pull in the 4500 meters of cable. Then, they needed to prepare the new buoy to be deployed this morning. Everyone is looking rather tired today. The CO and Chief Scientist joined us for a few moments at the start of our morning broadcast to participate in the buoy dedication ceremony. I first introduced the show and then we all signed our names on a large NOAA sticker, added a Shippensburg University Spirit sticker, and then attached them to the central cylinder on the buoy where all of the instrument electronics are stored. These stickers will be there for the next year until the buoy is retrieved again. Pretty neat, I think.

Our broadcasts took all morning to complete and overall went well. We continue to learn what works and what doesn’t with regard to the technology. It’s best to interview just a few people and when writing on the dry erase board, use black marker, not blue. As they say, practice makes perfect.

I realized tonight how much I love interviewing scientists, especially people who do things related to, but very different than, what I do. I am always fascinated with other scientists’ research because their methodologies are often so different from my own. They make me think, which definitely expands my mind.

Personal Log:

Well, I was up late last night preparing for double broadcasts today. I spend so much time in front of the computer in the main lounge that I arrived yesterday to find a sign saying, “Casa Diane”. I figured it was Lobo or Don who always comment that I spend too much time in “my office”. Kirby came by to say that the fish were jumping outside and invited me to join everyone on the deck. WOW! I have never seen so many fish in my life! There were hundreds of HUGE fish jumping out of the water, flying over the surface (flying fish), zipping up, down, over, and lurching at smaller fish that I could hardly believe my eyes. The sea was boiling! The fish were different from the starboard to the port side of the ship, tuna and sharks on port and rainbow runners on starboard. I caught my first real fish last night – a yellowfin tuna that probably weighed just under 10 lbs. Larry helped get me started and then coached me as I reeled it in…what fun!!! Everyone was cheering for all of us because all that you had to do was place your hook in the water and something latched on. Even if you had a bite, a shark often came by and snatched your prize. I’ll bet that I saw at least 50 sharks, hundreds of zipping tuna (which are gorgeous, by the way), a whole school of rainbow runners, and tons of flying fish. All in all, we caught at least 25 fish last night (a few around 40 lbs) and immediately cleaned and prepared them to be eaten every which way. A few people awoke early and caught another 20. I love sushimi the most, but we’ve also been eating fish fried, broiled, in salad form, etc. It reminds me of Forrest Gump – shrimp gumbo, shrimp salad, shrimp…! We did have to freeze some of the fish because there’s no way that we could eat everything in the next few days. The fish that were caught all had full stomachs comprised of many very small fish that looked like sardines. To top off the whole experience there was a bright moon above the horizon illuminating the bubbling water. Even the crew who have been on board for many years were impressed with last night’s scene. I am truly amazed by the sea! It brings something new every day. See my photo log for a few pictures of last night’s fiesta! Oh, and I forgot to say that two flying fish actually flew onto the ship overnight and were found this morning. I highlighted the larger one in my broadcasts today – simply amazing.

It has been another interesting day.

More tomorrow…
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 16, August 26, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 16: Sunday, August 26, 2002

Today we are at the equator!!! (0° latitude, 140° west longitude)

The FOO (Field Operations Officer)’s quote of the day: 

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to be self-sufficient.”
– Michael de Montaigne

Weather Log:
Here are our observations at 1400 today:
Latitude: 0°02’N
Longitude: 139°56’W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 140°
Wind speed: 9 kts
Sea wave height: 3-4′
Swell wave height: 5-7′
Sea water temperature: 27.1°C
Sea level pressure: 1010.3 mb
Cloud cover: 4/8, Cumulus, Altocumulus

Hurricane Fausto is currently located at 21.3°N, 132.7°W and continues to diminish in strength. It has sustained winds of 60 kt, gusting to 75 kt. and is moving toward 300° (WNW) at 15 kt. Its central pressure has risen to 987 mb.

Greeting:

First of all, I’d like to say WELCOME to my classes at Shippensburg University. Today is the first day of classes there and I want to acknowledge those people who are helping to cover my classes and are also assisting with the link between me and my students this week and next. Those who have helped tremendously include Drs. Niel Brasher, George Pomeroy, William Rense, Christopher Woltemade, and Holly Smith. Thank you!

I have already received email messages from many of you in my classes. Remember, part of your assignment for this first week is to email me at least 3 times asking me questions about the ship’s operations, science on board, or anything else that you feel would be of interest to you. Please read all of my logs, check out my photos, watch the previous videos, and follow the path that the ship takes across the Pacific Ocean. We’ll be referring to all of the information shared on the web throughout the semester. Welcome to the Pacific Ocean – glad you could join me!

Science and Technology Log:

I awoke and immediately starting preparing for our second general broadcast of the trip. Seven guests were scheduled to be interviewed during this broadcast. They did an excellent job. Unfortunately, Dave Zimmerman was immersed in the operations of the morning Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) retrieval and deployment, and so couldn’t join us for a short interview. I’ll try to catch him again when things aren’t quite as hectic. Overall, the show went well and I’ll spend the rest of the day preparing for the next three broadcasts with my students in Introduction to the Atmosphere, Meteorology, and the Atmospheric Environment at Shippensburg University. I’m anxious to meet everyone in the classroom from the ship to share some of the things that I’ve been learning on board the Ka’imimoana. Please check out all of the videos on this web site to see who I’ve interviewed in the past. The ship’s scientific equipment and research, and my interactions with scientists using them, will definitely add to what I teach in the classroom, which should make for a more interesting and valuable experience for all of you.

Here are some interesting facts about the ADCP. It is a subsurface mooring, which means that it is anchored to the bottom of the ocean but remains nearly 300 meters below the surface of the water, and it measures current velocity profiles. It is a large round floating orange sphere (see photo logs) that measures the velocity of ocean currents in approximately the upper 250 meters of the ocean using the Doppler effect. Today, after triggering the acoustic release separating the anchor from the old ADCP that was being replaced, the instrument emerged at the surface of the water, was spotted, and then dragged through the water to the ship where it was hoisted up with one of the ship’s cranes onto the fantail. The thousands of meters of line were then reeled in and later deployed again with a replacement ADCP attached. The instrument uses the Doppler effect meaning that there is a change in the observed sound pitch that results from relative motion of an object, in this case water. If something is coming toward you, the wave frequency appears to be higher and if something is going away from you, the frequency of waves appears to be lower. The example that is always used is that of a moving train. The train’s whistle has a higher pitch when the train approaches and a lower pitch when it moves away from you. The change in pitch is directly proportional to how fast the train is moving. If you measure the pitch and how much it changes, you can calculate the speed of the train.

ADCPs use the Doppler effect by transmitting sound at a fixed frequency and listening to echoes returning from waves and sound scatterers in the water, such as small particles or plankton reflecting the sound back to the ADCP. Scatterers float in the water and on average they move at the same horizontal velocity as the water. When these scatterers move toward the ADCP, the sound heard by the organisms is Doppler-shifted to a higher frequency. The ADCP uses four beams to obtain velocity in many dimensions. Overall, it’s an amazing instrument.

The equatorial buoy was retrieved tonight and a new one will be deployed tomorrow. That buoy will be dedicated to the Grace B. Luhrs Elementary School and Shippensburg University. It will be signed by the Captain, Chief Scientist, and me, and will be located at 0°, 140°W for the next year. Shippensburg’s name will be on the Pacific for at least 365 days!

Personal Log:

Most of my afternoon and evening was spent answering emails and preparing lesson plans. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s activities but have many miles to go before I sleep. Keep in touch!

Question of the day: 

At what heights in the atmosphere are altostratus or altocumulus clouds found?

One of my Meteorology students, Steve Osmanski, provided the correct answer to my previous question of the day, “what are crepuscular rays?” His answer is: “They are the classic ‘sunburst’ effect caused when sunlight is blocked by a cloud and appears to be “streaming in rays” around the shadow. They are visible from scattering of sunlight by dust or water droplets, and appear to diverge as a trick of perspective.” Excellent, Steve! I look forward to having you in class!

Until tomorrow…
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 15, August 25, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 15: Sunday, August 25, 2002

The FOO’s quote of the day (I really like this one!):

“Let your dreams run wild and free and always follow where they lead.” – N.E. Foster

Weather Log:
Here are our observations at 2200 today:
Latitude: 1°31.9’N
Longitude: 140°00.5’W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 120°
Wind speed: 12 kts
Sea wave height: 3-4′
Swell wave height: 4-5′
Sea water temperature: 27.3°C
Sea level pressure: 1011.7 mb
Cloud cover: 3/8, Cumulus

Hurricane Fausto is slightly diminishing in strength, but is still maintaining winds at 90 kts, gusting to 110 kts. It is currently located at 18°N, 125°W and is moving northwest. Another tropical depression has formed at 11.5°N, 148°W and has maximum sustained winds at 30 kts with gusts to 40 kts. It is expected to gain strength and move into the tropical storm category. We are definitely not in danger of being impacted by either storm because they require Coriolis to form or to be sustained. Coriolis is negligible at the equator so we’re safe!

Science and Technology Log:

This has been my favorite day of the trip so far! I awoke hurriedly at 5:50 AM and ran outside with my hard hat and life jacket. We were taking the RHIB (once again, the rigid inflatable boat) out to retrieve our first buoy. Earl, Dave, Paul, Doug and I rode toward a gorgeous sunrise, removed sensors from the buoy, and then hooked it to a line to drag it in toward the ship. What an amazing morning! It all started there. As soon as the buoy was lifted onto the dock Nadia and I began removing barnacles from the bottom of the frame. The barnacles were still alive with their legs appearing and disappearing within their hard shell. They stick to the mast, buoy, and inner flotation device in clumps. At this point, I am filthy, smelly and loving every second. The barnacles are full of sea water which occasionally bursts and runs down your arms as you work over your head. I’m sure I’ll smell like fish for the rest of the day. The retrieved buoy was then power washed to remove the salt water, algae, and remaining barnacles parts, and to prepare it to be deployed again later during the trip.

I then helped pull in the 4300 meters of nilspin and nylon cable by taking over one of the spools where I turned it around and around as the cable draped over the top. Fun, and tiring! Just as we finished with the last spool, Doug, the XO, decided to fish off the back of the ship. You should have seen the amazing fish swimming all around the fantail of the boat… mahi mahi, and every beautifully colored huge fish that you can imagine! A blow hole was spotted by the FOO earlier, sure signs of a whale nearby. I also saw a huge fish jump out of the water, but couldn’t identify it. The fish all hang out around the buoy because of the barnacles (food) and the shadow created by the buoy, thus creating a small ecosystem in the middle of the Pacific. Suddenly, Doug caught something! He had to keep reeling in the line until he pulled a wahoo on board (ono in Hawaiian, meaning sweet). It had unbelievable colors of green and blue and was shiny with stripes. It had a cigar-shaped body, pointed head, and triangular teeth, with a long dorsal fin separated into 9 segments. Nemo brought it into the shade, pierced its neck, and then returned to the fantail where he caught two beautiful yellowfin tuna – WOW! They were shaped like a football, were beautifully iridescent with yellow, gold and blue across their bodies and fins tinged with yellow. The fins were very long. We feasted on sushimi tonight at dinner, raw tuna fillets with wasabi and soy sauce – scrumptious! We also had baked ono (wahoo) with spices. YUM! Thanks, Doug and Nemo!

We then all worked to prepare the nilspin (cable closest to the buoy) for the next buoy deployment by placing fairings on the cable. Fairings are plastic sleeves that are rectangular and slide onto the cable to provide more friction with the water. This alleviates great movement of the cable that usually happens due to strong ocean currents at this latitude. We are so close to the equator that the equatorial countercurrent makes a huge difference in the movement of the subsurface line. It was like an assembly line with me lifting each fairing out of a garbage can, handing each one to Dave who opened it and slide it onto the cable. Then, Paul used a mallet to secure it on the line while Jon held the cable in place so it didn’t drift off the boat. We must have placed hundreds of them on the line while it was being pulled out to sea by the new buoy that we just deployed (see photo log for pictures of the buoy retrieval and deployment). In the end, it took about 3 hours for the nearly 5000 meters of nilspin cable and nylon cable to be unrolled and pulled by the buoy out to sea. The buoy was floating about 4 km away from the ship by the time the cable was unraveled. You could just see it on the horizon. The crew then dropped two massive anchors (old railcar wheels) into the sea, which sunk and pulled the cable down while pulling the buoy into place above. The entire procedure is a real sight to see because of the crew’s efficiency…truly impressive.

Before dinner, John and I sat down and completed the script for tomorrow’s broadcast, however, things might change because we will be starting the science on board at the same time our broadcast is supposed to air live (9:00 AM ship time). We may have to change the show’s schedule if something exciting is happening on the ship that might be of interest to all of you. Flexibility is key to it all, I’m told.

Personal Log:

After a workout, shower, and dinner, John shot some footage of me on the bridge deck summarizing my experiences thus far, and describing what’s yet to come during this next week. The sunset was outstanding again. There were many clouds and they created these streaming rays of bright yellow light from the setting sun down to the Pacific. I could easily watch this every night.

I’m going to finish my logs and head straight to bed. This was truly the most outstanding 24 hours of the entire trip. I am so lucky to be here and can’t believe that we’re heading to the equator tomorrow!

Question of the day: 

What does TAO stand for and what is the goal of the project?

My favorite day of the trip so far…
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 14, August 24, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 14: Saturday, August 24, 2002

The FOO’s quote of the day: 

“I believe because it is impossible.” – Tertullian

Weather log:
Here are our observations at 0900 today:
Latitude: 4°40.8’N
Longitude: 139°58.7’W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 180° (constantly shifting)
Wind speed: 16 kts
Sea wave height: 3-4′
Swell wave height: 5-7′
Sea water temperature: 27.7°C
Sea level pressure: 1011.3 mb
Cloud cover: 7/8, Cumulus, Stratocumulus

Science Log:

Another buoy was repaired this morning because its anemometer wasn’t functioning. The anemometer is the highest object on the buoy and, therefore, is the most vulnerable. Because it’s not as protected and is a moving part, it can be easily damaged by people fishing the area, or by extreme weather. Dave was out on the buoy sitting in the horseshoe (a square opening on the starboard side of the buoy deck permitting you to work on the bottom of the buoy from the deck below) today testing and preparing it for deployment tomorrow. This will be our first buoy replacement, which means that when we retrieve the next buoy there will be oodles of work to do on the ship, including counting the thousands of barnacles that have attached themselves to the bottom of the brace. I can’t wait to smell the deck after they’re removed from the bottom – mm, mm!

On the agenda today is a full tour of the ship. John taped me both inside and outside explaining every part of the ship as we walked from deck to deck and bow to stern. I learned so much through that process. John first explained what we were looking at and then I provided my version as I tried to incorporate the technical terms. We also prepared some fun clips interviewing people about what they do on board.

Despite volunteering to do a CTD launch at 3°N tonight at 1930, the device wasn’t working. The 0130 reading at 2.5°N tomorrow morning was also cancelled because Larry and Jason need to switch out a major part that is malfunctioning. It will soon be time to rise and shine for a buoy retrieval (my first!) and deployment.

Personal Log:

I awoke this morning to sunshine streaming through our porthole. This is an unusual occurrence since it has been so cloudy. I walked outside and smelled FISH! The guys had pulled in the tow lines and they caught 4 gorgeous silvery mahi mahi fish, one over 20 lbs. When I went downstairs, they were filleting them in the kitchen for lunch and hopefully dinner! Wow! This is what I call fresh. They found tuna in one of the stomachs of the largest mahi mahi. I’ll have to make sure that I’m around when they pull in the next group.

Lobo, the Chief Engineer on board the ship, provided John, Takeshi (scientist from France), and me with a tour of the engine room this afternoon. The most fascinating thing to me is how fresh water is produced on the ship. We use approximately 3,000 gallons of fresh water per day, which means that we are each allotted about 100 gallons. This is plenty per person. The majority of the water is used for the CTD cast because fresh water has to be used to spray down the winch, wire, and cylinders after they are brought out of the water (see photo log for picture), and also for cooking and laundry. It is an extremely comfortable ship. The CO was saying today at lunch that the main halls are much wider than many ships and the staterooms are also more roomy. I was surprised at how decadent my room seems to be. Check out the photo log for a picture of my stateroom.

It is hard to believe how close we are to the equator. We continue moving southward along 140°W. I’m getting a little bit nervous about the fact that there are at least 6 people who have never crossed the equator before in a boat/ship. This means that we are called pollywogs. If time permits, there might be a ceremony at the crossing for all first timers, after which you become shellbacks. It’s not quite that easy, though. There is a certain amount of harassment (all in fun, of course) that must first take place to ensure that the wogs EARN the right to cross. Rumors are spreading that something might happen soon. I’ll keep you updated.

You would not have believed the bioluminescence in the water tonight! Kirby and Don spotted it first and suggested that I go up to the bow to peer over the edge at the bottom of the bow as it plows through the water. The phytoplankton become disturbed, which causes them to glow. There are often patches or clumps of these species that are visible making them look like a glow stick in the water. We may have also seen some jellyfish glowing, but only because they’ve eaten the bioluminescent phytoplankton. It’s so interesting. I love hanging my arms over the railing of the bow watching it carve out the water far below.

The sunset and moon rise were incredible tonight. The sun’s rays continued to light up the sky for about an hour after the sun actually set. The colors of light blue growing into bright pink were beautiful. We also had low cumulus clouds far beneath high cirrus clouds that turned pink. It was a spectacular scene (see photo log). I wish that I could have captured the moon rise over the ocean. It looked HUGE and was bright orange. There were thin clouds in the foreground that created an eerie, yet beautiful glow. The moon is almost full and illuminates the ocean surface like a huge flashlight. The Milky Way is in full view and the constellations are brilliant. We were looking for the Southern Cross tonight and think that we may have spotted it. Aaaahhhh!

I’ll write more tomorrow.
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 13, August 23, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 13: August 23, 2002

The FOO’s quote of the day: “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
– Aristotle

Weather log:
We started this morning with some cloud cover but with bright sunlight illuminating the buoy deck where our live broadcast was about to be filmed. Moments after we finished, the skies opened up – downpour! Here are our observations at 2200 this evening:
Latitude: 5°48.6’N
Longitude: 140°1.7’W
Visibility: 8 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 350° (constantly shifting)
Wind speed: 10 kts
Sea wave height: 2-3′
Swell wave height: 4-5′
Sea water temperature: 28.4°C
Sea level pressure: 1011.9 mb
Cloud cover: 8/8, rain with cumulus clouds

Here’s the update on what is now Hurricane Fausto, currently located at 15.3°N, 120.0°W and heading 280° (just north of west) at 14 kts. Its central pressure has dropped to 959 mb and its maximum sustained winds are 105 kts, gusting to 130 kts. It’s still running strong.

Science and Technology Log:

I believe that our live broadcast went quite well today, but only after being disconnected twice after only seconds of the first two takes. No harm done in the end. The interviewees were great! They are all such interesting and unique people with fascinating lives. After reviewing the show later, we discovered that a loud buzz muffled some of the interviews. The problem was detected and will be fixed before Monday’s broadcast.

Congratulations to Holly Smith, one of my graduate students at Shippensburg University, who answered our KA quiz question, “What is a Kelvin wave?” correctly. Her answer is “A Kelvin wave is a warm pacific wave that forms near Indonesia and travels east toward the Americas. It can carry warm air and a bit of rain with it too!” Yes, although Kelvin waves can form anytime, this wave is often highlighted during El Niño events because the weakening or reversing of wind direction in the tropics permits the warm water in the western Pacific to move eastward shifting the high sea-surface temperatures from the western to the central Pacific, which affects the atmospheric circulation. It also tends to shut off the upwelling in the eastern Pacific, which reduces the number of marine organisms in that region. Holly, you’ll receive a NOAA T-shirt for your efforts and knowledge – great job!

I volunteered to do the CTD test by myself this afternoon with a little (ok, a lot of) help from Jason, the survey technician. I think I’ve got it down at this point and will gladly assist with these readings that need to be taken approximately every six hours. It’s a time intensive job and tonight’s 3 AM readings will take around 3 hours and sample water from the bottom of the ocean, near 4000 meters depth.

After the CTD sampling, I interviewed Larry Wooten, our technician on the ship, in order to discover how he arrived at the Ka’imimoana. Larry had been in the Air Force in South Dakota as a missile technician. He then went to South Dakota State University to become an electronic engineering technician. He said that he typically spends 6 months on the ship and 6 months off during the year so he can return to Seattle to spend time with his wife and daughter. He is able to do almost anything on the ship, however, the majority of his time is now spent as network administrator (helping with software applications and fixing computers) and less on hands on electronics. Overall, a great guy ready to help in a flash.

Personal Log:

Shortly after Larry’s interview, we had a fire drill followed by an abandon ship drill. The fire was supposedly in the computer lab, the location where we’re all supposed to go in case of a fire. So, I found myself on the upper deck with two other scientists. It was only after much searching that we discovered all of the other scientists in the forward lounge. Whoops! Now I know where to go in both situations. The abandon ship drill went well. We all had to don our gumby suits this time to ensure that we know how to quickly suit up in case we need to go directly into the water. We also have to bring long pants and a long-sleeved shirt in case we end up spending a long time in the rescue boats in the sun. Fortunately, everything is extremely safe on the ship, but the drills help us to know what to do in all situations.

I received an excellent question from Austin at the National Weather Service in Phoenix, Arizona. He is wondering how the MGO, Kelvin wave, and thermocline are all linked. Now that we know about Kelvin waves based on Holly’s correct answer, you can see the relationship with the thermocline. But, what about the Madden-Julian Oscillation? This is a phenomenon named after the two scientists who initially discovered the oscillation. This oscillation triggers an extremely wide band of convective activity that sweeps from west to east across the equator every 30-60 days. It has been hypothesized that the MJO could possibly be a trigger for El Nino.

In just a few moments I play the Captain in Scrabble. It’s my favorite game that I often play with my Mom and best friend, Lisa. I’ll get back to you regarding the outcome.

The question of the day for all of you is: 

What causes a halo to form around the moon (or the sun)?

Keep in touch,
Diane


Diane Stanitski: Day 12, August 22, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 12: August 22, 2002

Weather log:
We currently have nearly overcast skies again with rain falling from cumulus and stratocumulus clouds. Our observations at 0800 this morning are:
Latitude: 10°38’N
Longitude: 141°26’W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 200° (direction from which the wind is blowing)
Wind speed: 13 kts
Sea wave height: 4-6′
Swell wave height: 6-8′
Sea water temperature: 27.6°C
Sea level pressure: 1010.0 mb
Cloud cover: 7/8, rain from cumulus and stratocumulus clouds

I awoke last night to swells approaching 8′ and the ship rockin’ and a rollin’! We were in the tail end of a low pressure system with lots of convection (new word from yesterday’s log) causing turbulence in the air and seas. A bottle had fallen over in the bathroom and it continued to roll back and forth hitting the walls for about 10 minutes before I was awake enough to realize the source of the sound; I then climbed down the ladder from the top bunk to rescue the bottle.

Right now, we are attempting to avoid Tropical Storm Fausto, which is currently located to our east and heading 275° (just north of west) at 11 kts. Its central pressure is 994 mb and its maximum sustained winds are 55-65 kts with 12′ seas. The Hurricane Prediction Center’s 72-hour forecast shows 75 kt winds with the possibility of gusts to 90 kts on the 25th with continued movement NW. We should slide just south of the storm and might feel some effects, but they’ll likely be minimal. Aaah, wonderful tropical weather in August! Check out www.weather.gov and view their tropical weather or hurricane page to determine the actual path of the tropical storm.

Science and technology log:
We conducted another live test broadcast this morning with the main Office of Global Programs office and Caption Colorado, the company that will provide captioning for the broadcast. It was 18 minutes long and the transfer was a success. The decision has been made that we’ll do a 20 minute live broadcast tomorrow (Friday) to be received at 4:00 PM EST in the U.S. If you miss Friday’s live broadcast, be sure to contact Jennifer at jennifer.hammond@noaa.gov before next Monday to tune into our upcoming broadcasts next week. I’m also anxious to hear from more of you about your interests in oceanography and climatology and the questions that you have for me that I’ll share with our global audience next week. I will do my best to find the answers!

The first official CTD data collection took place last night at 7:30 PM (1930) and a 3:30 AM reading this morning also proved to be successful. I awoke at 2 AM to see if Jason and Paul needed help, but it wasn’t yet time to conduct the test so I happily went back to bed. I did assist with today’s CTD at 12:20 this afternoon. I was so amazed at the entire process. First, the ship must stop and hover for approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours over the same spot while the CTD sampling takes place. There are 12 depths at which water samples are collected in large cylinders between the ocean’s surface and 1000 m down (See yesterday’s photos for a picture of the CTD cylinders.). Just think of the pressure being exerted on the cylinders at over 3000 ft below the surface! Kirby, one of our two NASA scientists, gave me a styrofoam cup that was intentionally sent down with the cylinders and it’s now a small crushed, but perfect cup. I can’t wait to show my students! The person who controls the CTD from the computer end must work in close cooperation with the winch operator who is in charge of carefully lowering the heavy CTD device into the water and releasing it at different rates of speed to various depths. Any air bubbles that are present must be pushed out of the cylinders so the CTD is first lowered to 10 m, raised to just below the surface, and then lowered again to the greater depths. If the ship’s schedule is not rushed (unlike today), the CTD is lowered to approximately 200 meters off the ocean floor, which could be down to almost 5000 meters, our current depth below this ship! We only had time to lower the sensors to 1000 m today, and then the winch operator raised the CTD to 12 different depths where the carousels (cylinders) were “fired” to allow the bottles to flush and for samples to be collected. Lastly, two samples were taken at the surface. Once the CTD was lifted out of the water, Nadia, my roommate, collected water samples (see photo log) from each of the 13 cylinders to study salinity levels, which tells us something about the conductivity of the water. One reason that this is useful is because the degree of salinity in the water is related to flow of warm and cold ocean currents to and from higher latitudes, and may have been responsible for sudden shifts in climate in the past based on the slowing of our global currents! I have found that it’s incredibly important to ask why each study on the ship is significant to place it in context and to understand the big picture.

John and I met in the early afternoon to create the storyboard for tomorrow’s broadcast. We will highlight the Captain or Skipper of the ship; our Chief Scientist; Medical Officer; Lobo, the Chief Engineer; and Doretha, the Cook. We’ll also have an opportunity for you to win a NOAA T-shirt if you respond with the correct answer to our KA quiz question.

The Chief Scientist and I played 2 out of 3 Yahtzee games tonight just after dinner. It looks like I’m heading to the next round, lucky me! That’s about all that Yahtzee is, luck, but an awful lot of fun. I was invited to ride the RHIB tonight to make our way to a buoy that needed repair. The evening ride was beautiful! There was a full moon with a gorgeous halo around it (good question for tomorrow’s log) and approximately 4′ swells that made it just a bit rocky. There were six of us in the boat. Two scientists hopped onto the floating buoys and started making repairs because there was major damage to the anemometer and the precipitation gauge. One of them started feeling seasick because you’re swaying (just a bit) back and forth and you’re about 8′ above the ocean surface. He hopped off and they asked if I’d like to jump on to help with the buoy repair! Wow! (Mom, please skip this part…I couldn’t help myself.) It was safe, yet thrilling. I helped get the new rain gauge in order and placed small spikes on the top to keep birds from sitting on the edge of the sensor making their own contributions to the contents of the inner gauge. I also helped test it by pouring water through as Dave downloaded data from all the sensors to a computer and checked to make sure they were up and running. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was! I was floating on a buoy in the middle of the Pacific Ocean helping to fix meteorological instrumentation! The ship was all lit up in the distance about ½ a mile from the buoy. We found the exact location of the buoy because of the ship’s radar that spotted it right away and led us to the floating donut. I’ll include some (very dark) photos of this adventure tomorrow.

Well, I’m going to review my notes for tomorrow’s broadcast before heading to bed. It has been another grand day on the great Pacific.

The question of the day for all of you is: What are crepuscular rays? Yes, please consult your meteorology text sitting on your shelf, the Web, or my photo log, to find out. Then, email me to let me know how smart you are!

The FOO’s quote of the day: “Adversity is the first path to truth.”
– Lord Byron

Hope to hear from you soon,
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 11, August 21, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 11: August 21, 2002

Weather log:
I awoke and went out on the buoy deck this morning to find rain falling from overcast skies! Here are our observations at 0800 this morning:
Latitude: 13°28’N
Longitude: 143°28’W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 100° (direction from which the wind is blowing)
Wind speed: 15 kts
Sea wave height: 4-5′
Swell wave height: 5-7′
Sea water temperature: 27.4°C
Sea level pressure: 1012.2 mb
Dry bulb temperature: 25.0°C
Wet bulb temperature: 24.0°C
Cloud cover: 8/8, rain from altostratus clouds

If you’ve been mapping out our course on a “chart” of the Pacific Ocean (as I’m sure you all are!), you may have noticed that we’ve made a sudden shift to the south! Why? To divert away from a tropical depression forming to our east! The Commanding Officer, CDR Mark Ablondi, made the decision late last night, after French class, to reverse the order of our trip. Instead of visiting the buoys from north to south along 125°W and then cruising west toward the 140°W line, we’ll first head south along the 140°W meridian and then toward 125°W. Flexibility is key to the success of the trip, especially when considering the safety of the crew. A tropical wave is heading our way with a tropical depression behind it. To our north there are a series of subtropical high pressure cells which will cause the tropical depression to slide due west, very close to our original path, thus the reason for the change. We’re hoping to avoid all signs of the storm. However, we currently have overcast skies and rain falling from beautiful altostratus clouds. The only thing constant about the weather is change – gotta love it!

Science log:
Our most exciting part of the morning so far has been a live test broadcast with Jennifer Hammond at NOAA’s Silver Spring office and others who will enable a future broadcast to come live to you. We had to attempt it three times because we kept getting disconnected. Larry, our very important computer technician on board, is looking into the cause of the problem. We’ll try another live broadcast test tomorrow morning before our first general broadcast, hopefully later this week (stay tuned on the web site for further information).

The constructed buoy that was going to replace the one to be removed at 8°N, 125°W, will now be used for the 2°N, 140°W replacement. Because ocean currents are much stronger near the equator, the buoys require more flotation. This means that two extra fiberglass inserts are placed inside the buoy (sort of like adding the donut hole to the donut). This will enable the buoy to float more effectively.

We tested the CTD profiler early this afternoon. CTD stands for conductivity, temperature, and depth. This instrument continuously records data as it is lowered through the water column to nearly the bottom of the ocean. It also collects water samples at preselected depths. Water is then brought to the surface from these depths and analyzed for salt and nutrient content. I have been asked to take some of the CTD measurements since we’ll be doing them a few times every day and I’m told it takes 1-2 hours. I’m very interested to see what it entails. I think that Jason will train four of us tomorrow.

Well, I reread my logs and decided that I need to provide some context as to why we’re all on the Ka’imimoana in the first place. El Niño! You’ve all heard the term, I’m sure, but what does it mean, and should it concern us?

Here is the story…
El Niño, Spanish for “the boy” or “the Christ Child”, is a phenomenon that refers to a warm ocean current that typically occurs around December (Christmas-time) off the west coast of Peru and lasts for many months. This appears to be related to a warming of the entire tropical Pacific Ocean.

Let’s go back even further… Under normal ocean and atmosphere conditions (during non-El Niño years), the trade winds in the Pacific blow from east to west across the tropical Pacific Ocean, dragging the ocean water beneath with them (due to friction). Because the water is being moved toward the western Pacific, it piles up such that the actual surface of the water near Indonesia can be up to approximately ½ meter (~1.5′) higher than off the west coast of South America – amazing! The sea surface temperature near Indonesia is also about 8°C (how many °F?) warmer than near South America because it has been warmed by the sun as it crossed the Pacific near the equator. Near South America, cold subsurface water then emerges at the ocean surface to take the place of the water that moved westward. This process is known as “upwelling” and brings cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface, which is attractive to many fish species, including the anchovy.

Warm ocean water is important for many reasons, primarily because it has a direct relationship with the atmosphere above it. Above warm water, evaporation increases, winds at the surface flow together, and clouds form. Thunderstorms form much more easily under these conditions causing rain. Heat is transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere in this process, known as “convection”. This shows why there is such a direct and important link between the ocean’s temperature and the winds in the atmosphere. Convection usually occurs over the warmest water and winds blow toward the warm rising air from all directions. Energy is transferred and this is one of the important flows across earth. I always tell my students that the earth constantly tries to maintain a balance and this is why there is movement. Earth is dissatisfied with excess heat near the equator and cold air hovering around the poles. In a move toward equilibrium, the wind flows and the ocean currents move…energy is being transferred! Okay, I could go on for days about this because I love it so much. Let’s move on to El Niño. During El Niño events, which typically occurred every 3-7 years in the past, but may be happening more often now, large-scale winds that normally blow from east to west across the Pacific Ocean diminish, and occasionally even reverse direction. Now, the warm water that is typically found in the western Pacific moves toward the eastern Pacific and, voila!, little upwelling occurs along the coast of South America resulting in fewer nutrients for the phytoplankton and other marine life that survive on the nutrients brought from below. With warmer water in the eastern Pacific, the process of convection shifts eastward with the warm water so the rising air and ensuing storms are found closer to the central Pacific.

Why is this important? El Niño results in changes to temperature and rainfall on a GLOBAL basis. For instance, because convection shifts eastward, parts of northeastern Australia often experience a major drought while the coast of Chile can receive severe floods. The 1997 El Niño event, one of the strongest ever experienced and recorded, resulted in heavy rains over the southern U.S., record rains in California, and a mild winter in the mid-western states of the U.S. At times, the monsoon that affects Southeast Asia arrives much later than normal. We are on the Ka’imimoana to help predict upcoming El Niño events . This is done with the help of 70 buoys that are located on the tropical ocean surface between 8°N and 8°S latitude. Sensors on these buoys measure atmospheric conditions like wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, relative humidity, radiation, and ocean temperature data from the surface to 500 meters below, to help determine if an El Niño event is occurring, or not. We do know that an El Niño is currently forming in the Pacific. Now, we need to ensure that all possible data are available by checking to make sure the sensors are functioning properly and that data are being sent via satellite to researchers who are using models to predict the severity of this event.

With early prediction of an El Niño, countries can adjust the types of crops that they grow, and plan in areas such as water resources, fisheries, and reserves of grain and fuel. Countries that have experienced the effects of El Niño in the past can also effectively plan in advance for drought, floods, and extreme weather, a consequence of the phenomenon, El Niño.

If you are a teacher, I’m writing a lesson plan related to the current El Niño conditions in the Pacific that you can use in your classroom. I will provide optional assignments so that you can use it from the middle school to college level. Please check my lesson plans in the next week to find this activity. Paul Freitag, Chief Scientist on board, is assisting with the exercise by providing current ocean temperature data and informed ideas.

Personal log:
I have remarked a few times today how helpful everyone is on the ship regarding questions that the new people have (that includes me!) or things that we need. This is a tremendous group of people. The Doc helped lower my bunk bed on the first day, after I spent 15 minutes trying every possible hole, button, lever, etc., until she discovered it was actually screwed into the wall. Doug McKay is helping me practice my knot tying which I started learning with my husband in Honolulu; I hope to be of some use on the RHIB or on the decks in the future when things need to be tied down.

John Kermond has answered every imaginable question, many times more than once. He has been very patient. The Chief Scientist endures my many inquiries about the TAO buoys and manages to come up with appropriate manuscripts and manuals whenever I need extra information. The Captain took the time to provide an overview of Pacific Ocean weather this morning before our test broadcast. It’s amazing how many questions I have each day. I even had to learn how to open the doors to go out on the deck. There is a lever that you lift to a certain point which allows you to exit; you then need to lower the lever again once you leave. This keeps the doors from flying open on their own and also keeps them water tight. I ended up sleeping with my stateroom door open the entire first night on the ship because I didn’t realize that it clicks shut only after much force. I woke up and the door was wide open. Taking a shower is always interesting. I’ve learned to stand with my feet wide apart to brace myself and I often use the walls for stability. Fortunately, I don’t even need to think about many of these details anymore. It’s remarkable how we all adjust to our surroundings.

Spiderman is the movie of choice tonight. I’m writing to you from my corner computer and peering out at a group of about 8 people sitting in the main lounge watching the movie. I haven’t watched any movies so far, but I am signed up for the game tournaments to start sometime later this week. In the first round I’m competing against the Commanding Officer (CO) in Scrabble (Yikes!), against the Chief Scientist in Yahtzee (Yikes again!), and am partners with our Cadet on board when we play Sequence. This is an evening program initiated by the Doc to keep morale high on the ship. Sounds good to me!

Well, I’m off to fold laundry before going to bed. Another outstanding day on the ship…I could really get used to this!

Hope all is well with you. Keep in touch!
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 10, August 20, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 10: August 20, 2002

Our location and the weather observations at 1500 today were:
Latitude:
 15°37.4’N
Longitude: 145°25.0’W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 030 (direction from which the wind is blowing)
Wind speed: 18 kts
Sea wave height: 4-5′
Swell wave height: 5-7′
Sea water temperature: 26.0°C
Sea level pressure: 1011.9 mb
Dry bulb temperature: 25.8°C
Wet bulb temperature: 24.2°C
Cloud cover: 7/8, Cumulus

Today’s quote: 

“A man is ethical only when life is sacred to him…and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.”
– Albert Schweitzer


WELCOME to a new time zone! We are now 9 hours off Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the current time in Greenwich, England along the 0° meridian. We just crossed into this new time zone overnight as we cruised southeast toward 8°N latitude, 125°W longitude. At 8°N, 125°W we’ll find the first buoy that needs to be replaced, which is typical after floating in the water for one year (see the web site http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao for a map and description of the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) buoy array). During our travels southward along the 125°W longitude line, a few of the moorings (buoys) will simply need to be repaired instead of replaced. The sensors that will be replaced may have been vandalized by fishermen, damaged due to severe weather, or the sensors may need to be recalibrated. In any case, we’ll either replace sensors or fix them at each buoy.

I just walked (well, swayed) out on the buoy deck and discovered that the ship’s first replacement buoy is being constructed. This buoy will replace the one currently floating at our first stop. It’s amazing how the whole project comes together with many scientists working in harmony. See today’s photo log for pictures of the newest buoy at various stages of completion.

Dr. Paul Freitag, our Chief Scientist, provided some more information about the instruments on the buoys. First, the buoys are anchored to the ocean floor, which is still hard for me to believe. All of the buoys have sensors to measure temperature/relative humidity and an anemometer to measure wind speed along with wind direction. Some of the buoys have sensors measuring precipitation and solar radiation, but not all are equipped to with this expensive instrumentation. The buoy itself (the orange and white donut part) is composed of a foam core surrounded by fiberglass. Below this there is a rigid stainless steel bridle connected to a wire rope which is used for the first 500 meters of the mooring. On these 500 meters of wire rope there are nine subsurface temperature sensors (thermistors) followed by two pressure sensors accompanying two more thermistors. The pressure readings correspond well with measurements of ocean depth. Water temperatures are measured below the surface at 1 meter (m), 20 m, 40 m, 60 m, 80 m, 100 m, 120 m, 140 m, 180 m, 300 m, and 500 m. Below 500 m, eight-strand plaited nylon line is used down to the anchor, with some sites requiring nearly 3 miles of line (see the diagram at http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/images/atlas.gif). The amazing thing is that the subsurface temperature sensors transmit and receive data from the buoy with an inductive coupling technique, which means that they’re not wired directly to the main line, yet data are transmitted along the cable. The sensors simply clamp onto the wire rope that serves as one of the inductive elements. This makes it much easier to assemble and deploy the extremely long cable. One aspect of meteorology that I find fascinating is the instrumentation, so I spend much of my time looking at the wiring and instrument manufacturers and asking the scientists many questions about what and why and how…they haven’t seemed to mind so far.

Here is some more information about the people and activities on the ship. There are 31 people on board (seven of us are women) with bunk space available for only two more. There are 5 officers, 1 cadet, 10 scientists, and the remaining crew members who focus on making the ship and science work efficiently. We all greatly appreciate their help. Everyone eats breakfast from 7:00-8:00 AM (0700-0800), lunch from 11:00-12:00 (1100-1200), and dinner from 4:30-5:30 PM (1630-1730). There is a small store selling candy and snacks, soda, shirts and hats on the ship that is open each night from 1930-2000 hours. We can email from any computer on board (I’ve counted at least 14 computers) and all of our email messages are sent and received in a bundle two times a day around 0900 and 1600. There is a laundry room with three washers/dryers on the second deck forward on the starboard side of the ship. There are two lounges with library materials including books, magazines and board games. Movies are shown every night on two channels in the lounges at both 1730 and repeated at 2000. So, you can see that it’s easy to keep busy on the ship. Two extra treats on this cruise include guitar/music playing sessions for all those who brought their musical instruments on board, and French lessons every other night. Je m’appelle Diane. J

After seeing more flying fish today, I decided to do some research to find out exactly what these fish are all about. I learned that they’re often referred to as “bluebirds of the sea” and that they spread their pectoral fins, glide for a few seconds, and then splash back into the sea. When they swim, their long fins are folded against their body. Flight speeds of up to 35 miles per hour have been monitored and flights as long as 13 seconds covering up to 450 feet have been timed. Photography has proven that they are gliders and not true flyers (all information obtained in “Fishes of the Pacific Coast” by Gar Goodson, Stanford University Press, 1988). I’ll keep my eye on these beauties and attempt to take a photo so you can share this delight!

The first person to answer my question of the day posed in my August 17th log was Tom Taddeo (my incredibly smart uncle from Mechanicsburg, PA – thanks for responding!) who gave the correct answer regarding the definition of pitch, roll, and yaw of a ship. Yes, pitch is when the ship tips in a fore-and-aft direction (from front to back), roll means the ship tips from side to side due to the sea or swell, and yaw means that the ship swings involuntarily from side to side when advancing forward. I’d love to hear from more of you so I can acknowledge more people in my logs.

The afternoon was spent testing the computer and camera equipment that will enable us to connect with all of you via upcoming live webcasts. Fortunately, everything seems to be working very well! We even managed to get a wireless microphone to work. We’ll be testing again tomorrow and hope to have a general broadcast ready to go by the end of the week. Please contact Jennifer Hammond at jennifer.hammond@noaa.gov if you’d like to receive the live broadcast. We’ll be interviewing scientists and talking about life at sea!

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner again tonight and I’m nearly ready for bed. It was great to hear from Dana Tomlinson (our last Teacher at Sea!), Nancy from ASU, and as always, my husband, family members, and friends. I invite more of you to email with questions that you might have about the Ka’imimoana or what it’s like to live on a ship.

Until tomorrow when I discuss CTD’s (what are they, you ask?!? – more tomorrow!)…bon soir.

Question of the day: What is the difference between sea wave height and swell wave height?

More tomorrow…
Diane

P.S. I just walked outside and rain was falling on the buoy deck under bright pink clouds – beautiful!

Diane Stanitski: Day 9, August 19, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 9: August 19, 2002

We enjoyed mostly cloudy skies today as we headed southeast toward the 125°W longitudinal line.

Our location and the weather observations at 1300 today were:
Latitude: 16°22.1’N
Longitude: 149°09.5’W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 050 (on a 0-360° scale) which means NE
Wind speed: 22 kts
Sea wave height: 6-8′
Swell wave height: 6-8′
Sea Water Temperature: 26.8°C
Sea level pressure: 1011.5 mb
Dry bulb temperature: 25°C
Wet bulb temperature: 23°C

Today’s quote: 
“How far high failure overleaps the bounds of low success.” – Lewis Morris

John Kermond and I sat down this morning after breakfast to sketch out the webcast that we hope to produce during the next two weeks. We discovered that we can probably create 10 live videos that will be sent to the general public, Shippensburg University, and possibly the BBC and a local television station near Shippensburg, PA. Be sure to look for these videos on the web site as I will interview our chief scientists and crewmembers, and will also teach my undergraduate and graduate classes from the ship.

Don Shea and Kirby Worthington, our NASA scientists on board, offered to provide an overview of their iron limitation study. It is felt that an iron deficiency in the mid-Pacific Ocean might be the limiting factor with regard to phytoplankton (e.g., algae) development. Iron in the water tends to absorb carbon, which in turn provides what is necessary for plant growth. The Atlantic Ocean doesn’t seem to experience this same situation as iron found in conjunction with sand blowing west off the African continent, seems to provide the ocean with an ample amount of iron. This study tests the effect of iron, nitrates, phosphates, and ammonium against a controlled sample collected from the Pacific Ocean water. They use a Fast Repetition Rate flourometer to measure the flourescence of each water sample. Surface seawater is drawn from the ship’s continuous flow through system of clean seawater. As I learn more about the study I’ll provide an update.

I discovered that the KA’s call signal is WTEU (Whiskey, Tango, Echo, Uniform) and it is displayed when going into each port. Every ship has its own signal that it reveals via flags exposed on the ship. There are other single letter signals exhibited when there is an emergency or used as a warning sign. Some of these include the (A)lpha flag meaning diver down, the (B)ravo flag representing dangerous cargo, and the (H)otel signal showing that there is a pilot on board.

I also learned to use The Nautical Almanac for 2002 to calculate sunrise tomorrow morning based on how far we will travel overnight and the latitude and longitude of our final destination. Since the boat is moving, it becomes more challenging to calculate solar angle and sunrise. I am planning to meet Rachel Martin on the bridge at 6:00 AM tomorrow morning to learn more about celestial navigation, provided the clouds have cleared and stars are visible. We need to remember to move our clocks forward by one hour since we’re moving into a new time zone as we travel toward 125°W longitude.

Steve Kroening, the FOO (Field Operations Officer), showed us a PowerPoint slide show presentation featuring the Ka’imimoana and crew along with many of the scientific experiments conducted on board. It was very uplifting because everyone obviously works efficiently together. I was amazed at the sheer number of people who have been involved in the research.

I discussed lesson plans related to El Niño with Paul Freitag, Chief Scientist. He will access some current data that my students at Shippensburg University can use for a lab. Another great day on board! More travel news tomorrow!

All the best to you all!
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 8, August 18, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 8: Sunday, August 18, 2002

The weather observations at 1700 today were:
Temperature:
 26.0°C
Sea Water Temperature: 26.7°C
Visibility: 12 nautical miles
Wind direction: 055 (on a 0-360° scale) – NE
Wind speed: 20 kts
Sea wave height: 5-7′
Swell wave height: 6-8′
Sea level pressure: 1013.2 mb
Cloud cover: 3/8, cumulus

Today’s quote: “Best be yourself, imperial, plain and true!” – Robert Browning

The crew was abuzz today due to the fact that we were about to deploy a test buoy after surveying a 3×3 mile stretch of the ocean to find an area with a flat surface for the buoy’s anchor to rest upon. The entire exercise took all morning and a part of the afternoon. I interviewed John Bumgardner, our mechanical engineer on the boat, about the buoy array and videotaped a short segment to be used in one of our upcoming webcasts.

A buoy deployment is serious business on the ship. One of two cranes is used to lift the extremely heavy buoy off the starboard side of the ship onto the water. Thousands of meters of durable nilspin and nylon are then spooled out into the ocean behind the buoy with a large anchor (a railroad wheel) weighing approximately 2 tons dropped as a final way to secure the buoy in its location and anchor it to the ocean floor (see photos in the photo log). The buoy drifts off into the sea for a few km as the ship slowly drifts in the opposite direction so that the rope doesn’t become tangled. An acoustic release device is then discharged into the water, which will allow the buoy to become detached from the anchor after it’s at the bottom of the ocean. This will be handy when the buoy is retrieved from the water at the end of September during the return of the KA to Honolulu.

The deployment was successful except for one rope that was caught over the sonic wind sensor. A group of us decided to ride the RHIB to the buoy in order to pull the rope off of the sensor. It was a rough ride through the 6-8′ swells, but boy was it fun! We all hung on and received a nice salty shower during our return to the ship.

While all of this was going on, Larry, our Electronics Technician, hooked me up to my email account so that I could keep in touch with all of you. He also downloaded software so that I could provide photos of my experience for you to view. Larry keeps the ship rolling with his expertise in so many areas. We’re definitely lucky to have him on board.

After turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes for dinner, John videotaped me on the back deck in front of a beautiful sunset. I then came inside for a short French lesson. Takeshi, our foreign observer, is from France and is teaching us some basic French before our arrival in Nuku Hiva, the French Marquesas. It’s all coming back to me after 3 years of French in High School – definitely worthwhile classes to take in school.

I’m off to bed after a long day in the fresh air. Looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures.

Today’s question: What percent of the ocean’s water is saline?

All the best,
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 7, August 17, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 7: Saturday, August 17, 2002
Time: 0700 military time (based on a 24-hour time schedule)

Latitude: 21°14.715’North (N) Cruising just south of the Big Island of Hawaii visible this morning from the port (left) side of the ship when facing forward
Longitude: 157°57.378’West (W)

Weather Observations taken from the bow of the ship with Shippensburg University’s hand-held Kestrel 3000 instrument:

Air Temperature: 27°C (80.6°F)
Average Wind Speed: 6.3 knots (7.3 mph)
Cloud Cover: 8/10 with mostly altocumulus (middle level, puffy) and cirrocumulus (high level, puffy) clouds
Precipitation in previous 24 hours: 0 cm (0 inches)
Relative Humidity: 89%
Dew Point Temperature: 24.8°C (76.6°F) Relatively calm seas; beautiful sunrise; Porpoises spotted on the port (left) side of the ship

Quote written on the Plan of the Day (POD) posted outside the Main Mess (meal) area: “All excellent things are as difficult as they are rare.”
– Benedict Spinoza

After a restful night’s sleep on my upper bunk, I awoke ready for a new day! It struck me as I was lulling into a peaceful sleep that my mattress felt just like a waterbed. I thought that I was rolling around on a bowl of jello, a neat feeling which made me relax. I am fortunate that I haven’t experienced any seasickness yet. A few others haven’t been so lucky. Michelle, our fearless Medical Officer on board, has distributed medication for seasickness to those needing it. It is recommended that you breathe in fresh air and watch the horizon for a while if ever you feel queasy.

After touring the outer decks of the ship watching the sun rise above the morning clouds on the horizon, I stopped to speak with crew member Roger Stone who said that every day is slightly different because the sky is always changing. He recalled seeing a white rainbow at night under a full moon. I had never heard of this so I’m intrigued about what would cause such a remarkable feature.

Breakfast was interesting because I spoke with Rachel, a Cadet, and Steve, our Field Operations Officer (FOO) who received a degree in Meteorology at the University of Nebraska. We discussed Steve’s research and he said that I could come up to the bridge to take weather observations anytime. Yahoo! For some reason beyond me, weather obs are not everyone’s favorite activity of the day. Rachel taught me the difference between a pitching and rolling boat. She said that a pitching boat rocks front to back (up and down), while a rolling boat rocks side to side. She is currently taking a course requiring that she write a complete report of all of her activities while on board. I hope to learn many things from her, including celestial navigation — how to find your way using the stars. Can’t wait!

I learned from Steve that the reason it was a bit rocky in the ship last night was due to our travels through currents emerging from between the Hawaiian Islands. The currents disturbed the forward motion of the boat. Unknown to me, currents are named for the direction toward which they flow, unlike winds, which are named for the direction from which they blow. So, if ocean currents and winds are moving in the same direction, they have opposite directional names – very interesting!

I spent part of the day organizing my thoughts regarding my upcoming lesson plans. There are so many exciting ideas generated each day by the scientists as we talk. I will definitely interview the scientists on the ship about their current research as well as use the opportunity to describe the many mechanical and electronic sensors on board to everyone watching the webcasts. Please let me know what you would like to know more about and I’ll try to include it in a future webcast.

John pointed out flying fish on the port side of the boat today. They are quite small and it is believed that they fly to flee from whatever is gaining on them. They don’t have great ability to determine direction and they stay in the air for just a few seconds before splashing into the water again.

Our location and the weather observations at 1300 today were:
Latitude: 18°37.8’N
Longitude: 155°23.7’W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles (nm) which is about the greatest distance you can see due to the curvature of the earth
Wind direction: 060 (on a 0-360° scale) which means ENE
Wind speed: 19 kts
Sea wave height: 5-7′
Swell wave height: 6-8′
Sea Water Temperature: 26.6°C
Sea level pressure: 1015.0 mb
Dry bulb temperature: 26.2°C
Wet bulb temperature: 23.5°C

Sarah and Rachel gave me a tour of the ship’s bridge this afternoon. They discussed every aspect of their job and it was fascinating! They have radar on the ship to detect nearby ships and severe weather. On the front panel of the bridge there is an automatic pilot system for the ship. There are also throttles for the main engines, which allow us to travel at approximately 10-12 kts under ideal conditions. The bow thruster controls movement of the front of the ship from left to right. They described radio communication procedures with other ships, explained who has right of way when two ships are merging, and provided details about the nautical charts used during each journey. I made the mistake of calling nautical charts “maps” and was politely corrected. I will place this new term in my memory bank for future reference. I also was privy to a chart showing our upcoming transit line with waypoints approximately every 200 miles. The ship remains in a straight path until a certain point where a slight change of direction is made, otherwise, the bearing would constantly change as the ship’s path slowly curved.

After a workout and excellent meal of chicken stirfry, cauliflower, rice and pecan pie prepared by Helen and Doretha, I met with John who informed me that there would be a deployment of a test buoy tomorrow around 0900 and that he would like to videotape me on the buoy before it’s sent out to sea to explain the instrumentation on the mast. Earlier today I met with Dave and Paul, our Chief Scientists on board, and they explained the entire array of sensors and the purpose behind the buoy. It will be deployed and removed during this trip with data collected every few seconds and stored in a datalogger on the mast. During the return voyage of the KA to Honolulu in late September the buoy will be removed from the water and the data analyzed immediately following the trip. A compass comparison test and a buoy motion monitor test will be conducted. A specially engineered tube containing 3 different compasses and an accelerometer will enable the pitch, roll, and yaw of the buoy to be determined. As of yet, I believe that these movements on the buoy are unknown.

Today’s question: What is the pitch, roll, and yaw of a ship? Be the first to answer and I’ll acknowledge your response in my next log. I’ll write again tomorrow after a peaceful night under the millions of visible stars above.

Peace to all and to all a good night,
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Day 6, August 16, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Day 6: Friday, August 16, 2002
Time: 12:47 PM
Latitude: 21°14.715’North (N)
Longitude: 157°57.378’West (W)

My first daily log…I love every minute on the ship! Everything is so interesting. I have already learned a great deal about the science to be conducted on board during the next 24 days. Before departing from Pier 7 at the Hickam Air Force Base, Dr. John Kermond, who will be directing and videotaping the Teacher at Sea (that’s me), filmed me on land in front of the ship as I described my weeklong activities in Honolulu. After climbing aboard, the ship then separated from the pier at 0830 as the gangplank was lifted onto the ship.

We started the day with three emergency drills. The first was a collision drill and it required that all scientists go immediately to the computer room while the other crew members simulated what to do in case of a collision with another object on the sea. We then experienced an abandon ship drill, which is activated when we hear more than 6 loud rings of the alarm bell followed by one final long ring. We must immediately go to our stateroom (like a college dorm room) and grab a pair of long pants, a hat, closed-toed shoes, and a long-sleeved shirt. In addition, we have to carry our life jacket and survival suit, otherwise known as the gumby suit, a bright orange neoprene suit with attached booties and gloves that would keep you alive in the water for days if misfortune should reach you.

Three NOAA inspectors also participated in the drills by ensuring that all details were addressed and all materials were up to par. They checked to make sure that the flashlights on our life jackets worked and that we had an attached whistle. After 3 buzzers sounded, the drill was over and everyone returned to their regular activities. We then practiced the man overboard drill with a mannequin floating in the water. The RHIB (Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat) was lowered and a group of crew members rescued the mannequin in an efficient manner. The inspectors were then to return to shore after 3 days of inspection on the ship. I was asked if I would like to accompany them back to shore on the RHIB… definitely!!! I grabbed a hardhat and life jacket and hopped on board the RHIB before it was lowered into the water. We sailed across the ocean’s surface and dropped off the departing group. I stepped onto land again for the last time for the next 24 days. It was exciting but I was anxious to leap back on board the KA.

We arrived back at the ship and it was then that Doug (aka Nemo) came over and asked if I had the muscle to ratchet and lock away the RHIB on the davits (a holder for the RHIB or life boat when not in use). I immediately agreed to do it and he put me to work while John videotaped the event and the Commanding Officer (CO or Captain), Mark Ablondi, watched along with a few others. Yikes! There was no way that I was going to stop, despite the challenge of the task. I managed to secure it at the top! I’d better watch what I agree to do in the future. I decided to work out in the exercise room, which consists of an air-conditioned space on the second deck all the way forward in the ship holding 2 exercise bikes, a treadmill, row machine, weights, and a mat that you can use to stretch. There is a fan, TV, and radio to keep you preoccupied and motivated. I chose the treadmill and discovered that you’d better hang on because as the ship rolls and/or pitches (the difference will be explained later in my logs), it tends to knock you off balance.

The ship was delayed by 2 days due to the unavailability of a licensed engineer. It was supposed to depart on August 13 (3 days ago), and so I had 2 more days in Honolulu – darn! My husband and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary on August 14 and so were pleased that we could actually be together since he came to Hawaii to see me off on the ship. We decided to celebrate by flying to the Big Island of Hawaii where we drove from Kona to Volcanoes National Park to see fresh lava oozing from the surface of Kilauea, the active volcano currently erupting on the southeastern side of the island. It was fantastic! We also toured a coffee plantation and bought some fresh 100% Kona coffee. What a treat! Despite the newly expected departure of August 15, we still didn’t leave until this morning because new batteries needed to arrive before departure. All in all, we had a productive week in Honolulu because of our delays.

This has been a wonderful week and first day. I can’t believe that I’m here, and I know how lucky I am to be a part of this great adventure. The people on board the ship couldn’t be better. They’re extremely helpful and fun people who enjoy discussing their research ideas.

Stay tuned for another log tomorrow. I am looking forward to hearing from each one of you so please email me ASAP!

Cheers!
Diane

Diane Stanitski: Days 1-5 (Pre-Trip Log), August 11-15, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Diane Stanitski

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

August 16-30, 2002

Date: August 11-15, 2002

Pre-Trip Log

Two years ago, I took my Shippensburg University Climatology class on a field trip to the National Headquarters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Silver Spring, MD. It was then that I learned about an amazing opportunity sponsored by NOAA known as the Teacher at Sea Program, and was immediately interested. I always keep my eyes open for new opportunities to learn up-to-date information about the atmosphere and to conduct exciting field research. This would also be a perfect chance for my students to learn more about current research which would help inspire them to pursue careers in the atmospheric and physical sciences.

During spring 2001, I was invited to attend a reception for Susan Carty, the first fully sponsored Teacher at Sea. She was inspiring, especially as I read her logs and learned about the kinds of research that she became involved with on the ship. I then attended the reception for Jennifer Richards and Jane Temoshok, the 2nd and 3rd sponsored Teachers at Sea. I then applied for an upcoming 24-day voyage from Honolulu to Nuku Hiva (where?!?) after reviewing my atlas to see where the ship would travel. I couldn’t believe it when I heard from the NOAA Teacher at Sea program that I’d been accepted! I immediately spoke with my husband who thought that I should jump at the opportunity (thanks, Jonathan!). Upon receipt of this dream position I followed Dana Tomlinson via the Teacher at Sea web site (this one!) as she set sail on the Ka’imimoana, the same ship that I am on today, experiencing the exciting research that she shared with her elementary school students. All previous teachers were excellent communicators and great sports. I hope that I can follow their exemplary performance.

Here is my story…

During the past week in Waikiki, I met with Cindy Hunter and other educators at the Waikiki Aquarium, to describe NOAA’s Teacher at Sea (TAS) Program so that they could more easily plan their own upcoming educator at sea program to the northwest Hawaiian Islands. It was exciting to learn that their teacher’s adventure would follow mine by a few days in mid-September. I will definitely plan to follow their voyage at the web site http://www.hawaiianatolls.org. Dr. John Kermond (the director, producer, videographer, etc. of all TAS webcasts) and I shot video footage at the Aquarium and interviewed their volunteers and educators.

Dr. Kermond was interviewed all day on Sunday, August 11, by the director of a Discovery (Canada) documentary about global warming, specifically El Niño’s link to global processes. The film crew asked me to walk beside Dr. Kermond along a gorgeous stretch of Waikiki Beach while they filmed us discussing El Niño together. We had to shoot the scene many times due to interruptions by planes flying overhead, dogs and people entering the picture, or clouds muting the light. It’s amazing what goes into a few minutes of tape during film production…very interesting overall.

We also met Delores Clark, of NOAA’s Public Affairs Office. I learned more about what their office does and she organized a meeting for us with the morning meteorologist from KHNL, a local Honolulu TV station. The broadcaster was most interested in the new tsunami buoy that is replacing an older one in the mid-Pacific. It will assist with the warning of tsunamis for the Hawaiian coastline. He also interviewed me about the Teacher at Sea Program.

It was an exciting couple days of new experiences.

Dana Tomlinson: Days 26 and 27, March 27, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Tuesday, March 26 and Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Today we started the long journey home. We savored every moment by getting up early, sitting on the edge of the lagoon, watching the wildlife for the umpteenth and last time. Finally, it was time to leave. We took a taxi (truck) from the Red Mangrove north across the island to the ferry.Then we took the ferry across the small strait to the island of Baltra, on which the airport is the only building or business. After we got off the ferry, we waited quite a while in the sweltering heat to get a bus to the airport. Then we flew from Baltra to Guayaquil to Quito, where we needed to stay overnight. The next morning, we flew from Quito to Miami, missed our connection there, so flew to St. Louis and then San Diego.

Our luggage arrived two days later. 🙂

So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. It’s hard for me to believe that this once in a lifetime experience is over. I am so grateful to NOAA for selecting me. Thanks to Mike Johnson in OGP and Jay Fein at the NSF for the support of the program. Major thanks to Jennifer Hammond, NOAA’s webmaster, for being so supportive and for her wonderful work on this web page. Huge thanks to John Kermond for his mentorship and top-notch videotaping (all of our live broadcasts and videos will be up on the website in a few weeks). Heartfelt thanks to the South Bay Union School District and Supt. Pat Pettit for their support of my trip, the SBUSD Education Foundation for their financial support, to my principal, Dennis Malek, for his support, and to my class for putting up with me being gone for a month.

Thanks to the hundreds of people who emailed me – I really enjoyed hearing from you. And, finally, thanks again to the crew, officers and scientists aboard the RV Ka’imimoana for allowing me to be one of you, because what you are doing is so important to all of us. May you always have fair skies and following seas.

If you’d like to reach me, feel free to email me at dana.tomlinson@noaa.gov and it will be forwarded to me.

For the last time, mahalo and aloha.
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 25, March 25, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Monday, March 25, 2002

Lat: 1°S
Long: 91°W
Seas: 3-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: light airs
Air Temp: 90-81°F

This day started and ended the same way: bittersweet. In the morning, we watched the Ka’imimoana sail out of the harbor without us. It was scheduled to leave at 9am, so we were perched on my balcony with binoculars. I noticed that the RHIB was missing from the boat, and not too long afterward, the RHIB left the pier and headed toward the ship. Was it more paperwork to be cleared with the authorities? A last minute run to the hardware store for more fishing lures? We could only speculate. But shortly after they returned and the RHIB was back on board, the anchor was weighed and the ship slowly started to move away from us. We watched the ship sail until it was out of sight and wished them fair skies and following seas.

Dr. Mike was also leaving Puerto Ayora this day to go to Guayaquil (on Ecuador’s coast) to visit their counterpart to NOAA. So, we shared his taxi to the airline office in town and bid him farewell as he started off on the long trip to the airport. We took care of our travel arrangements for our departure the following day and then went back to the Red Mangrove, where we had Mariano take us out of their small boat to do some ocean exploration. We traveled to a very small uninhabited island in the middle of the harbor to snorkel with the sea lions and the Pacific green sea turtles. The water was warm – no wetsuit needed (hint – don’t forget to put sunscreen on your back as I did!). The sea life was abundant: numerous sea lions, many varieties of fish, coral, anemones, urchins, turtles. We swam for about 45 minutes there, then headed over to another side of the island where we could see the lava walls from the ocean. They housed blue footed boobies and many marine iguanas.

We tied up the boat to a pier and walked to a salt pond. As soon as one left the ocean, the air temperature seemed to go up 15 degrees. We hiked over rough lava rocks to a crevasse that held water that was much more fresh than sea water as the salt had been evaporated out of it. It was heavenly to swim in this cool water on such a warm day. We then hiked over to the Delfin hotel and enjoyed their pool – as warm as a bathtub. Mariano took us back to the hotel, where we washed up, and enjoyed our last meal in the Galapagos.

Very bittersweet.
Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 24, March 24, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Sunday, March 24, 2002

Lat: 1°S
Long: 91°W
Seas: 2-4 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy with possible rain showers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: light airs
Air Temp: 93-82°F

This was a day for exploring the island. Several of us headed off for the short walk from our hotel to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Even relatively early in the morning, the heat and humidity were incredible. We enjoyed the visitor’s center and learned how the Station and other groups are trying to help conserve the islands’ native species, as well as to eradicate harmful introduced species. We then hiked out to see the land tortoises. Lonesome George greeted us – the last Galapagos Tortoise of his subspecies. We also saw numerous other tortoises, as well as terrestrial iguanas. Then, we hotfooted it (literally) so a small beach on the Station’s property and watched marine iguanas swim up to the lava rocks, while we cooled our heels in the gorgeous blue waters. After a rest and refueling, we got into our bathing suits, tightened up our hiking boots (we’re walking over lava rocks here folks!) and started out on a long walk to Tortuga Bay. This beach is only accessible by boat or walking, but it is well worth it. It was about a 2 km walk to the entrance to the beach and then a 2-1/2 km walk over what reminded me of the Great Wall of China – weaving and winding and never-ending! We were walking in the heat of the day and there was no shade on the trail. BUT, as soon as you got to the beach, it was nirvana. The temperature immediately lessened, the water was 5 different colors and just slightly cooler than the air temperature, and the sand! Oh, the sand was absolutely white and like powder. As I ran to throw myself into the ocean, I noticed a meter-long marine iguana just ambling toward an outcropping of lava rocks on the beach. The beach was about a kilometer long, and John and I walked the length of it. It was glorious. That night, as much of the crew as were inclined gathered at La Garrapata restaurant for a final meal together, as the KA was shipping out in the morning. We had a wonderful meal and then I had to say goodbye to everyone.

That was much harder than I anticipated. It was difficult for me to get out much more than, “I had a great time. Thank you,” because I thought I’d burst into tears. I kind of figured that would destroy the credibility I had built up with this wonderful group of scientists and sailors, so I just bowed out gracefully and watched them walk toward the pier to take the water taxi back to the KA. We got back to the hotel just before the skies opened up and it rained an incredible amount. This happened two more times that night.

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 23, March 23, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Saturday, March 23, 2002

Lat: 1°S
Long: 91°W
Seas: flat
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: light airs
Air Temp: 91-83°F

I arose at 5:30 to see the sunrise off the bow of the ship and our entrance into the Galapagos Islands – a place I’ve always dreamed of seeing. The water was flat as a pancake and the skies were dramatic with the clouds. As we pulled into the harbor of Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz, I naively thought that we’d be going to the other side of the island where the bigger city of Puerto Ayora must be! No, that was it – what looked like a very quaint little town about a half mile away – but so close, we could almost taste it. Anchor dropped!

We’d have to wait about 5 hours to taste anything on land, unfortunately. We needed to provide the proper paperwork to several different authorities and have all of our i’s dotted and t’s crossed before we could disembark. There were 3 of us who were permanently getting off the ship (Dr. Mike, John (the one videotaping me throughout the trip) and me), but everyone wanted to put their feet on land and see what the Galapagos had to offer, since very few of us had ever visited before.

After struggling with all of our belongings (including the ever-present tripod and camera!) into the water taxi, we were finally on our way. Between the KA and the pier, I saw much of the abundant wildlife the Galapagos has to offer: blue footed boobies diving into the sea, pelicans everywhere, marine iguanas on the lava rocks, sally lightfoot crabs scurrying over the lava (you’ve got to love a crab that doesn’t like water!!), herons. We took a taxi to our hotel, the Red Mangrove Adventure Inn, and settled. Then we spent the remainder of the day exploring the small town in the heat and incredible humidity. We ultimately met up with our mates and celebrated being on terra firma!

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 22, March 22, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Friday, March 22, 2002

Lat: 1°S
Long: 91°W
Seas: 2-4 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: light airs
Air Temp: 86-79°F

Today makes exactly three weeks on the Ka’imimoana. And this will be my last Daily Log from it. What a day it was. It was truly a perfect day. The weather was crystal clear and warm with very little breeze. The waters are so flat it’s hard to believe you’re on an ocean. Since we are closing in on the Galapagos, we are seeing more animal life: two hugs pods of porpoises and a few different kinds of birds. Seeing the birds is nice. We have seen very few on this trip. Dr. McPhaden feels this could also be an indicator of El Niño since the waters are warmer, the fish may be fewer and, therefore, the birds have less to eat.

Everyone is very excited about reaching the Galapagos first thing tomorrow morning. The scientists have prepped and are ready for the buoy recoveries/deployments back on the 95°W line north of Galapagos. The crew was busy getting their work done so they can have some well-deserved time off (Ian and Dane were welding at sunset down on the fantail – it looked beautiful with the setting sun behind them). All hands worked very diligently on the leg down here and the CO is very glad to be able to give them some quality time in a port most have never seen before.

As for me, this is a farewell to the KA. Dr. Kermond, Dr. McPhaden and I will be leaving the ship here to spend a couple of days on Santa Cruz. I will continue to write my logs, but won’t have access to a computer until I get back to San Diego. So, in about a week, please check the website again for the finale to my trip. I thank Cmdr. Tisch and his wonderful crew of dedicated, professional workers for making me feel just like one of them, and giving me the opportunity to bring the valuable work they do to the world, as well as experience what it is like to be a scientist for a while. This experience can only help to make me a better teacher with what I can bring to my students. Thanks to NOAA for a win-win situation. And now I’m off to pack as much into two days in the Galapagos as I can! Stay tuned……………

Question of the Day: 

Here’s a no-brainer: did I have fun and learn a lot on the KA? You’re darn right I did. It was truly the experience of a lifetime.

Answer(s) of the Day: 

From Wednesday: Amy has 6 hours between CTD’s if she’s doing them every degree. It’s about 60 miles to a degree. And the ship goes about 10mph. From Thursday: Once again, knowing that 1 degree is about 60 miles, when you count up the degrees, you get almost forty. That would be 2400 miles and Mrs. Mackay’s class in San Diego got it almost right on the money. Super job, you all!

Til I return from the Galapagos,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 21, March 21, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2002

Lat: 1.5°S
Long: 95°W
Seas: 5-8 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: mostly cloudy with isolated rainshowers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: SE 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 83-70°F

Today was a day of mostly rainshowers, in actuality, with intermittent spurts of sun. The skies were pretty dramatic. The day was a pretty typical day at sea on the KA. The crew members were all doing their chores around the ship. The scientists spent the morning in preparation. Brian could be found splicing nylon cord together, Nuria was inputting data, etc. There is a buoy already outfitted on board, ready to be deployed after the ship leaves the Galapagos and continues to move northward on the 95°W line.

We had some delightful visitors this afternoon – a group of porpoises slowly made their way from the port side forward of the bow, to the bow, and then slowly drifted off to starboard. This occurred while the scientists were visiting the buoy at 2°S 95°W, so the ship was stopped. Once again, the bearings in the anemometer on this buoy were shot, so the scientists switched the anemometer with a new working one. It was a quick trip out and back and the ship continues to make very good time. We will be getting into the Galapagos much earlier than expected (Saturday morning). The cliche is true, eh? All good things must come to an end, for this Teacher at Sea anyway.

Question of the Day: 

This will be the last real question of the day, since I will only be at my noaa.gov email address until early Saturday morning. So, I’ll make you think. Starting at the 8°N point on the 110°W line and traveling down to the 8°S point on the 110°W line, and then traveling east to the 95°W line and going north to the equator, how many nautical miles is that? Keep in mind that 1° is about equal to 60 nautical miles. Get out the pencil and paper and go for it!!

Answer of the Day: 

I even stumped Cmdr Tisch on this one! We’ve decided a round number on what it costs to run the Ka’imimoana every day is about $20,000. It’s difficult to tell exactly. I did find out about how much fuel they use every day. Give up? About 2200 gallons. Fill ‘er up!

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 20, March 20, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Lat: 5°S
Long: 95°W
Seas: 5-8 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: mostly cloudy with isolated rainshowers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: SE 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 84-70°F

Today was a day of CTD’s, a live broadcast and a nighttime buoy visit. We are back to doing a CTD every degree, so Amy was a busy girl today (it gets even busier very close to the equator when she does CTD’s every half a degree). Our live broadcast was at 12:30 today as we are now on Central time. That was a bit dicey because John and I didn’t realize that the clock in the studio hadn’t been changed, so 20 minutes before show time, we were still thinking we had an hour and 20 minutes to go! Thank goodness I figured it out when I went down to eat and all the food had been put away because lunch was over!!

It just goes to prove, however, that preparation isn’t everything. We had a large “studio” audience (about 10-12 people standing behind the camera watching) and they all thought today’s broadcast was the best by far. All of the broadcasts will be put on the website as streaming videos in a few weeks when we return, so you can then decide for yourself. We had great guests: Clem, the Chief Steward who keeps our stomachs full of her yummy food (today’s delight: homemade bread pudding), Ensign Sarah Dunsford, Fred Bruns (the only original crew member since the KA has been working the TAO array), our bilingual trio of scientists Sergio Pezoa and Nuria Ruiz and our Ecuadorian observer, Juan Regalado, all topped off by a visit from oiler Ian Price (we’ve taken to calling him “Mr. Hollywood”). It was fun.

The nighttime visit to the buoy at 5°S 95°W was to check on the buoy’s anemometer. For a while now, the anemometer had been sending back low wind readings. The scientists weren’t sure if this was because there really were low winds in the area, or there was a problem. So, a little RHIB ride in the dark with a spare anemometer just in case did the trick. Turns out the bearings were bad in the old one, so they installed a new one (in the dark with spotlights in 8 foot swells). All in a day’s work for NOAA’s intrepid scientists Mike McPhaden, Brian Powers and Nuria Ruiz!

Question of the Day: 

Since we’re doing a CTD every degree, how often does Amy have to get up to do them? Or, how long is it between degrees of latitude going about 11 knots?

Answer of the Day: 

Mrs. Mackay’s class at Emory Elementary in San Diego CA were the first to come up with what the beam of a ship is: the width of the ship at its widest part (on the KA it’s 43 feet). Great job, you all!

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 19, March 19, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Lat: 8°S
Long: 95°W
Seas: 5-8 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: mostly cloudy with isolated showers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: NE 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 84-70°F

This morning, the eight Pollywogs on board (folks who have crossed the Equator but have never gone through the Shellback initiation) went through their Shellback ceremony and became official card-carrying Shellbacks. After 3 days of festivities in this proud maritime tradition, the wait is over. I must say, in all honesty, that I had a great time. The crew of the KA put a lot of effort into this and made it a terrific experience. All Wogs that have the opportunity should partake in this if given the opportunity.

We will be reaching the 95°W line at about 11pm this evening. At that time, there will be a relatively rare nighttime RHIB ride out to the buoy here at 8°S to replace the buoy’s rain gauge (the rest of it is operating properly). This is a fairly simple procedure, so it can safely be done at night. We will be doing a CTD at the same time. This way, as soon as both operations are done, we can continue on to check on the buoy at 5°S. And, as on land, out here at sea, time is money.

Question of the Day: 

How much do you think it costs to run the Ka’imimoana every day?

Answer of the Day(s): 

We have lots of them here from the weekend.

From Thursday: No one ever got back to me, so the deepest spot in the Pacific Ocean can be found in the Marianas Trench – about 10 miles deep.

From Friday: The beginning of modern oceanography is generally regarded to have begun with the Challenger Expedition of 1873-76. Check this out – very interesting.

From Saturday: I had two intrepid folks from San Diego give this a really good college try: Bob M. and John W. According to Ensign Kroening, we will have traveled 880 miles to get from the 110°W to the 95°W at an average of about 11 knots and it will have taken us 80.5 hours. (I like to think of this as driving from LA to the Oregon border at 10 mph with the scenery never changing!!)

From Sunday: The first buoy was deployed by NOAA in the Pacific in 1979. It is the very same one that is floating out on the equator at 110°W with Emory’s name on it! Thanks to John W. from San Diego again!

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 18, March 18, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Monday, March 18, 2002
Lat: 8°S
Long: 100°W
Seas: SE 4-7 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy with isolated rainshowers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds:E 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 86-72°F

Once again, today was a day in transit. The scientists were preparing for the leg between Galapagos and Manzanillo by getting the buoys that they will deploy there ready. The buoys we picked up on the 110°W line are being cleaned, patched, painted and fitted with the hardware so that they can be used on the 95°W line.

Since today was a quiet science day, I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you a bit about the Ka’imimoana. The ship is 224 ft long and has a beam of 43 ft. It has 6 total decks, but most of us use only 4 of them. It has enough cabins or staterooms (about 20 of them) to house 34 people. There are 4 generators (12 cylinders putting out 600 volts each) driving 2 propulsion motors, each of which has 800 horsepower. Thanks to Ian Price of the Engineering Dept for these figures. The KA has its own website. Check it out for more info about the ship.

Question of the Day: 

What is the beam of a ship?

Answer of the Day: 

Once again, I’ll wait until tomorrow to get past the
weekend backup of emails (I only get them on board twice a day and
they are funneled through the NOAA offices in Silver Spring, MD –
thanks, Jennifer!!).

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 17, March 17, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Sunday, March 17, 2002

Lat: 8°S
Long: 105°W
Seas: 4-7 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: mostly cloudy with isolated rainshowers
Sea Surface Temp:
Winds: E 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 87-74°F

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Clem cooked up quite the corned beef and cabbage feast today. Hope all of you had fun too. We are presently transiting from the 110°W line to the 95°W line, so there are no scientific experiments going on now. Rather, there is a lot of preparation going on by the scientists for the work once we get to 95°W. Let me sum up for you what was done on the 110°W line.

Between Amy, Nuria and I (mostly Amy), 27 CTD’s were performed, 5 of them at almost the depth of the ocean (we stop 200m above the floor). 4 buoys were recovered and 4 new buoys were deployed. 2 buoys were visited and found to be fine. 1 buoy was visited and needed repairs, which were provided. The scientists saw the signatures of El Niño: warmer than normal sea surface temperatures by 1 degree, and a rainfall pattern that has shifted southward and south of the equator.

While the scientists are prepping for future work, the crew was getting their regular work done. And, in the further interest of safety (always #1 out here), we had a man overboard drill. We all mustered in our respective locations and watched out the window as a crew of four rescuers went out in the RHIB to retrieve the unfortunate soul adrift (a stuffed evacuation suit!). After bringing him/her aboard, they promptly took him/her to the Medical room where s/he was treated and released. All of this practice is great for honing the skills if they’re ever necessary. Let’s hope they never are.

Question of the Day: 

When was the first NOAA buoy deployed in the Pacific Ocean?

Answer of the Day: 

I will wait until I get emails again after the weekend. Keep writing!

Dana Tomlinson: Day 16, March 16, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Saturday, March 16, 2002
Lat: 8°S
Long: 110°W
Seas: 2-5 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly to mostly cloudy, possibility of rain showers
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: 5-10 knots
Air Temp: 85-74°F

Today was kind of bittersweet for me but I doubt the crew feels that way. Today, we recovered the buoy at 8°S 110°W and deployed a new one. This will be the last time I have to see the buoy operations, as it is the last recovery/deployment until after the Galapagos Islands – and that’s where I get off. The crew goes on to Manzanillo, Mexico, and then returns to Honolulu, their home base. The operations went perfectly on both ends today, and now the crew gets a chance to catch up on everything they can’t do when they’re doing buoy ops.

We are now in transit from the 110°W line directly east to the 95°W line. We will be in transit for several days. During that time, like I said, the crew will be getting their regular chores done and the scientists will be preparing for the buoy “fly bys” we’ll be doing on the 95°W line. A fly by is when we locate the buoy, the scientists go out to it in the RHIB to check on it, and then fix anything that needs fixing or calibrating with the instrumentation. This transit is a chance for everyone to catch their breath for this next round of operations.

Question of the Day: 

The ship is traveling at about 12 knots. How long will it take us to get from the 110°W to the 95°W? Hint: you’re going to have to find out how many miles it is between degrees of longitude – Internet anyone?

Answer of the Day: 

Once again, Brian R. of San Diego tells me that the Pacific Ocean, on the average, is 13,740 ft deep, or about 4188 meters deep. But does anyone know how deep it is at its deepest point??? Let me hear from you. 🙂

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 15, March 15, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Friday, March 15, 2002
Lat: 6.2°S
Long: 111°W
Seas: 4-6 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly to mostly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: SE 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 85-74°F

Today was the day that we rounded up our wayward buoy. The buoy was deployed in April 2001 at 5°S 110°W. In November 2001, NOAA scientists knew that it was drifting freely. By the time we found it (it has a tracking device on it) it had drifted one degree south and one degree east. That’s 60 nautical miles in two directions!

Once we pulled it on board, one could see fairly clearly what had happened. There were scrapes on the sides of the buoy (the toroid, or “donut” section) where something like a boat/ship had rubbed up to it. There was a steel cable that had been attached to it and the nylon rope had been cut. So, the theory is that a fishing vessel attached itself to the buoy with the steel slingshot device. It yanks the buoy out of place and it’s easy to catch all the fish that use the buoy’s shade as their ecosystem.

Speaking of the buoy’s fish, while we were bringing in the buoy, folks on board that were not working were fishing the bounty of the ocean with a rod and reel. Several mahi mahi graced our table at dinner that evening – served by Clem four different ways (I think the mahi mahi in coconut sauce was the favorite.)! That woman is amazing. You NEED to use the gym on board to work off her good cooking!

Not to be overshadowed by the morning’s events was the day’s live broadcast. This was our third general broadcast and was the very first ever tried by NOAA out of doors. We had our studio on the buoy deck today. On the live broadcast, Cmdr. Tisch, Chief Scientist McPhaden and I dedicated tomorrow’s buoy to be deployed at 8°S 110°W to Education in America. The bulk of the show was scientist Ben Moore giving us a cook’s tour of the buoy deck’s equipment, and Dr. McFaden talked about our wayward buoy. It was a great show. We can still hook you up for the live broadcasts on 3/18, 3/20 and 3/22 if you’re interested.

Question of the Day:

 This is going to be a bit of a toughie, and might need some Internet research on your part, but it’s interesting. When do most oceanographers consider to be the beginning of modern oceanography? Or, another way of putting it is, what started modern oceanography? Hint: it’s before 1900.

Answer of the Day: 

The question was: how many branches of the armed services are there and what are they? Dennis M. of Lakeside CA got it exactly correct. There are 5 branches of the armed services: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard. PLUS, there are two other uniformed branches: NOAA and the US Public Health Service. Great job, Dennis. 🙂

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 14, March 14, 2020

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Thursday, March 14, 2002
Lat: 6°S
Long: 110°W
Seas: 4-7 ft
Visibility: unrestricted (3-5 mi. in rainstorms)
Weather: mostly cloudy with possible rainstorms
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: E 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 87-74°F

Today, we deployed a buoy at 5°S but we have not recovered the 5°S buoy. That’s because the little devil is at about 6.2°S due to currents, wind or being pulled by a boat. After the deployment, we did a deep cast to almost 3500m. Check the photos to see what that can do to styrofoam! We’ll get to the approximate location tonight of the wayward buoy and pick it up in the morning. I will be doing a CTD tonight.

Today, we also did our third safety drill since we boarded in San Diego. I have written and mentioned in my broadcasts how important safety is here. We have always had fire drills and abandon ship drills. Each week something different is added. The first week, we did an evacuation drill where we practiced putting on the evacuation (“gumby”) suit. Last week, we practiced using the water hoses in case of fire, and this week it was learning how to shoot the line throwing rocket.

I was given the honor of shooting off the rocket. All hands were called to the aft deck to hear Ens. Kroening and Ltcdr. Schleiger explain to us how to use the line throwing rocket. We would need to use it if ever we needed to get a line to another ship or land and it was too far to throw the line. For practice, we use a decoy that is shot off the fantail of the ship. Wearing my safety glasses and headgear, I shot the decoy. Successful launch! The line flew about 100 meters. Bad news: had to pull in the decoy and coil it up for next time.

Question of the Day: 

Today, we did a cast to about 3500 meters. How deep does the Pacific Ocean get?

Answer of the Day: 

Both Vanessa P. and Brian R. of San Diego were the only ones to try the fairing question and they were both right. A fairing is a smooth structure put on the outside of something. Its function is to reduce drag. In our case, the fairings are pieces of plastic about 3 inches wide and about a foot long that are snapped on to the top 250m of wire below the buoy in locations around the equator where the currents are very strong. The hope is that these fairings will reduce the drag on the wire and not allow it to be pulled so far off its intended location.

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 13, March 13, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Lat: 2°S
Long: 110°W
Seas: 3-6 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly to mostly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 80-84°F
Winds: E 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 86-76°F

This morning was jam-packed. I got up and outside on deck in the hopes of tagging along on a little half hour RHIB ride to visit the buoy at 1.5oS. A RHIB is a Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat. I was in luck – there was room. The plan was to replace the anemometer that was missing (vandalism? strong winds? who knows), and to put on a brand new pressure sensor as a brand new experiment.

Once again, things don’t always go as planned. After doing everything they had planned to do, the scientists couldn’t get the correct readings on their computers for the instrumentation. They spent about an hour and a half standing on the buoy in the blazing sun trying to fix the problem several different ways, and finally just replaced the tube entirely with new instrumentation.

During that time, I was circling the buoy in the RHIB, taking pictures and enjoying the scenery. I saw schools of mahi mahi jumping out of the water – possibly escaping the pilot whales that were spotted (not by me, unfortunately). I was also getting worried as I had to be back on the ship to do a live broadcast. Ultimately, when the scientists had to go back to the ship to get some new parts, they delivered me back at the same time. And the live broadcast went very well today, too. Look for all our live broadcasts in streaming video format on the website when we return.

Question of the Day: 

How many branches of the armed services are there and what are they?

Answer of the Day: 

The first person to answer the Pollywog/Shellback question was Brian R. from San Diego, but Mrs. Mackay’s class from San Diego got it correct also. A pollywog is a seagoer who has never crossed the equator on a ship. A Shellback is someone who has crossed the equator on a ship AND has gone through a Shellback ceremony. We have crossed the equator, but the ceremony hasn’t occurred yet. When it does, I’ll tell you about it, if I can. 🙂

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 12, March 12, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Lat: .5°S
Long: 110°W
Seas: 2-4 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly to mostly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 77-82°F
Winds: N/NE 5 knots
Air Temp: 88-76°F

As it turns out, the ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) was rigged up to deploy when I went outside this morning. The scientists had determined a new method of having it enter the water so there would be even less likelihood of anything going wrong. And they did a great job, because it was a very easy deployment. Mission accomplished – there’s an ADCP successfully collecting data on the equatorial currents at 110°W for the next year.

There was even more excitement to come for me, however. I had the privilege of being the first Teacher at Sea to ever have a buoy dedicated to her school. At 1130 today, Cdr. Tisch, Chief Scientist McPhaden and I each signed a large NOAA sticker on which we had written “Emory Elementary School, San Diego CA.” The gentlemen placed it on the plastic covering of the instrumentation and when it was deployed at the equator 110°W, that sticker actually kept its face to us until we could no longer read it. What’s truly amazing is that very buoy was the very first buoy that NOAA ever deployed in 1979. Our school is very honored.

The deployment of the Emory buoy took quite a while today because of the many fairings that the crew had to put on the wire line that goes down 250m below the buoy. Tomorrow is also a busy day on board. We are doing several CTD casts (Conductivity, Temperature and Depth), and we will be going by the buoy at 2°S to check on it, but we’re not recovering it.

Question of the Day: 

What is a fairing and what does it do?

Answers of the Days: 

Due to the weekend, there are several questions to catch up on. Here we go:

From Friday: No one answered this one correctly, so I’m going to give it to you. GMT is Greenwich Mean Time. It is 7 hours ahead of us here in Mountain Time and it is where all time is based because it is the 0 degree line of longitude. In nautical letters, zero is Zulu, hence, Zulu time. So, if it’s 9pm here in Mountain time, in GMT it is 4am.

From Saturday: Ditto on no answer for this one (come on you guys!!).
TAO stands for Tropical Atmosphere Ocean.

From Sunday: Karen R. in San Diego knows that MBARI stands for Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. And Vanessa P.(again!) in San Diego knows that pelagic means of the open ocean. And Brian R. in San Diego knows that chlorophyll is the green matter found in certain cells of plants, algae and some bacteria and it’s important because it changes light energy into chemical energy.

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 11, March 11, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Monday, March 11, 2002
Lat: 
Long: 110°W
Seas: 2-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: cloudy, rain possible
Sea Surface Temp: 77-82°F
Winds: N/NE 5 knots
Air Temp: 88-77°F

What an interesting day, all the way around. Weather-wise, we awoke to clear skies, with clouds on the horizon and we could tell it was going to be hot. By 9am, I could feel the backs of my legs burning with my back to the sun. I went in for lunch and came out and it was totally clouded over and a few minutes later, it was raining! Not drizzling – raining. Welcome to the equatorial Pacific!!

Yes, we made it to the Equator! My days as a Pollywog are numbered. Shellback is coming soon. Today, there were several important events going on onboard. Most importantly to me was our first live webcast. This was an exclusive to my school only and fortunately, was a technical success! It was actually a pretty perfect broadcast, a great way to start. All of the schools that have contacted either the NOAA offices or myself have received word about future live webfeeds. Once again, if there are any teachers out there who would like a live feed right into your classroom or any computer at the school that has an internet connection and RealPlayer (a free download), just let me know asap and we’ll get you the info you need.

The other important events on board today were another buoy recovery (more barnacles!!), a ADCP recovery/deployment and a deep CTD cast (to 3600 meters). The buoy was recovered, but it was 30 miles from where it should have been due to the strong currents at the equator. We will deploy the new one tomorrow morning. It will be a very special buoy – the first one ever dedicated to a school. It will have a sticker on it signed by the Commander, the Chief Scientist and me, dedicated to Emory Elementary! Neat, huh?!

The ADCP is an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler that’s been in the water for the last year. This is a big, round orange device (a little bit bigger that a weather balloon) with instrumentation on it that records the currents. There are 4 of them across the equator resting at different depths. It is anchored so that it rests 250 feet below the surface and periodically sends sonar waves up to the surface that bounce off of the surface and the plankton above and somehow that helps to record the currents. The information is stored in the device until it is recovered and then the data is learned. Like the buoys, it has an acoustic release device on it that releases it from the anchor when remotely told to do so and it floats to the surface.

The recovery went perfectly. We had a bit of trouble with the deployment, however. Hey, sometimes, things happen and this was one of them. Just as the crew was carefully loading it into the water, a wire snapped and the ADCP fell into the water untethered. It had to be rounded up just like the old one and brought back up on deck. Presently, it’s still sitting there as the scientists decide whether or not to deploy it tomorrow or to wait. Stay tuned.

Question of the Day: 

Above I mentioned being a Pollywog and being a Shellback. What do I mean?

Answer of the Day: 

Once again, since the logs weren’t posted over the weekend, let me give the GMT/Zulu question one more day. 🙂

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 10, March 10, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Sunday, March 10, 2002
Lat: 1°N
Long: 110°W
Seas: 2-4 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly to mostly cloudy
Sea Surf Temp: 79-82°F
Air Temp: 89-78°F

Today started out not looking so good – and I should know since I saw the sun rise behind the clouds. I have been up since 4am since I did the 4:30am CTD. The weather improved throughout the day, the seas have flattened out – you can tell we’re near the equator. By evening, it was just gorgeous – balmy, calm and a nice sunset behind the clouds. Ahhhhh.

Ok, I’ve strung you along long enough. Let’s talk barnacles. Actually, let’s talk about the hardest working woman on this ship: Raye Foster. She really is working in two capacities. She collects the barnacles off of the buoys. Those get sent to Dr. Cynthia Venn at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. And she collects water samples from different depths for Dr. Victor Kuwahara of MBARI. Why does she do these two things?

Dr. Venn has been doing barnacle research in the Pacific Ocean for almost ten years now. Since the NOAA buoys are moored from 8°N to 8°S all across the Pacific, she has had the unique opportunity to have a systematic set of hard objects from which to collect the barnacles in the open ocean. She has been studying this distribution of pelagic barnacle species across the tropical Pacific and the effects of El Niño and La Niña conditions on them.

Raye scrapes the barnacles off every part of the buoy and puts them in buckets according to which part of the buoy they were on. Then she counts them and puts them in bottles and covers them in Formalin, a preservative. Then, she bags them up with notations on the baggies as to which buoy they came from and the date, and the barnacles will be eventually shipped to Pennsylvania for more research by Dr. Venn.

Raye also takes water samples from every CTD cast for Dr. Kuwahara. She does several different experiments, but the most interesting to me is the chlorophyll extractions. Dr. Kuwahara is doing research on the amount of chlorophyll in the ocean at different depths over a period of time. And once again, the systematic testing done by NOAA for their El Niño research works perfectly for this purpose also.

Raye is therefore needed at every buoy recovery for work that takes hours to scrape the barnacles off of the buoy. Then days to do the prep work to send them to Dr. Venn. She is also needed at the end of every cast to collect the water samples. Those casts are basically every 6 hours around the clock – every 4 hours here close to the equator!! Needless to say, Raye, you need a raise! Seriously, everyone on board is aware of her diligent competence. You go, girl. 🙂

Questions of the Day: 

I decided that there can’t be just one because I wrote about so many possible questions. Please answer any of these you can:

What does MBARI stand for?
What does pelagic mean?
What is chlorophyll and why is it important?

Answer of the Day: 

Since I haven’t received all of my mail from over the weekend (it’s sent to me from NOAA in Maryland), let’s save it for Monday’s log, ok?

Til tomorrow (a very busy day),
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 9, March 9, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Saturday, March 9, 2002

Lat: 5°N
Long: 110°W
Seas: E/NE 2-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly, occasionally mostly cloudy
Sea Surface Temperature: 78-82°F
Air Temp: 87-76°F

Today, we did our first recovery/deployment of a buoy. What a fascinating 6 hour process. I was very impressed by the way the entire crew worked together as a team to make this complicated, and potentially dangerous, process happen.

At first light, two scientists (Brian and Nuria) motored out to the buoy (which was about 10 miles from where it should have been) from the Ka’imimoana in a small craft. They tied the buoy to a rope which was winched up back on deck. The buoy was then pulled to the ship and carefully hoisted aboard (in 6-8 ft swells with about 15 knot winds). It was placed over a hole in the deck so that Raye could scrape the barnacles off from below. (more barnacle talk tomorrow) It was missing its anemometer – lost at sea! Then the scientists started to winch in the wire which holds, at regular intervals, the thermometer pods, or Thermisters, which have been on this buoy for the past year collecting temperature data. After those are cut off, all of the 500 m (one spool) of wire is spooled. (We found a mass of fishing line that was snagged on the wire. This probably helps to account for why the buoy was 10 miles off. The fishing boat that was attached to the line probably pulled it.) Then comes 5-6 spools of white nylon rope to pull up. Then, there’s another 50 m of nylon rope, at the end of which is an acoustic coupler – a device that automatically releases the anchor line from the anchor by remote. Done with recovery!

To deploy the new buoy, it’s not exactly a reverse process because the buoy goes in first, followed by the line and then anchor last. The buoy (with anemometer!) gets hoisted over the side by crane and released with the wire on board attached to it. The wire starts getting released and the Thermisters are attached to the line at their intervals, then the rest of the wire is released and then the many spools of nylon rope. Then the acoustic coupler is attached and finally the anchors are carefully placed into the water. The ship then motors back to the buoy, which has floated over a mile away, to make sure it has ended up in the correct location and is floating properly upright. The scientists have purposefully deployed the anchor at a certain location knowing that the anchor will pull the buoy back some, but not all of the way. The barnacle talk will wait for tomorrow since the buoy explanation took so long! Stay tuned!!

Question of the Day: 

At the end of the url for this website and on every buoy we recover and deploy, it says “TAO.” What does TAO stand for?

Answer of the Day: 

Mr. Whitham’s class in San Diego was the first to respond with the correct answer. To change Celsius into Fahrenheit, one must take the Celsius number, multiply it by 9/5 and then add 32. C x 9/5 + 32 = F So, 27.6C is about 81F. (A hint that an Australian friend of mine told me is, if the Celsius number is in the 20’s or higher, just multiply the Celsius number by 3 and you’re close enough. In this case, pretty darn close!!).

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 8, March 8, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Friday, March 8, 2002

Lat: 6.5°N
Long: 110°W
Seas: E/NE 2-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly, occasionally mostly, cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 78-82°F
Winds: E/NE 10-15 knots
Air Temp: 83-74°F

Do you remember when I said yesterday that today was all about barnacles? Well, as my beloved husband (I miss you honey!) likes to say during a disagreement, “I wasn’t exactly correct.” Actually, tomorrow is barnacle day as we’ll be reaching the vicinity of our first buoy later this morning. The ship will do a deep CTD cast and then we’ll move into position at first light to start the buoy operations. That should be exciting.

So, today is all about weather balloons! Sergio Pezoa, an employee of Environmental Technology Laboratory working with NOAA, showed me the ins and outs of weather balloons. As of a few days ago, Sergio has been deploying the balloons every 6 hours starting at 0Z (zero Zulu or GMT time), five times a day. The purpose of the weather balloons is to collect data (air pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed and direction) in this El Niño zone, as one more measure that, all together, scientists look at to try to predict the El Niño condition. The weather balloons have two parts: the actual balloon that is filled with helium (it is much bigger than I expected it would be – almost the diameter of a child’s swimming pool) and the radiosonde. The radiosonde is the transmitter portion that is the communication device that transmits the data from satellites to the ship’s computer. It is battery powered with a charge that lasts about 3 hours. The balloon will burst before that and fall to the sea, already having sent its important information to earth. And, believe it or not, the entire thing, from balloon to string to transmitter to battery is ALL biodegradable. Amazing. I really enjoyed deploying it, too. When I let go, the balloon and radiosonde burst out of my hands, when I expected them just to fly away. It was lovely watching them sail, literally, into the sunset.

Question of the Day: 

You knew this was coming, huh? Above, I mentioned Zulu time or GMT. What is GMT and if it’s 9:00pm here in Mountain Time, what time is that Zulu or GMT?

Answer of the Day: 

Congrats to the folks who realized I spelled thermocline incorrectly (once again, I wasn’t exactly right!). Alyzza V. of San Diego was the first to tell me that thermocline is the layer in the ocean that separates the warm upper layers that are oxygen-rich from the cold lower layers of the ocean that are oxygen-poor. Important to this ship’s research since warm waters are what El Niño is all about!

Til tomorrow
🙂 Dana


Dana Tomlinson: Day 7, March 7, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Thursday, March 7, 2002

Lat: 8°N
Long: 110°W
Seas: waves 4-6 ft., swells 8-10 ft
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: cloudy, partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 27.6°C
Winds: 15 knots
Air Temp: 27.2°C

I was asked by a student in Mr. Whitham’s class in San Diego what it feels like to be on a ship. Today, it feels like a roller coaster!! The seas are really rolling, but at the risk of jinxing myself, I might be past my queasy moments. Which is good, because at times today we’ve had 10 foot swells and winds of up to 24 knots. It’s been a wild one.

Today, I did my first CTD with Amy looking over my shoulder. Like I said yesterday, this is very important work which cumulatively helps to predict the El Niño condition (which can cause millions of dollars in damage and take thousands of lives with the bad weather and droughts it brings), so I take it very seriously. There are many steps to remember in the collection of the water samples as well as the data. I will be working with Amy again before I do this on my own, so I feel confident that I can perform it all correctly. See the photo album for shots of the CTD casting being done by Amy and I.

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Larry Wooten. He is the technical specialist on board – he’s the fix-it man. And on this trip, I’ve been calling him the “most overworked techie in history.” Keep in mind that we are hundreds of miles from the nearest shop like Home Depot or Fry’s so we’ve got to have someone to depend on to fix things, and Larry has stepped up to the plate, big-time. Today, he was trouble-shooting our live video broadcasts, he completely removed and re-installed a new triggering mechanism on the CTD (it wasn’t firing the bottles closed properly), and he had to install new software onto a computer so that I could send my photos to you. And that’s just three things I know about! Great job, Larry – the Ka’imimoana is lucky to have you.

Questions of the Day: 

You’ll notice that I listed the SST and Air Temp above in Centigrade today. How does one change a Centigrade reading into a Fahrenheit reading? What would the readings for SST and Air Temp be in degrees Fahrenheit?

Answer of the Day: 

The other day I asked what SST stood for and many of you said Sea Surface Temperature, but Angelique D. of San Diego was first! Great job. And did you know that just by going down a few feet, the water temp gets colder? The ship has sensors that tell us SST and water temp at 3 meters. And of course, the CTD can tell the temp at depths in the thousands of meters. And the buoys along the 110°W line that we’ll be visiting have temperature sensors down the cables that anchor them to the bottom. But that’s a story for another day. 🙂

Tomorrow, we pull up our first buoy – it’ll be all about barnacles for me.

Til then! 🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 6, March 6, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Latitude: 11°N
Longitude: 110°W
Seas: 2-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: cloudy

Today was not as nice as it has been this week, but it still beats winter in Chicago (which I did for several years). And people from Chicago, please don’t write me that I hate Chicago – it’s one of my most favorite places. I have very fond memories of living there. Anyway, the seas have kicked up a bit, the ship is a’rocking and a’rolling and the weather is cloudy and humid. But life goes on here on the working laboratory that is the Ka’mimoana.

The significant event of the day was our first real CTD cast. I’ve written about these for the last few days, but today I want to really explain it because its scientific work is significant to the entire planet. Once again, CTD stands for Conductivity Temperature Depth. These are all things that are tested by this machine, and more. The machine itself is a steel frame that has 14 cylinders that hold from 4 to 5 liters of sea water that is captured at different depths in the ocean. There are numerous steps in the process of collecting the water – it’s not nearly as simple as it sounds.

First, the computers need to be set up. Then the machine itself has to have the bottles set properly to “fire” later. Then the winch operator and the CTD survey tech work together to lower the machine into the ocean down to 1000 meters. Once there, the survey tech “fires” off the first bottle by a computer key stroke – this snaps closed the top and bottom of the cylinder, thereby capturing the water at that depth. The winch hauls the machine up to 800 meters and it happens again. It happens again at 600m, 400m, 200m, 150m, 100m, 60m, 40m, 25m, 10m and surface. Then, the machine is hauled out by the winch operator (assisted by the survey tech in a life vest who is harnessed to the ship so she doesn’t fall overboard) and put back on deck. Before the machine is cast, when it is at depth and when it is at the surface, numerous statistics are notated such as SST (sea surface temperature) and SSS (sea surface salinity).

At this point, the survey tech shuts down the machines and the computers are done. Then the survey tech goes outside, fills up glass bottles with samples of the sea water from every depth that will be tested in a salinometer later. The machine is hosed down, tied down, and left for the next cast 6 hours later. The information collected from this machine taken over time (and NOAA has been doing these for years now) helps scientists to predict the El Niño and La Niña conditions which can wreak havoc world-wide.

Question of the Day: 

What is a thermoclime? (thanks to Ben Moore, NOAA scientist)

Answer of the Day: 

I guess I’m going to have to make these harder because all sorts of people got this one! Believe it or not, Vanessa P. of San Diego was the first one again to answer it! An anemometer is a device that measures wind speed and direction. Several of them are on board for deployment on the voyage.

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 5, March 5, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Latitude: 15 N
Longitude: 111 W
Seas: N/NW 2-5 ft.
Visibility: Unrestricted
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 72-76F
Winds: NE 5-10
Air Temp: 78-65F

Hello again from the sunny Pacific! Today was another wonderful day in paradise. We were actually visited by some boobies doing some aerial maneuvers around the ship. We also saw numerous flying fish who I don’t think were visiting, but trying to get out of our way! It was my first sighting of flying fish. I always figured that they’d soar out of the water and fall back in, but, as often happens, boy was I wrong. These fish (very slender and smaller than I thought -looked like maybe 8-10 inches long) burst out of the water and then literally fly. They use their pectoral fins as wings and some easily flew for 50 yards. Amazing.

Since we are still in transit to the first buoy (arriving Wed 3/7), I spent today on camera in tests to get our technology all set for the live web feeds we will be doing for schools around the country (and in a few other countries, too). If you are a teacher who would like to set up a live webfeed for your classroom, please email me, and I’ll connect you with the people who will make it happen.

The scientists continue to prep for work they’ll be undertaking any day now. Since I don’t have anything very scientific to discuss today, I think I’ll take this opportunity to give you information on something I’ve been getting LOTS of questions about … the food!

JoseFelipe from San Diego was one of the first to ask! The mess (it’s actually very neat, but that’s what they call the cafeteria) is open to feed us three times a day: from 0700-0800, 1100-1200 and from 1630-1730. They are strict about the times. Clementine and Sandra are the cooks and they do a terrific job feeding the 30 of us on board a great deal of variety. For breakfast every day, they’ve had a choice of hot or cold cereals, waffles, pancakes, and some sort of egg dish. For lunch, there is always a salad bar, and usually sandwiches and a soup, and then a couple of main dishes. For dinner, you usually have at least 3 dishes to choose from. Dessert at lunch is usually ice cream or fruit, and for dinner it’s usually something VERY fattening. Tonight, it was the richest chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten. During any other hours of the day, the mess is open for the snacks they have available: bread, peanut butter, all of the drinks, salad, crackers, etc. So far, my favorites have been the Chinese soup, the chicken curry and the Caesar salad (at three different meals and all made from scratch). We are a lucky crew. Thanks, ladies!!

Question of the Day: 

When looking at a forecast, what does SST stand for?

Hint: you can find it in my daily log.

Answer of the Day:

Vanessa P. from San Diego was the first to ask me what the #2 and #3 most frequently asked questions of me were before I left on my voyage. Here are those questions and answers:

#2 Are there any other women on board with you?
Answer: Yes, there are a total of 8 women on board and 22 men.

#3 How did you get chosen for this?
Answer: I’m not really sure. My best guess is that the folks who decide these things at NOAA liked the fact that I wrote well when I filled out my application, they liked that I have done a lot of things in outdoor education, and perhaps they liked the fact that I used to be a flight attendant so they knew that I can travel and take care of myself. I really don’t know, but I’m sure glad they did!

Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 4, March 4, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Monday, March 4, 2002

Latitude: 20 N
Longitude: 112 W
Seas: 4-7 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 60-68 F
Winds: NE 13-18
Air Temp: 78/65 F

Happy Monday, all! And a very happy one it is out here. Last night, at sundown, we actually saw the elusive “green flash” at sunset. Personally, I think it’s a bit overrated! It was my first time seeing it and I expected a mini-St. Patrick’s Day explosion and got a little bitty green line on the horizon. Poof.

Anyway, today was another beautiful day in paradise. Since we are now south of the tip of Baja California, the weather is much balmier. I am thankful for the breeze the ship creates! We have 2 more days of transit before we encounter our first buoy and the scientists and crew are spending our days preparing for that.

Today, I received training in how to do a CTD line cast. CTD stands for Conductivity Temperature Depth. And those three things are what this machine measures – at depths of up to 1000 meters! These measurements are taken every 6 hours round the clock from the time we reach 12 degrees north latitude, which will be on Wednesday. There is a survey technician on board who does this, but to give her a break, some of us have volunteered to learn how to do it to relieve her once in a while. It involves computer operation as well as manually setting the instrumentation on the device (which is taller than my 5’8″ and much heavier). After setting the tubes to catch the water, it is deployed over the side by a winch and lowered to the desired depth. Then one of the 15 or so tubes on the device are tripped closed at the depths you desire on the way up. Once at the surface again, the water is removed from the machine into bottles and it’s on to the laboratory (on board) for testing. Fascinating. I can’t wait to be involved (see pictures in photo album 3).

Question of the Day: I’m going to make this a regular daily feature. The first person to get back to me will be mentioned in a future log. Today’s question: What is an anemometer? (There are several on board that will be deployed on the voyage.)

Answer of the Day: On Day 2, I asked what my #2 and #3 questions that people had asked me before I left San Diego were. Can’t tell you yet, because no one’s asked (or guessed)! Come on – any takers out there?

Til tomorrow, aloha! 🙂
Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 3, March 3, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Sunday, March 3, 2002

Latitude: 25.5 N
Longitude: 114.8 W
Temperature: 70 F

Science Log

Research has not yet started.

Travel Log

When we went to bed last night, the moon was a harvest color just hanging on the horizon and there were 30 knot winds crossing the bow of the ship. The seas had picked up considerably and this morning we had fairly high surf with waves breaking, forming white caps wherever we looked. It wasn’t scary, but it was rough. By the afternoon, however, we had the predicted 2 to 4 foot seas, partly cloudy weather with temperatures in the mid-70’s – just lovely.

The crew continues to prepare for the many experiments and tests they will perform. Today, Ben and Brian used one of the cranes on board to move a Doppler radar device into position for future deployment. My roommate is an employee with MBARI (the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute). She is going to be studying the barnacles that collect on the bottoms of the buoys that are brought on board. She’s been busy preparing her collection bottles, sewing netting to hold the samples and teaching me the difference between the types of barnacles to be found!

I’m looking forward to helping her with some of her work. More tomorrow on the other activities I’ll be involved with. I’d love to hear from you. Please email with questions and I’ll be happy to get back to you and to use the answers to some of them in this daily log.

Til then, here’s to FAIR seas and following winds!
Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 2, March 2, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2002

Latitude: 29.9 N
Longitude: 116.3 W
Temperature: 65 F

Science Log

Research has not yet started.

Travel Log

Today was a day for getting acquainted with the ship and its occupants and its activities and responsibilities. When I awoke, the weather was gorgeous, the sky was clear – and land was nowhere to be seen! Already it seems as if we are mid-ocean. The seas are very calm. The ocean rolls gently and noone that I know of has had any problems with seasickness (the number one question I got from people before I left: “Do you get seasick?” The answer: “Not yet.” If you’d like to know the #2 and #3 questions asked of me, just keep reading the logs 😉

We are cruising at the top speed of 11-1/2 knots and hope to make up some of the time lost in Seattle and San Diego. There was an orientation held for all of the new scientists aboard (I’m honored to be considered part of that category.). The most fun was the abandon ship drill held after the fire drill. Safety is a primary concern aboard the Ka’imimoana. Most parts of the ship are considered industrial workplaces, so hard hats are worn, closed toe shoes are required, and often life vests are necessary. During an abandon ship drill, we muster at our life boat stations with our vests and “gumby” suits. These suits are aptly named as they make you look like Gumby! They are wetsuits that have gloves and boots sewn into them and I’ve been told that someone could survive floating in the ocean for several days in them. Look for a picture in the photo album of scientist Mike McPhaden in one. I’m glad we had the practice putting them on, because it’s not as easy as it sounds! Let’s just hope we never have to use them.

Keep in Touch,
Dana

Dana Tomlinson: Day 1, March 1, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Friday, March 1, 2002

Location: San Diego, CA

Travel Log

Ahoy, mateys! After an eventful day of nothing happening, we’re off! But let me explain………………..

The Ka’imimoana was scheduled to leave San Diego on Feb. 26, but it was delayed in Seattle where it was undergoing maintenance, and the departure was pushed back to Feb. 28. Upon a tour of the ship on Feb. 27 with my family, I discovered from Capt. Tim Tisch that some circuit boards needed to be replaced, so our departure would be pushed back to March 1 (hopefully). My husband and I arrived this morning as planned at the 32nd Street Naval Base – but were denied access by the Navy as their permission for us to enter expired Feb. 28!! After getting new permission papers, the Main Gate allowed us access, and we were in business. The new parts arrived, were quickly put in place, the crane came to remove the electrical umbilical cord and gangplank and we were off. So, as “Roseann Roseanna Dana” from Saturday Night Live used to say, “It’s always something!”

We were underway at around 1630, cruising past the gorgeous city of San Diego and its beautiful skyline at sunset. Thus, begins the adventure of a lifetime for me – bittersweet today as I left my terrific husband and two beautiful daughters on Pier 4. I am hopeful that you will all benefit from my experience in some way. Please log on daily to read about the Adventures of the NOAA crew aboard the Ka’imimoana!!

Keep in Touch,
Dana