Dana Clark : Alaska in 3D, June 30, 2014

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Clark

Onboard NOAA Ship Fairweather

June 23 – July 3, 2014

Mission: Hydrographic Survey

Geographical area of cruise: South Coast of Kodiak Island

Date: June 30, 2014

Weather Data: Latitude – 56° 34.74′ N, Longitude – 154° 02.21′ W, Sky Condition – 1/2 clouds, Present Weather – clear, Visibility – 10+ nautical miles, Wind – 15 knots, Temperature – 10° C

Science and Technology Log

I had a great day yesterday on the launch gathering more hydrographic survey data. We had a pretty, sunny day with calmer waves until the afternoon. Then the wind and waves picked up and we were tossed around a bit. It didn’t help that we had to survey an area called Whirlpool Point that is nicknamed “the washing machine”! Here is an 18 second clip as we entered the washing machine until I had to turn off the camera so I could hold on with both hands. Note that at the beginning, she says she’s stopping logging the data and you’ll see why!  

 

Dana Clark and CTD

Dana Clark getting ready to deploy the CTD

In this top picture you can see me getting ready to lower the CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth) into the water. After about 5-7 minutes the CTD is raised and then connected to the launch’s onboard computer which uses special software to download the data from the cast. In the picture below you can see Pat Berube showing me how to connect it to the computer. Once we gather this along with the multi-beam sonar data, the day’s work is saved to a hard drive and turned in to the evening processing crew.

Pat Berube showing Dana Clark CTD connection

Pat Berube showing Dana Clark how to connect the CTD for data download

They take the raw data from the launches hard drive, copy it to the ship’s network, and convert it to a format that is readable by the mapping software. They apply correctors like sound velocity from the CTD, tide, and the vessel’s motion data to correct the multi-beam soundings in processing. Let me show you what some of their digital terrain models (DTM) look like. When you have a DTM of the seafloor, it shows the morphology of the seafloor in a range of colors and shows features like rocky areas, sand waves, and seismic faulting. These are statistical representations of all the multi-beam sonar soundings.

Below you will see two examples of the the seafloor generated by Pat Berube, a NOAA hydrographer, that show a 3D base surface. The first one just has the 3D multi-beam base surface. The second one is the same but it also has a chart draped over it. The chart ends up being the final product with the new soundings shown on it. Look at the bottom left model and you will see a reef in the bottom right, a green trench with rocks in it in the middle and at the top yellow area are sand ripples. The large round black spot in the middle is an island and the smaller black circle to the right of it is a small group of rocks. There is also another trench on the left in blue. The colors are added to see the features better. The numbers on the chart on the right are fathoms, which show the depth. Click on each to bring up a larger high resolution picture.

3D model of the seafloor

3D model of the seafloor, NW of Aiaktalik Island, Alaska. Photo courtesy of Pat Berube and NOAA

3D model of seafloor with chart

3D model of seafloor with chart overlay, NW of Aiaktalik Island,  Alaska. Photo courtesy of Pat Berube and NOAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the two pictures below it shows the actual land features of the island that is the black circle in the 3D map above and the rock outcropping that is represented by the small black circle to the right. These pictures show how what we see when surveying transfers to what we see on the charts.

Small island

Small island NW of Aiaktalik Island, Alaska

 

Rock outcropping

Rock outcropping NW of Aiaktalik Island, Alaska.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scientist of the Day

Today I would like you to meet Cathleen Barry, a Cartographer for NOAA who is currently aboard the Fairweather. Cathleen is someone who makes maps, more specifically, navigational charts. And she fell into this field of work in the most unusual way. She was a recent graduate of California State University, Northridge, with a BS in Earth Science. She has loved maps since she was a child, but little did she know then that she would end up drawing maps for a living! Working as a beginning Cartographer in the Marine Geophysics department on campus, her professor tasked her with making a poster to advertise a NOAA expedition to the Arctic.

Cathleen Barry, NOAA Cartographer

Cathleen Barry, NOAA Cartogropher aboard the Fairweather, 2012. Photo courtesy of Cathleen Barry

The Marine Geophysics department was looking for graduate students to participate in a geophysical cruise to the Bering Sea aboard the NOAA Ship Discoverer, a 100 meter oceanographic research vessel. When the poster was complete she drew ten lines on it for sign-ups, and after thinking about it, she decided to put her name on the first line. They needed a cartographer to map during this trip and a career was born!

This career has sure evolved over the years. When Cathleen started out, cartographers drew with pen and ink on drafting paper and now it’s all computer generated. Her job is to use the bathymetric and features data collected to update America’s nautical charts. Earth’s crust is very dynamic and the seafloor changes all the time! When she retires, maybe around 2020, she will say goodbye to a field she has loved for over 30 years.

Personal Log

I have to tell you, typing a blog while my body gently sways from one side to the other is very strange. My abdominal muscles, gluteus maximus, and quadriceps are getting a workout as my muscles tighten to help me to to stay put! I do need the mini workout since the cooks here keep us well fed!

The weather here is so variable. The temperature on my last blog was 21° C and today it was 10° C with cold winds. I was glad I was not out on the launches today and was interested in working with the mapping on the ship until I heard and saw video of what was in the water today. The launches saw a large pod of about 40 orca whales playing about right by their boats! I was so bummed I missed it. Maybe tomorrow?! Then again, tomorrow I will be in a launch that is going to survey a section of the seafloor that has a possible shipwreck in it. Sunken treasure anyone?

Question: Which picture do you like better, the daytime picture of Joe and me on the crest of Cape Kaguyak (note the orange Ambar boat to the left and the white ship Fairweather anchored to the right) or the nighttime picture of the sunset from the flybridge of the Fairweather? You can click on pictures in my blogs to see them full size. Vote in the poll below!

Dana Clark, Cape Kaguyak, Alaska

Dana Clark and ENS Joe Brinkley atop Cape Kaguyak, Alaska

Sunset from the Fairweather

Sunset from the NOAA ship Fairweather, June 28, 2014

Kimberly Pratt, July 18, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kimberly Pratt
Onboard NOAA Ship McArthur II
July 2 – 24, 2005

MAC433-AR1, OO

Photo credit: Cornelia Oedekoven

Mission: Ecosystem Wildlife Survey
Geographical Area: Pacific Northwest
Date: July 18, 2005

Weather Data from Bridge

Latitude:  3614.084N
Longitude: 12213.868W
Visibility: <1 mile
Wind Direction: 340 Wind Speed:  22 knots
Sea Wave Height: 5-6 feet
Sea Level Pressure: 1014.6
Cloud Cover: Foggy, Drizzle
Temperature:  14.8

MAC433-AR1, OO

Photo credit: Cornelia Oedekoven

Scientific Log 

Our days have been mostly foggy with the sun peaking through rarely. After not seeing the sun for days, we were all delighted when the bridge announced that there was sun and many of us ran outside right away!  Right now we’re outside of Pt. Reyes, continuing on transect lines. The animals we’ve observed lately are: a pod of Killer Whales feeding, several Humpback Whales, schools of Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and Northern Right Whale dolphins.

The Zodiac was launched and tissue samples and photo ID was taken of the Killer Whales. (photos attached) This evening two Humpbacks gave us quite a show.  They rolled next to the ship, breached, and slapped their flippers. Many times we could see their bellies as they lazily made their way by the ship rolling and diving, quite peacefully.  Video and photo was taken of these amazing animals.

MAC433-AR1, OO

Photo credit: Cornelia Oedekoven

The bird observers have been especially busy. In the past few days they’ve identified Black-footed Albatross, Common Murre, lots of Sooty Shearwaters, Pink footed Shearwaters, Ashy Storm Petrels that breed on the Farallons, and Cassini’s Auklets. Also seen are South Polar Skua’s, and Red Neck Phalaropes who are Artic breeders.  We’ve also seen Mola Mola fish, and a Mako shark with a pointy snout.  We’re continuing Bongo Net Tows and continue to collect plankton, larvae and small jellyfish.

Personal Log

Thanks to Rich Pagen being back on board, I am now focusing more on taking video, completing interviews, doing logs and e-mail correspondence. My interviews have gone well; the crew has been responsive and also forgiving when I’ve made mistakes.  For the remainder of the trip, I’ll be focusing on interviewing more of the scientists, developing curriculum and completing logs.  It’s been great meeting all the crew and finding out more about them. With less than a week to go, I’m treasuring every moment. This has been a great trip!

MAC433-AR1, OO

Photo credit: Cornelia Oedekoven

 

Until later…
Kim

Thanks to Cornelia Oedekoven for the Orca photos.

Kimberly Pratt, July 10, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kimberly Pratt
Onboard NOAA Ship McArthur II
July 2 – 24, 2005

Mission: Ecosystem Wildlife Survey
Geographical Area: Pacific Northwest
Date: July 10, 2005

Orca pod

Orca pod

Weather Data from Bridge

Latitude: 38,55.2 N
Longitude: 124.22.003 W
Visibility:  < 1miles
Wind Speed & Direction:  200 degrees, 8 knots
Sea Wave Height: 1-2
Sea Swell Height: 5-6 ft.
Sea Level Pressure: 1016.2
Cloud Cover: cloudy and foggy
Temperature:  21.8 Celsius

Scientific Log

Orcas found! Yesterday evening, approximately 8 Killer Whales were tracked and observed off the bow of the McARTHUR II. Scientists are right now trying to determine if they are resident, off-shore, or transient whales.  This they will do by looking at their saddles, the area just under the dorsal fin.  It has already been determined that this pod did not have a large bull as none of the whales had the very large dorsal fin.  Male bull fins can be as large at 6ft high. A southern resident Killer Whale is reported to be over 100 years old. Attached are 2 photos of the group we observed last night, and also an  older picture of a baby Orca, as evidenced by the yellow/pinkish coloring.  Thanks to Holly Fearnbach for the photos.

Orca dorsal fin

Orca dorsal fin

Today we are heading closer to the California coast, north of Bodega Bay. It has been foggy all day with no chance to do observations.

Personal Log

I had to get these out to all of you. Seeing so many wild Orcas was breathtaking. The flying bridge was full of oohs, and awes as everyone ran to get their cameras.  One of the animals spy-hopped to look around and we observed them for about 40 minutes.  I also thought you might enjoy the “baby” orca picture. Last night there were some juveniles in the group, as evidenced by the smaller dorsal fins.

Kimberly Pratt, July 7, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kimberly Pratt
Onboard NOAA Ship McArthur II
July 2 – 24, 2005

Mission: Ecosystem Wildlife Survey
Geographical Area: Pacific Northwest
Date: July 7, 2005

White-sided dolphins

White-sided dolphins

Weather Data from Bridge

Latitude:  44, 20, 7 N
Longitude: -126, 27, 7 W
Visibility:  10
Wind direction: 220
Wind Speed: 220
Sea Wave Height:  12
Swell Wave Height:  3-5
Sea Level pressure: 16.1
Cloud Cover: 7/8, AC, AS, CU
Temperature:  17.1

Scientific Log

Yesterday, we had the good fortune to see a school of Pacific White Sided dolphin, which swam at our bow for about 1/2 hr. A biopsy was taken of two of the animals, by Scientists, Tim O’Toole and Juan Carlos who used a crossbow with a special “grabber” attached to the arrow. A piece of skin and a piece of blubber will be analyzed.  Also swimming with the school were 2-3 baby dolphins.  Also spotted was a Humpback whale. A very busy day…

Today, we’ve spotted 2-3 Fin whales, along with a pod of Killer Whales.  The small boat was launched and tissue samples were taken from one of the Fin whales.  The Fin whale seemed rather curious as it approached the small boat at a close range.  The Killer Whales, however, were more cunning and a tissue sample could not be taken because their swimming pattern was very erratic.

As far as birds go, we spotted several Puffins, with beautiful markings on their heads; Black footed Albatrosses, Sooty Shearwaters, Leach’s Storm Petrels and lots of Seagulls.  Peter Pyle and Sophie Webb have trained me in the data entry part of their observations, so I am now helping them on the bridge when possible.  Tonight, I’ll be learning more about the CDT cast and also the Bongo Tow.

Personal Log

Yesterday was our first day out to sea, and my first experience with ocean swells.  I will admit I did develop sea sickness – or getting my sea legs as it’s called.  Chief Scientist Karen Forney, joked that may my sea legs grow quickly.  Ha! I’m now recovered, with no worse for wear. I guess it’s a rite of passage that all sea goers must experience.  So now I’m seasoned.  I’m very grateful to Chief Scientist Forney who in the middle of my sickness, came to my room and let me know about the dolphins outside.  She knew I wouldn’t want to miss it and she was right!  Another wonderful sight is the different tones of blue that can be seen when looking out over the water.  The weather has been nice, and we are now in the waters off of central Oregon.  We hope to be in central California by this weekend, depending on how things go.  The crew and scientists are extremely supportive and patient with all of my questions, and I’m learning a lot. I’ll post another log in a day or two.

Jim Jenkins, April 30, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jim Jenkins
Onboard NOAA Ship Miller Freeman
April 18 – 30, 2005

Mission: Pollock Survey
Geographical Area: Bering Sea
Date: April 30, 2005

Crewmembers retrieve a marine mammal listening device from the water.

Crewmembers retrieve a marine mammal listening device from the water.

Weather Data 

Latitude:  57, 37, 50 North
Longitude: 156, 02, 34
West Visibility:  8 Nautical Miles
Wind Direction: 161 Degrees
Wind Speed:  17 Knots
Sea Wave Height: 4-5 Feet
Swell Wave Height:  4-6 Feet
Sea Water Temperature:  4 Degrees C
Sea Level Pressure: 1001.5
Cloud Cover: Partly Cloudy

Science and Technology Log

Marine Mammal Listening Device

Earlier, a marine mammal listening device scheduled for recovery could not be picked up because the instrument responded to signals and released from its anchor, but it did not rise to the surface for recovery.  You may remember the theory was that it was stuck in the mud which prevented it from rising.  Well, things changed on the second effort to pick up one of these devices. This one popped to the surface and is now onboard the ship. The data and sounds recorded will be of great interest to scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Crewmembers deploy bongo nets.

Crewmembers deploy bongo nets.

A couple of days ago, I sent some photos of brittle stars, bivalves, barnacles and worms that had gathered on a mooring that had been 200 meters deep in the Bering Sea for about a year. Were you as impressed with all the life forms as I was?

I expected to see life forms on the marine mammal listening device because it had also been beneath the water for 1 year. You may be surprised to learn that there was almost nothing on the surface of the entire instrument!  Would you like to take an educated guess as to the reason for the lack of life on this mooring? You would be correct if you noted that this one was deployed at a deeper depth.  In fact, this one was 1,800 meters deep.  The role of the sun in starting the process of photosynthesis to feed all life is pretty impressive isn’t it?  I hope this example helps you even more appreciate the role of penetration of sunlight into the water as a huge factor in ocean food chains.

Bongo Tows

Four bongo shaped nets were lowered into the water this morning to catch zooplankton. Two of the nets had a 60centimeter diameter and 133micron holes in them.  This means that anything smaller than 133 microns simply passes through the net and is not collected. Lots of phytoplankton fall into this category and are not collected.

Mr. Jenkins displays a sample of zooplankton

Mr. Jenkins displays a sample of zooplankton

Two more nets had 20-centimeter diameter openings and nets which had 153-micron holes in them.  Can you see that these nets are set up to catch smaller plankton species? All nets were lowered to the bottom by a winch until they were 10 meters from the bottom.  The nets are then pulled up to the surface by a winch at a rate of 20 meters per minute.  All organisms are collected in a cylinder attached to the base of the net.  The cylinders are removed from the nets, taken into the laboratory where they are put into bottles. The bottles are then sent to a lab in Poland where technicians use microscopes to identify the species, and the number of each species, in each sample.

Today’s specimens had a lot of organisms visible to the naked eye.  I will be forwarding a photo in which you may be able to make out some specimens.  There were a few fish larva and even some squid larva.  Have you noticed that rivers around Virginia tend to have a greenish hue once algae populations begin to grow in the summer?  Well, this process also happens in the Bering Sea. The size of the mesh on bongo nets is adjusted during the summer months because a larger amount of algae growing in the water tends to be picked up.  These algae may even clog a net if too much is collected.  What can be determined by the small specimens collected in the bongo nets? For starters, finding a lot of zooplankton means that larger species are going to have more to eat.  This could mean healthier populations and better fishing.  Eggs of fish collected in the tows give an indication of the future of fish populations.  More eggs may mean more fish.

Our friend, the Walleye Pollock’s, eggs soon turn to a larval form before developing into small fish.  The larva of the Walleye Pollock have small ear bones called otoliths. These ear bones have growth rings in them which are similar to growth rings in trees.  It is possible to determine the age of Pollock larva to the number of days by examining and counting the rings in its ear! Knowing the age and number of larva in the water can be extremely helpful in predicting the number of fish that are likely to be available for harvest in the future.

Crab Classic contains “Surimi Crab.”

Crab Classic contains “Surimi Crab.”

Argos Apex Drifters

Two instruments have been dropped into the water and they are probably not going to be recovered.  In fact there will be no effort to recover them!

The first of these long yellow cylinders with satellite transmitters on the top was dropped into the water yesterday.  At first, the instrument simply sat horizontally on the surface of the sea until it picked up a signal from a satellite in orbit.  When the signal was received by the Argos Drifter, the instrument filled a bladder with water causing it to sit upright and sink into the sea. The instrument descends to depths of up to 2,800 meters.  It then rises slowly to the surface, all the time collecting data on salinity.  Upon reaching the surface, the instrument transmits all its data to the satellite.  After transmission, the instrument dives again and repeats this process of collecting data for 8 or 9 months.

Plans are to have 3,000 or more of these instruments in the water of all the world’s seas collecting data. Do you think that this is an improvement on having to actually travel to a particular site to collect salinity data?

Personal Log

E-mails from home tell me of balmy warm weather and spring plants coming out in profusion. Conditions are a little different here today.  Hands went back into pockets so that my they would not be made so inflexible by the cold that I could not use a pencil well to keep records when working on the deck this morning.  A winter coat and felt liners in my boots felt wonderful.  Do you think I may have some adjusting to do when I return to springtime in Virginia?

Several of you have asked about stars. It is getting dark rather late here, so I woke up the last couple of nights at 1:00 AM to take a walk on the deck to enjoy the stars.  The weather has been pretty cloudy, so I could only see two stars as I walked around the deck.  You would have appreciated the flat blackness of the sky, however.  I can imagine the stars being quite radiant on a clear night.  I will keep looking and let you know what I see.

Surimi Crab sandwiches were on the menu for lunch today.  Being a big fan of the Chesapeake Blue Crab, I ordered a sandwich and found it delicious.  After lunch, I went back to the kitchen to ask Chief Steward, Russell Van Dyke, to tell me about the Surimi crab. I was surprised to find out that there is no such thing as a Surimi Crab!

Russell was good enough to go down to the freezer to get a bag of Surimi Crab so that I could look at it.  I discovered that the package contained only 20% of a crab product.

Now for the question of the day: What makes up the other 80% of Surimi Crab?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Jim Jenkins, April 26, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jim Jenkins
Onboard NOAA Ship Miller Freeman
April 18 – 30, 2005

Mission: Pollock Survey
Geographical Area: Bering Sea
Date: April 26, 2005

Here you can see the heavy chain that keeps Peggy the Mooring in place.

Here you can see the heavy chain that keeps Peggy the Mooring in place.

Weather Data 

Latitude:  57, 37, 50 North
Longitude: 156, 02, 34
West Visibility:  8 Nautical Miles
Wind Direction: 161 Degrees
Wind Speed:  17 Knots
Sea Wave Height: 4-5 Feet
Swell Wave Height:  4-6 Feet
Sea Water Temperature:  4 Degrees C
Sea Level Pressure: 1001.5
Cloud Cover: Partly Cloudy

Science and Technology Log

I am going to leave out cloud cover today.  Can you look at the data above and fill in the space for cloud cover?  I think you may also be able to know what current weather conditions are for today. Did you get the photos of the mooring, chain and cable which were covered with barnacles, brittle stars, worms, starfish and bivalves?  I thought these were pretty interesting and spent some time yesterday looking carefully at the photos to see what was identifiable.

By the way, the barnacle and associated organisms I am holding up in one of the photos are now in a jar which is wrapped in bubble wrap and inserted in a zip lock bag.  I am thinking that we will put it in a mesh bag and hang it from a tree limb to dry once I get back to school.

Yesterday, after dinner, I spent a long time talking with Mr. Rick Miller a mechanical engineer who has helped to design a lot of the moorings we are deploying or recovering on this cruise. Mr. Miller has an absolute passion for his work and I think he said a lot of things that you are going to find extremely interesting.

The mooring named Peggy was partly designed by Mr. Miller.  Do you remember that the top part of the mooring weighed 5,600 pounds?  You may be surprised to learn that the anchor and the chain holding Peggy to the ocean floor also weigh 5,600 pounds.  Mr. Miller went on to say that winds in the Bering Sea can be quite ferocious.  Long ago, engineers learned that a mooring with too much weight holding it to the ocean floor is not a good thing; the wind will simply blow the mooring over and push it below the water. This would prevent transmission of data that comes from the tower which is supposed to be above the water.

The fact that the anchor and chain for Peggy is the same weight as the surface part makes it possible for the anchor to move slightly when pulled on in a gale.  This keeps the mooring above water and close to the location in which it was dropped!

A second interesting design feature was made more interesting after looking at the barnacle cover on the mooring brought up yesterday. Mr. Miller and his team looked at the history of barnacle cover on submerged instruments in the Bering Sea and calculated that a half ton of barnacles would likely cover the underside of Peggy the Mooring within a 6-month period. To counter this, they painted the bottom of the floating piece with a paint which repels barnacles and sea life that might attach to the surface. What do you think might have happened if the surface had not been treated and the expected half ton of barnacles accumulated?

Chains used by NOAA to anchor moorings are tested so that each link is capable of holding a 42,000-pound weight. This would be strong enough to pick up approximately 20 of the cars that I drive to school each day.  This seems plenty strong to counter the weight of a mooring in even the strongest wind, or current, doesn’t it?

Mr. Miller was very surprised, as were a lot of scientists and engineers, when they came out to pick up moorings anchored with this chain and found them missing.  The breakthrough came when they recovered a link of a chain that was broken!  They took the chain to a metallurgist (a scientist who studies metals).  The metallurgist discovered that the fact that NOAA chains were heat-treated tended to form a strong crystal lattice in the metal.  Hydrogen atoms had a tendency to get trapped in this lattice.  The hydrogen expanded and forced a crack in the metal.  A force much less than 42,000 pounds was then able to break the chain.

The solution: NOAA chains are still tested to be able to hold 42,000 pounds, but they are NOT heat-treated. No problems with broken chains have been noted since this change.

I think Mr. Miller summed up his thoughts about design well with this statement:  “Overall strength is not the answer to all problems.  The key to success is to design to the requirements of the project.”

You may want to spend some time discussing the above statement with your classmates.  I think that there is a lot of wisdom in these words.

A lot of time was spent today doing CTD tests. You probably already know this because all of the pictures sent today related to CTD tests.  The tests took a bit longer than usual because all of the tests were at a depth of about 1,500 meters.

Personal Log

I think that Mr. Miller is an outstanding human being, in addition to being an outstanding engineer and scientist. Let me know what you think after reading the words he spoke in response to my request for a comment to some bright fifth graders in Purcellville, Virginia:

“Encourage them to go into a field for which they have a passion.  I would urge them to go into something that makes them smile when they think about it.  I would encourage going into something with which you can have fun.  Having fun has nothing to do with being easy. Challenges are fun.

Encourage them to keep life fun, and not be too heavy with life.

Remember that there are things equally important as academic endeavors.  Remember to be good stewards of the planet.

Encourage them to think about outcomes which are up to the individual.”

I leave you now to contemplate Mr. Miller’s words.  Have a great evening.  I look forward to talking with you tomorrow.

Question of the day: An instrument descends to a depth of 1,500 Meters at a speed of 50 meters per minute.  How long does it need to travel the 1,500 meters?

Jim Jenkins, April 23, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jim Jenkins
Onboard NOAA Ship Miller Freeman
April 18 – 30, 2005

Mission: Pollock Survey
Geographical Area: Bering Sea
Date: April 23, 2005

Mr. Jenkins helps to retrieve a Calvets net

Mr. Jenkins helps to retrieve a Calvets net

Weather Data 

Latitude:  57, 37, 50 North
Longitude: 156, 02, 34
West Visibility:  8 Nautical Miles
Wind Direction: 161 Degrees
Wind Speed:  17 Knots
Sea Wave Height: 4-5 Feet
Swell Wave Height:  4-6 Feet
Sea Water Temperature:  4 Degrees C
Sea Level Pressure: 1001.5
Cloud Cover: Partly Cloudy

Science and Technology Log

Get the microscopes ready!

Early this morning, I helped out with dropping and pulling up Calvets nets.  These nets collect fish eggs and other small life forms from the sea.  Specimens collected are put in jars, preserved with formaldehyde and sent to labs for analysis.  This is a quantitative sample, meaning that each test is designed to get a good idea of the amount of fish eggs in a specific amount of water.  In this case, the test measures eggs in a 100 cubic meter area. Specimens are filtered through a screen to eliminate most of the water.  Screens are then rinsed to make sure all the netted material goes into the specimen bottle.

You can see how big Peggy the Mooring is with Mr. Jenkins standing in front of it!

You can see how big Peggy the Mooring is with Mr. Jenkins standing in front of it!

Knowledge of the amount of fish eggs present in water can help make predictions about the health of fish populations. It can also help fishermen plan for the future.  This morning we ran an extra test and I collected the contents of the net to bring back to Mountain View Elementary.  There were a lot of copepods and some tiny worms visible to the naked eye in our specimen.  Other portions of the collected specimen were squirming with life, but I could not make them out with just my eye.  Let’s make looking at this specimen under the microscope the first activity that we do when I return to school.

The mooring named Peggy that I wrote you about earlier went into the water this morning. This was a complicated procedure. A couple of hours were spent “building” a chain with all the instruments which hang down to the bottom below this mooring,  All of the instruments needed to be bolted to specific lengths of chain with shackles.  The assembly was done according to a diagram drawn in Seattle.  The total length of all the chains and instruments joined together was 67 meters long.  Instruments used to gather data on temperature, salinity and nitrate levels at various depths were attached.

Once the chain was assembled, the whole assembly was lowered into the ocean as the times that each instrument hit the water were recorded.  One end of the chain was joined with a shackle to the mooring and it is ALMOST ready to go Peggy, the mooring, is so big that it was a complicated job to get it into the water. Two winches, several rope lines, a lot of communication and thinking were necessary to get it into the sea. About an hour after the process began, Peggy touched down lightly in the sea. A big cheer went up from everyone on the deck!

 Rusty and Mr. Jenkins

Rusty and Mr. Jenkins

Finally, the anchor needed to be attached to the bottom of the chain and dropped into the water. In this case, the anchor was not the railway wheels that you have heard about so often. This anchor resembled half of a Tootsie Roll Pop lying round side up and it was bright yellow. The exterior was made of concrete.  A big mooring needs a big anchor!  The anchor for Peggy weighed in at 5,000 pounds! (This is equivalent to 2 and one-half small cars).

How did an anchor this big get from the deck into the water?  Again, it took considerable thinking and communication between deck hands and scientists.  Communication between people on the deck and officers on the bridge was also extremely important so that the ship was in the right location. The cooperation, thinking and communicating paid off. Finally, Peggy the mooring, settled into the sea!

I took many photographs of the process of putting the mooing into the sea as well as a farewell photograph as the ship pulled away. These will be sent to you later today and will be there by Monday when you return to school.

By the way, another small mooring was put in right after lunch.  Now we have an 18hour transit before reaching the site of deployment of the marine mammal listening device brought up by Chris Garsha and Lisa Munger that we discussed earlier.

Personal Log

I hope you guys had a great weekend!

Did you receive the photo of Rusty the ship’s cat? Well, I also sent copy of the photo to my home.  My wife, Chantel, just wrote to advise that our son, Sam, climbed up in her lap when he saw the photo on the computer screen to give a big kiss to both his dad and to Rusty. Needless to say, this was a heartwarming message for me!

Question of the Day: What is at the center of the yellow concrete anchor used for the mooring named Peggy?  (Hint: Reading previous logs might help you with this answer.)  This “easy as candy” question comes to you in honor of the weekend!  (Very Big Grin!)