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 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