Thomas Ward, September 12, 2010

NOAA Teacher At Sea: Thomas Ward
Aboard NOAA Ship Miller Freeman

Mission: Fisheries Surveys
Geographical Area of Cruise: Eastern Bering Sea
Date: September 12, 2010

Getting Started

The cruise and scientific research seems to be finally going forward.  We are currently in the Eastern Bering Sea.  You can find the exact location of the ship by clicking on the following link http://shiptracker.noaa.gov/default.aspx  then going to the drop down menu “Pick a Ship” and clicking on the “Miller Freeman”  That long list that you see are ships in the NOAA Fleet. While looking at the map you will see data about the ship’s location, speed and other interesting things.  One bit of data that is given is the current water depth.  The water depth here is relatively shallow because we are on the continental shelf. Currently, we are in 44 meters of water, about half a football field. If you look at the map and notice just below, or south of the islands that we are near, the blue shading becomes a little darker. This is called shaded relief bethymetry and indicates that the water gets deeper.  This is where the continental slope is.  The cartographer, map designers, could have used isolines to show this change.  Another bit of data at this site is water and air temperature.  I want to remind you that if you come upon a unit of measurement that you do not understand or can not relate to, such as air temperature given in degrees Celsius, you can use Google to convert it.  For example, the current air temperature is 9.15 degrees Celsius.  That is difficult for me to relate to, do I need a hoodie or not, so if you type “convert 9.15 c to f” Google will tell you that it is 48.47 degrees Fahrenheit.  A little chilly but not too bad.  In fact check out how close the air temperature is to the water temperature. Also, putting “define” before a word in Google will define a word that you may not understand. While reading this or looking at any of the other data you can always ask me a question through this blog.

The scientific research is primarily based around conducting an ichthyoplankton (remember Google) and juvenile fish survey in the waters around the Alaskan Peninsula, and the Bering Sea middle shelf.  The locations of the 113 sampling stations are predetermined and the ship’s crew is responsible for getting the scientific crew to these locations.  The sampling stations are found using latitude and longitude.  We are currently at 5510.825N, 16343.513W.  We are at 55 degrees north, 163 degrees west.  The numbers that follow are minutes measured to an accuracy of thousandths.  If you noticed the data on the ship tracker web site is a little different and not as precise as the on board data.  The negative in front of the longitude indicates west.  Degrees and minutes are used and not seconds.

NOAA Ship Miller Freeman
NOAA Ship Miller Freeman

This adventure for me has started out pretty rough but now that we are collecting data and doing science it is getting very exciting. The phrase “getting your sea legs” which refers to your body becoming accustomed to the movement of the ship is very true.  On the other hand I had never heard of “land sickness” before.  When we first went out the seas were relatively flat, 3-4 feet, and I felt just a little off (my students would say I am alot off, but that is OK) and it took me a few days to adjust.  Then we had to go back to port and while back on land I felt ill.  The Earth would appear to move and I would have to hold on to something to help reality take hold.  After talking to a few people they said this is common.  Everyone on board is really nice and the food is plentiful and delicious.  I really want to get this posted so I can have something for everyone to read so I will end it here.  I will post again soon so stay tuned, pictures of our catches and a description of how we perform the sampling soon to come.

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!