David Madden: Waves – Dolphins, Flying Fish, Sea to Sky, August 19, 2019

NOAA Teacher at Sea

David Madden

Aboard NOAA Ship Pisces

July 15-29, 2019 

Mission: South East Fisheries Independent Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Atlantic Ocean, SE US continental shelf ranging from Cape Hatteras, NC (35°30’ N, 75°19’W) to St. Lucie Inlet, FL (27°00’N, 75°59’W)

Date: August 19, 2019

WAVES: Aboard NOAA Ship Pisces: Dolphins, Flying Fish (video has no dialogue, only music)

This video was captured during my NOAA Teacher at Sea cruise aboard NOAA Ship Pisces. During the cruise I spent lots of time outside on the deck gazing into the blue seascape. Here’s some of the footage I collected.

Susan Brown: Making Waves, September 10, 2017

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Susan Brown

Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II

September 3 – 15, 2017

Mission: Snapper/Longline Shark Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date: September 10, 2017

Weather Data from the Bridge

Latitude: 29 24.526 N
Longitude: 094 22.228W
Sea wave height: 1 meter
Wind Speed: 16 knots
Wind Direction: 30.8 degrees
Air Temperature: 26.1 Celsius
Barometric Pressure: 1017.55 mb
Sky: clear



Science and Technology Log

We have been experiencing some rocking and rolling out here due to the hurricanes that are occurring to the east and the west of us as we sit in the relatively calmer waters off the coast of Texas and Louisiana. We have experienced 6 – 8 foot waves so far on our survey and the ship is being maneuvered to try and find the calmest spots so we can continue to do our work.

So what makes a wave a wave?

Check out this link to learn what makes a wave a wave!




Waves are part of the experience. Below is a poem written by the scientists and crew of the Oregon II on an earlier survey. Here are a few vocabulary words that you may not know to help you interpret the poem.



Crest – the highest part of the wave
Trough – the lowest part of a wave
Muster – to call together
Haul back – the process of bringing in the longline
Bridge – where one controls the ship

Here is a poem written by some of the scientist and crew of the Oregon II about rough waters on an earlier expedition.



The crew knows he’s on the job,
when the Ship starts to bob.

They know he’s at the wheel,
‘cause on the hip she does heel.

On the Deck the haul-back team does muster,
while on the Bridge he robs sleep with the bow thruster.

You’ll always wake up in a funk,
‘cause you’ve been rolled out of your bunk.

Sometimes you may wonder if he can
find the trough in a mug or a coffee can.

On this Ship you can’t even shave,
‘cause you never know when she’ll hit another wave.

When the boat’s wallowing like a stuck pig,
you know he’s on the Bridge doing a jig.

For the rail you will grab,
when the boat does its crab.

When you’re eating off your neighbor’s plate,
you know he’s your Shipmate.

If you can’t hold your food down and your stomach is off,
you know your riding in the trough.

This poem is to all boat drivers, because they are put in the position of going from point A to point B no matter the sea state.

by Scientists & Crew of Oregon II Cruise 1102

Personal Log

We have had calm days where the water is like glass and other days with wind waves of up to 8 feet! I have come to appreciate the numerous handrails available all around the ship as well as learning to make sure my drawers and cabinets are secured. Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night with your drawers opening and closing! Also taking a shower in these conditions are quite the adventure in itself. The last few nights have felt like I am sleeping in a swinging hammock. There are also some nice features on the ship to keep items in place.



Here are some photos of the things I appreciate when the boat is rocking and rolling —  handrails that are located everywhere, hooks that keep doors open and holes in the picnic table to keep your drink from spilling!

Did You Know?

An oceanographic front is an area where two distinct water masses meet. Here is the one that we encountered on this last station. Why are these fronts important to birds and marine life? Extra credit for this bonus question!

See if you can see the two different colors of water

Question of the day:

Do waves transmit water or energy?

(hint: watch the video link https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/wavesinocean.html)

Kirk Beckendorf, July 18, 2004

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kirk Beckendorf
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown

July 4 – 23, 2004

Mission: New England Air Quality Study (NEAQS)
Geographical Area:
Northwest Atlantic Ocean
July 18, 2004

Weather Data from the Bridge
Time 9:15 ET
Latitude- 44 01.29 N
Longitude- 67 13.5 W
Air Temperature 14 degrees C
Water Temperature 13 degrees C
Air Pressure 1015 Millibars
Wind Direction at surface Southeast
Wind Speed at surface 10 MPH
Clouds Cloudy

Daily Log

What do you do if the weather gets rough? (Besides get seasick and throw up.)

The weather forecast for tonight calls for strong winds and 15 foot waves (the ceiling in your bedroom is probably 8 feet high). The crew has been making sure that nothing is loose on the ship. Everything needs to be strapped, tied or chained down. If the ship is pitching and rolling a lot, you don’t want things flying around, otherwise someone could get hurt or something could get broken. We have also been instructed to make sure none of our own supplies are loose.

I spent some time visiting with Chris, a member of the deck crew. He has been on the BROWN for a little over two years. Before that he was working on commercial ships. He said the roughest seas he has sailed in weren’t that big, only about 20 foot waves. When the waves are closer together, he says it isn’t as rough as compared to when they are further apart. Chris said, as the ship climbs up a wave and then beaks over the top, if there is not another wave to land on, the ship drops down into the trough below. This makes for a lot rougher ride than when the waves are close together, and the ship can land on the next wave. After this cruise, he will be transferring to a higher position on another NOAA ship. Eventually, he would like to work back on shore for a fire department. A lot of the safety training he has received from being a deck hand on the ship would fit right into a fire department. As part of the deck crew’s training, he has received EMT (Emergency Medical Technician); fast boat and other rescue training and firefighting training. When your ship is at sea for a month or so at a time, 300 days a year, the crew really needs to be self sufficient. You are your on fire department and medical team; there may not be anyone close by to call.

Drew Hamilton now works at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab in Seattle, but before that he worked on NOAA ships for 15 years. He said his first cruise with NOAA was in the middle of the Sargasso Sea in hurricane with 30 foot seas. Ten years ago he was on a ship delivering supplies to scientists working in Antarctica. For 4 days the ship fought its way through high winds and 30 foot waves. Almost everyone was sea sick, even the experienced sailors. It was a rough way to start his sailing career.

Sallie Whitlow, a scientist from the University of New Hampshire, has her instruments on top of a large container van on the bow of the ship. Once during a storm she was working on the equipment. When the waves started breaking over the bow, she decided it was time to go inside.

At this evening’s science meeting the new weather report shows that the storm is not going to be as intense as was previously thought. The rough seas probably won’t happen. Bummer, I was looking forward to an exciting ride.

Questions of the Day

What town and state was the ship from, that was lost in “The Perfect Storm”?

Where are we located compared to where that storm occurred?

Where is the Sargasso Sea?