NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
May 14 – May 24, 2012
Mission: Fish Tagging, Acoustic Receiver maintenance/ deployment
Geographical Area: Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Weather Data from the Bridge: Sunny and warm, waves 3 to 4 feet, currently 74 degrees
Science and Technology Log
On Tuesday, May 22, science operations on board Nancy Foster resumed. A boat from Gray’s Reef brought more divers. Shannon McAteer is from “Team Ocean”, a volunteer S.C.U.B.A. organization. Michelle Johnston is a research ecologist at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in Galveston, Texas. Kelly Gleason is a maritime archeologist in Hawaii. Randy Rudd, named “Volunteer of the Year” for the entire National Marine Sanctuary Program, has been on board from the beginning is also a “Team Ocean” diver. Diver Greg McFall the Research Coordinator/Deputy Superintendent of Gray’s Reef will perform surgery to implant transmitters in the fish. Greg has been doing the underwater filming throughout the trip. Also, assisting in the dives are Nancy Foster NOAA Corps Officers LT Josh Slater and ENS Jamie Park. Chief Scientist, Sarah Fangman is coordinating all the dive projects. Debbie Meeks is the Financial and Informational Technology Coordinator and webmaster for Gray’s Reef. She has been continually working on the mission website throughout the cruise.
The plan of the day is to work on implanting transmitters in fish. The divers have put large cages on the bottom with food to lure the fish inside. The divers will reach inside the cage to grab the fish with a net. One diver will hold the fish “belly up”, while another diver performs surgery. The surgery involves a small cut, insertion of the transmitter, and then a couple of stitches. The fish is then released. Doing the surgery underwater greatly increases the survival chances of the fish. Divers have spotted several tagged fish swimming happily about Gray’s Reef.
Yesterday, while I was on “steel beach”, there was an “abandon ship” drill. The signal for this drill is six short blasts followed by one long blast. I had to hurry to my room to get my life-preserver and Immersion Suit (Gumby Suit). I had to report to Muster Station Three. The person in charge of my group was ENS Jamie Park. If we had to abandon ship, we would have to deploy a life raft which is in a large cylinder. The cylinder would be thrown overboard. We would have to get in our Gumby Suits quickly, throw the cylinder overboard, let the cylinder open into a life raft and jump overboard to get in life raft. It was only a drill… However, drills are important to help people get prepared in an emergency situation.
The crew has to watch videos to prepare them for emergencies. I watched an excellent video in the mess hall with the crew. The video showed how to prepare for an emergency at sea in event that you would have to abandon the ship.
Meanwhile, I will be spending my last day on board. Today is hamburger Wednesday. There will be burgers for lunch. On Thursday, we will dock in downtown Savannah, Georgia. On Friday, I will be assisting the scientists and crew with an “Open House”. People will be able to tour the Foster. On Saturday I will depart Georgia and head to Chicago. I look forward to sharing my adventures with my family, friends, students, and colleagues. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a “NOAA Teacher At Sea”. I will never forget my time with the wonderful crew of the Foster and scientists which I have shared my experiences.
S.A.R.T.- Search and Rescue Transponder
PFD- Portable Floatation Device
H.E.L.P. Position- Heat Escape Loss Position
SCUBA- Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus