Sena Norton, July 15, 2004

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Sena Norton
Onboard NOAA Ship Rainier

July 6 – 15, 2004

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area:
Eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska
July 15, 2004

Location: In transit to Kodiak
Latitude: 55 deg 50.440’ N
Longitude: 154 deg 13.187’W
Visibility: 10+ nm
Direction: 060
Wind Speed: 11 kts
Sea wave height: 1-2 ft
Swell wave height: 2-3 ft
Seawater temperature: 12.2 deg C
Sea level pressure: 1011.9 mb
Cloud Cover: 6/8
Weather: Partly cloudy with spots of rain and fog.
Temp 12.8 deg C

Plan of the Day:
Transit to Kodiak, arrival Friday morning 0900 hours.

Science and Technology Log

There is not much science going on during a transit except for cleaning the data that was recovered and doing some analysis. Most everyone is either on watch or in their rack catching up on sleep before or after their watches.

Fresh water is made on board from salt water when the fresh water tanks get low. It is an easy process but like all desalination it takes a large amount of energy. There are not really deep-set conservation issues on board, but they ask for people to use good judgment. Wash full loads of laundry, take quick showers and not waste water in other forms. The water is filtered and the salt is removed, bromide is added to sterilize it and finally it is then run through processors that measure its purity. I have not personally seen a difference in water quality from the water that was pumped on-board and the desalinated water that the ship made. However, I am even more conscious of the water that I use because it is a limiting factor out at sea.

Personal Log

Last night during our transit there was a call from the bridge of whales on the starboard bow. Sure enough 180 degrees and as far as you could see were whales. You could see their blow mist and then ever so often see them breech or dive down and show their flukes. Anytime I see a whale my heart races, I was jumping like a kid during Christmas to see that many whales all collected together. What an experience!

SW region: takes in Kodiak Island, the AK peninsula and the Aleutian Islands. Kodiak was the first Russian capital city and home to many brown bear. Many of the Aleutian Island communities are isolated. The environment is very harsh and limits the plant and animal production. Some of the Aleutian Islands cross the 180 meridian, making AK the most eastern state in the union. They are closer to Tokyo than to Anchorage.

Question of the Day:

How many days could the ship go without making its water?

According to the Chief Engineer, with this many people on-board the storage capacity of the water tanks the RAINIER would be out of water in 5 days. That is why it is important for fresh water to be made from salt water.

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