Philip Hertzog, August 11, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Philip Hertzog
Onboard NOAA Ship Rainier
July 25 – August 13, 2005

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Aleutian Islands, AK
Date: August 11, 2005

Weather Data from Bridge

Latitude: 58˚ 04.93’ N
Longitude: 152˚ 02.55’ W
Visibility:  10 nm
Wind Direction: 215˚
Wind Speed: 4 kts
Sea Wave Height: 0-1 feet
Sea Water Temperature:  10.6˚ C
Sea Level Pressure: 1025mb
Cloud Cover: 0, no clouds

Science and Technology Log 

We continued our transit towards Homer, but made a stop in Kodiak to pick up fuel.  I woke up with the sun rising in the eastern sky and ran up to the flying bridge to snap these photos of Kodiak Island as we entered the harbor at the Coast Guard Station. We stayed at the station for about four hours and had the opportunity to go on shore to the Station’s store. The RAINIER took on 17,000 gallons of diesel fuel that cost $ 20,000. This replaced the fuel we used for our travel during the past three weeks.  The Coast Guard charged the ship at a rate of $ 1.18 per gallon, but other locations may over $ 2.00 a gallon.

Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 10.49.55 PM

In leaving the Station, we followed navigation buoys out of the harbor.  The buoys located the deep water channel the RAINIER follows to avoid grounding. Two main types of buoys help mariners navigate waters: nuns and cans.  Nuns are red in color and the tops are triangle shaped (like a nun’s cap).  Cans are green with a flat top shaped (like a can): If you are returning to harbor, one keeps the red buoys on the right (starboard) side and the green buoys on the left (port) side of the ship.  Leaving harbor you do the opposite, green on the right and red on the left. Everyone on board has memorized the saying “red right returning” to remember the proper side to pass buoys.

As we left Kodiak Island and headed into open waters, the bridge spots Orca whales on both sides of the ship.  The Orcas traveled in small groups of two to four and surfaced to show their large dorsal fins.  I spotted the large fin of a male and several females nearby.  Orcas follow their mothers and the males tend to be “mamma’s boys.”  The females lead the pods and can live to be over 80 years old.

Personal Log 

The seas were calmer last night and the crew got some rest.  People’s spirits picked up after the large halibut fishing excursion and in anticipation of a free weekend. We had clear blue skies today without a cloud in sight.  We have been lucky to have three weeks without rain in Southwestern Alaska. I spent several hours on the flying bridge watching the scenery pass. Our trip is winding up and will end early tomorrow in Homer, Alaska.  I am starting to think about how much I will miss being on the ship, but I’ll be glad to get back home to the Olympia/Tacoma area in Washington State. Tonight we will stop for a few hours to fish near the Barren Islands.  Stay tuned for my report and my last log entry.

Question of the Day 

We learned about green and red buoys.  What other types of buoys do ship’s navigators need to keep them safe?  Make up your own buoys and come up with a color code and shape.

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