August 14, 2006
My name is Tamara Browning and I teach eighth grade Earth Science in Tenafly Middle School. Tenafly is a suburban town in northern New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from New York City. I have really been looking forward to my first trip out to sea, courtesy of the ARMADA Project. I am sure that this experience of ocean going research will help me develop a better practical understanding of the concepts I teach in my oceanography course.
This research cruise is planned to take three weeks, during which time I will work with scientists who are responsible for surveying both the physical and biological properties of the coastal ocean from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, as far north as the Gulf of Maine and the Canadian border. The cruise consists of two stages both of which start and end at Woods Hole: the first leg will be heading south down to Cape Hatteras and back; the second leg will take us north right up to the Canadian border where we turn around and head back to base at Woods Hole. Woods Hole is a small town situated on the south western tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It is home to several marine research facilities: the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The ship that was to be my home for the next three weeks, the ALBATROSS IV is part of the fleet of ships operated by NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) and was docked in Woods Hole harbor, right behind the Marine Fisheries building. Onboard I met up with the Chief Scientist on this cruise, Jerry Prezioso, who works for the Oceanography Branch of NOAA at the North East Fisheries Science Center in Narragansett, Rhode Island. He is in charge of all the scientific aspects of this cruise. The other scientists on this cruise were Jon Hare (who works at the same NOAA office as Jerry) and Don Cobb who works for the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) also in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Helping the scientists were Barbara Sherman (EPA) and Carly Blair (graduate oceanography student at the University of Rhode Island). There was also another teacher in our group, courtesy of the NOAA teacher at sea program. Karen Myers teaches 7th and 8th grade science at Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, Maryland. She was chaperoning a high school student, Alexa Carey, a senior at Gold Beach High School in Gold Beach, southern Oregon. There was a total of twenty-six people on board the ship, eighteen crew members and eight scientific personnel.
Little did I know when I boarded the ship that morning that we would not be leaving the dock until the next day. While I was settling in and unpacking my belongings in the cabin I shared with Karen and Alexa, the Captain made an announcement informing us that departure would be delayed for 24 hours. It turned out that this delay was the result of a visit by the NOAA fleet inspectors who detected problems in the galley (the ship's kitchen) that would have to be taken care of before the ship could leave. So my first night on board the ALBATROSS IV was spent moored at the dock in Woods Hole.