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Journals 2004/2005

Linda Hoffman
Palms Middle School, West Los Angeles, California

"Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance,
and Status of Humpback whales (SPLASH)"

NOAA Ship McArthur
July 28 - August 28, 2004
Journal Index:
July 28 - 29 - 30 - 31
August 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11

          12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19

          21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28

July 29, 2004

This morning I was up bright and early for breakfast 6:30-7:30am. The breakfast was great and I immediately made friends with the cook, Ray. I gave him a sailor "cook" key chain as a thank you for his help and kindness. We were heading out to sea, and this was his first time onboard the ship also.

I met Steve Barry one of the officers onboard. We talked about the number of people onboard. He told me that there were thirty-seven people onboard. There were five officers, fifteen scientists and twelve civilian crewmembers. Officers are under the Department of Commerce not the Coastguard or Navy. He also went over with me the parts of the ship: Aft to Stern, Forward to Bow, Right (facing bow) Portside, and left side, starboard. He told me how officers are basically on duty 24 hours a day, and the crew 8 hours. They're given housing stipends, and or housing/food provided when not on the ship. After this cruise, the McArthur II will be in dry dock for five months. It costs $14,000.00 a day to take this ship out. This trip alone is costing one million dollars. Here is a picture of me besides the great Mc Arthur II.

Photo: Protected Resources Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, California.

I have been luckily enough to come on the SPLASH CRUISE during leg two. Below is a map of the track lines of the various legs. The leg I am sailing on will take us within one hundred miles of the Russian Coastline. We will travel along the Aleutian Islands in open waters far from land. This has been the most unexplored area for Humpback whales.

Dr. Barlow called for a meeting of all scientists, including me, in the dry lab at 10am. He then went over the SPLASH objectives, how to use the email system, how to use the 400 zoom digital cameras, the tremendous binoculars on the fly deck, how to determine the ratical and bearing, and how to put the data into the computer. The training was not completed until 4pm. By that time all the information in my head was spinning. How will I ever learn to do all this? Jay then gave us some homework. He wanted us to look up pictures of all the common whales and pinnipeds we will see in these waters and practice drawing them. This would make us better observers when we do spot them.

Later that night I was supposed to go into town with Barbara, Jays' wife, but she forgot. Instead I had a great dinner onboard ship and I surprised Jay by photo-identifying approximately 25 photos.

Photo: Protected Resources Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, California.

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