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Journals 2006/2007

Elaine Paulishak
Mid Valley Secondary Center, Throop, PA

"Alaska Hydrographic Surveys of the Shumagin Islands"
Research Vessel: NOAA Ship Fairweather
July 17- 26, 2006
Journal Index:
July 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23
       24 - 25 - 26

Additional Resources

July 24, 2006
Anchoring in the Shumagins

I arrived on the bridge about one hour before anchoring, approximately 0600. Again a checklist was in place but shorter this time. One hour prior to anchoring - ascertain position. 15 minutes - Anchor crew ready. 5 minutes - Fix anchor position. zero time - Order to anchor. Ensign French was asked by the CO (Commanding Officer) to take the Fairweather into position for anchoring in Porpoise Harbor, for which he was later commended for his accuracy. The order was given "Let go the starboard anchor, 5 shots." A shot is equal to 90 feet. The chain on the anchor is color coded every 90 feet so that as the anchor was released each shot was evident as the chain spun off the reel. By the way, there are two anchors; only one is used at a time. Also noteworthy, is that, not only is the anchor holding the ship in place but actually an additional length of chain is released to provide an extra force due to friction. The amount of chain used is two to five times the water depth. The Fairweather was in 35 fathoms of water; positioned in Porpoise Harbor 55° 13.155' N and 159° 57.014' W.

Monitors for GPS are attached on the bridge. View full version pop-up.

The anchor and chain was in place before 0800 at which time there was a safety meeting for all personnel involved in the day's activities. I was included because I would be going out on launch 1018 with the survey crew to accumulate data closer to the islands. Fairweather has two survey launches which are designated by numbers. Each twenty nine foot launch has a transponder mounted to the bottom of the hull.

Lowering of the launch took place before we could get onboard. When it was lowered to deck B, we could step across from the ship into the launch. View full version pop-up.

There were a number of survey areas around the Shumagin Islands that needed to be surveyed on this trip. The launch is used for shallower areas often near coastlines where the depth is problematic for the ship to survey. As we reached each area, the transducer could be lowered and the boat was maneuvered to cover the survey track lines.

Me pulling in the CTD. View full version pop-up.

The CTD was lowered to get the readings the conductivity, temperature and depth. After the CTD was pulled up, a cord from the instrument was connected to the computer onboard and the data was transferred electronically.

This was quite an experience, especially if one thinks of being on the ocean in a "motor boat." The seas were not extremely rough but enough to make the ride bumpy and choppy and I enjoyed it. At each location that needed to be surveyed, we established a pattern: lower the transducer, survey the designated area, determine if the data was being recorded correctly by the onboard computer, deploy the CTD, retrieve the CTD, transfer the data from the CTD to the computer, the transducer was retracted and then we ventured to the next area.

Transducer in up position. View full version pop-up.

Meanwhile, we received a radio message from the ship, that they were going to raise the anchor at 1400 and proceed to their next survey area. We would be picked up on the way! It was a cloudy rainy day but we were lucky, the seas were not too bad. As we approached the ship, I heard the CO indicate that the ship had been brought to a stop. Our launch was steered alongside where it was attached to a hoist and we were lifted up to the D deck where we got off. It turned out to be quite a productive day and we even made it back in time for dinner at 1700 hours.

A closer look at the Haystacks as we returned to the ship. View full version pop-up.