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Journals 2008/2009

John Karavias
Walt Whitman H.S. Huntington Station, NY

"Estimation of Primary Productivity and Particle Export Rates as a Function of Phytoplankton Community Structure in the Bering Sea"
United States Coast Guard Cutter Healy, Icebreaker
July 3 - July 28, 2008
Journal Index:
July 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11
       12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19
       20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27
       28 - 29 - 30 - 31

July 31, 2008
Pulling In, Flying Home, Looking Back

The last few days of the trip were mostly packing our equipment and taking a few last samples. The one day I did not wear my steel tip boots (today) I dropped a 45 lb. weight on my little toe. Let's just say it is not that little anymore. 75% of the scientists were in packing mode the collecting of data slowed significantly. Being said, that is still a lot of sample collection. The ship made over 210 CTD deployments, three sediment trap deployments, 12 mooring deployments, dozens of Mocness and Calvet deployments and so much more. It will take months if not a year or longer to analyze all the data collected. And then these men and women will come back and do it all over again.

I expressed an interest to go in the small boat over the trip but it just didn't work out. The Coast Guard surprised me but making me a member of the team needed to moor up the boat in Dutch Harbor as a line handler. That task required me to go in the small boat and be launched over the side of the boat. The Healy is 420 feet. Healy 1 is 21 feet (I think). Going down the side of the Healy was awe inspiring. It took about an hour to tie up the Healy. Then I realized I had been standing on land! It was the first time since July 3. I was surprised I did not feel any residual motion from the ship.

Getting ready to go in the small boat
On my way with the crew to finally touch land for the first time in 28 days

Monkey in the middle. I had no idea what I was doing when tying up the Healy.

That night we returned to port any member of the Coast Guard who was off duty and all the scientists wet out to enjoy their return to land. We all had a great time and a lot of laughs. Dutch Harbor is a "different" place to have a cocktail in. I will leave it at that.

Leaving for the airport was upsetting. I was not able to properly say so long to many of my new friends who I had just shared a life experience with. I have all the contact information of the scientists but not of the crew of the Healy so Hans, Tom, Kurt, Senior Williams, Huneycut, Mertin, Run-a Mock Chuck, Leo, Yuckley, Von Kauffman, Gregg, Wilson, XO Bateman, Captain Sommer, Mary, and all those I inadvertently forgot, safe sailing and thank you for everything. Sorry for spelling your names wrong also guys!

At the airport things were normal for Dutch. A full day of flights was cancelled due to a volcano erupting 60 miles west of us. Ash was the concern. The day I did get out, the guy in front of me got into a fistfight with the guy in front of him. When I took off my backpack and squared up, Pat was curious what I was doing. I was just preparing myself if they turned around. They did not and were not allowed on the plane because they were intoxicated. Because the flight was heavy, we had to stop and refuel in Cold Bay. By the time I got to Anchorage, I missed my connection to Minn. Then I had an extended 3-hour layover. When I got to Detroit I saw my flight was cancelled to JFK. That was at 7:30 am. I was able to rebook to a flight to LaGuardia airport at 5:00 pm. We had more weather delays. We boarded at 6 and then the engine overheated. We took off at 9:00 pm. Then we were in a holding pattern in the air over Ohio. We landed at 11:00 pm. By a miracle I got my luggage!! I got home at Midnight. I left the Healy 32 hours prior to that! I should have been home at noon. Only fitting that my month-long adventure ended in another adventure.

Looking Back
It is a few weeks now and I have had a good mount of time to reflect on my trip. I am an average man. A family man. I enjoy the sciences, biology/marine biology the most. I never believed I would be granted an experience like this. I have vacationed in Europe for pleasure as well as Canada and the Caribbean. This was my first trip where I can say I traveled to Alaska and the Bering Sea and accomplished something other than relaxed.

I witnessed global climate change first hand. I spoke to scientists who have done the research first hand on the anthropogenic effects on global climate change. I did my part in the research. I probably have 15 or more new lessons to incorporate into my curriculum not including the 10-minute segways and introductions into current lessons. I am sure when I delve in to my school year this year I will have more like 30 new lessons from this experiences!

I have a new attitude with my niche regarding global climate change. I learned from Roy Arezzo that we as consumers have the greatest power with our buying potential. I am looking more closely at packaging when I buy products. I drink coffee in a mug, not a Styrofoam cup. I have been eating bison meat and asked my butcher to try to get ostrich. I recycle all that my township will pick up, which thankfully is a lot! I am not a hypocrite. I know I can do better. I can eat less beef, car-pool, totally boycott toys for my children because of all the plastic in the packaging but that is so hard to do. There are many things I can do but there are many things we can do. I was told by a scientist on the Healy that the scientists can only make the suggestions as to what will happen and what to do about it. It is the government who makes the policy and the people who have to follow it.

It is my job in life as a father and a teacher to follow the policy of the earth. I believe that policy is the leave the earth to our children the same way we got it or in a better way. The Armada Project has opened my eyes to that policy. I am eternally thankful for the opportunity.

-John Karavias, ARMADA Master Teacher '08-09

See ya later. Thanks for the safe trip WAGB20 Healy.