August 19, 2009
Latitude: N 38° 05' 472"
Today began with a storm. Luckily we missed the strongest part of the storm and the rain was light. Today, during the 6am to 6pm watch we did 5 stations. Not as many jellyfish this day but we did get one sample with a large quantity of jellies. These are not the type of jellies found on the beach. They don't sting and are very tiny. However they like to eat the zooplankton we are trying to catch. The primary types of zooplankton we want are copepods.
I also found out the reason for the baby bongo tows. The organisms caught in the baby bongo are used for DNA research. The quantity does not matter but samples for DNA studies have to be preserved in ethanol because formaldehyde, which is used to preserve the bongo net specimens, will break down the bonds holding the DNA together.
Now to the non-work related activities of the day. We passed quite a few boats today. Many are fishing boats, probably after blue fin tuna. I was watching from the bridge and could see 5 of the fishing boats but when I looked at the radar I could see there were up to 12 boats near us. The radar also showed the projected paths of the boats so we could see if there was any danger of collision. We also passed, earlier in the day, the container ship Hanjin at a distance of about a mile. It was interesting to watch its approach and realize how close a mile is at sea.
Also the black flies of New Jersey arrived on the ship today. Their numbers grew as the day progressed. What was amazing about this is the fact that we were at least 30 miles off shore at the time. They stay low to the deck so their primary targets are shins and ankles but they have an interesting tactic. They land on socks and pants legs and then bite through the material. They rarely bite bare skin but boy does the bite hurt. I finally put on my foul weather pants to protect my legs.
The last activities I did before going to bed were to sit on the bow and watch a dolphin play alongside the ship. I talked with Mark the soon to be Executive Officer who is new to the East Coast having been stationed on the West Coast prior to this assignment. Then I talked with the current "XO" Monty and learned the point system for direction on a ship. For example abeam is 90 degrees from the bridge and 45 degrees is called broad. So an object 45 degrees to the right of the bridge is broad starboard. If I got it right.
Finally I think I am about to get used to the ships rocking. It is constant. I have not gotten seasick. Yet.
A side note. Latitude and longitude are recorded when I send journal each morning. If you go on the Internet you should be able to find the route of the ship using ship tracker. It is up to you to figure out how to find it my students.