Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Rivers to Reefs 2012
Mission Information
 

Friday: July 20, 2012
Log Day 5

Rob Herrin; New Holland Core Knowledge Academy,
   Gainesville, GA
Patty Matthews; Richmond Hill Elementary,
   Richmond Hill, GA

Rob Herrin

Kerry Carter, Joseph Denato and Jacqui Toner test their water sample taken at 9.5 meters with the Niskin bottles on the rosette

Kerry Carter, Joseph Denato and Jacqui Toner test their water sample taken at 9.5 meters with the Niskin bottles on the rosette.
(Photo: Cathy Sakas)

What an incredible adventure aboard the good ship R/V Savannah! Although I am no stranger to the water (I grew up minutes from the Gulf Coast), I went trawling for the first time. In addition to a catch of fresh shrimp that everyone devoured, I saw a host of interesting marine life. Some things such as the tiny parasite attached to the sea trout were a first for me. We sifted through sand that was dredged from the bottom of the ocean floor. The thumbnail sized starfish was an incredible sight.

Muster on aft deck during safety drill aboard the RV Savannah, before it got rough

Muster on aft deck during safety drill aboard the RV Savannah, before it got rough.
(Photo: Cathy Sakas)

And then there was the wet lab. It was there that we examined tiny doliolids, copepods, and chaetognaths. Who would ever imagine the importance of these tiny critters? Oh, did I mention we tested the water. Just the simple experience of being out on the open seas with dolphins playing in the surf next to the RV Savannah was exhilarating enough to make the whole trip worthwhile. Well, that is for the majority whose Dramamine worked wonders. R2R has been an incredible experience. Don't miss your opportunity next year.

Top ten reasons to go on R2R:

  1. Crawl in the mud in the Marsh of Hog Hammock (YOLO - you only live once!)
  2. Go on a midnight turtle walk on the beach of Sapelo Island (WOW!) and experience bioluminescence.
  3. Go trawling on the R/V Savannah and feast on fresh caught shrimp.
  4. Canoe to the confluence of the great Ocmulgee and Oconee Rivers that becomes the mighty Altamaha River and celebrate with a picnic lunch on the Tri Rivers Sandbar.
  5. To see if I can survive on less than 30 hours sleep in one week.
  6. Experience High Falls in a blistering rain storm at one of the most beautiful places in Georgia.
  7. Did I say become an expert water tester?
  8. Get to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Georgia Aquarium.
  9. Become an expert water tester!
  10. To see what percent of participants get sea sick on the RV Savannah. According to our survey 37% did!

Chandra Westafer and Joseph Denato assist Marc Frischer with the rosette

Chandra Westafer and Joseph Denato assist Marc Frischer with the rosette.
(Photo: Cathy Sakas)

Patty Matthews

Today we had an early rise on Sapelo Island after a very interesting night listening to Cornelia Walker-Bailey and her stories of growing up on Sapelo. Last night, we also took a late walk on Nanny Goat Beach to look for creatures. We had a pretty good cloud cover but had enough ambient light to enjoy the bioluminescence created when we shook our feet around in the water at the edge of the surf. We did not encounter any turtle tracks but enjoyed looking. As our crew got back to the crossover, the clouds broke and an array of stars appeared overhead...absolutely stunning.

This morning our team of researchers said good-bye to Sapelo Island. We boarded the ferry for the ride back to Darien where our bus with our wonderful, always smiling bus driver was waiting. We breakfasted at McDonald's and were reminded to take our sea sickness medication. As we drove to Skidaway Island, Mike Mahan, told us about the sights on the way, pointing out Armstrong-Atlantic State University.

Melissa Niemi, Kathryn Paxton, Patty Matthews and Chandra Westafer test the waters on the aft deck of the RV Savannah

Melissa Niemi, Kathryn Paxton, Patty Matthews and Chandra Westafer test the waters on the aft deck of the RV Savannah.
(Photo: Cathy Sakas)

As an art teacher I came into this wonderful program feeling very out of my element but extremely excited to be chosen to be part of Rivers to Reefs. I understand that originally the grant only allowed high school science teachers. As an elementary teacher, I have found how very important it is to give our children ownership while they are young. If we can instill the gravity of caring for our environment at a young age then we are engaging them when everything is exciting. One of the quotes I remember from our workshop is to make them realize that "I am powerful" and give them ideas of the types of contributions they can make even at their age - research how many times their family members take showers to encourage them to use less energy (turning off the TV or not standing in front of an open refrigerator), continuing with the recycling program in our school in their home. The list goes on and on.

Back to our day...the weather did not cooperate and we were unable to make it out to Gray's Reef but we continued into the Atlantic to take our first water test. It was very interesting how we were able to get our samples from the bottom of the ocean with the rosette of Niskin bottles. I cannot wait to show my students how this was done with the photos we all have taken. Later we viewed high definition footage of Gray's Reef in the dry lab that taken at the reef just a week and a half earlier on another teacher workshop when the weather cooperated.

Rivers to Reefs Class of 2012 in front of RV Savannah

Rivers to Reefs Class of 2012 in front of RV Savannah.
(Photo: Cathy Sakas)


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