Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef Expedition 2012
Mission Information
 

Tuesday: May 15, 2012
Log Day 1

Debbie Campbell
NOAA Teacher at Sea

NOAA Ship Nancy Foster at Dock in Charleston

NOAA Ship Nancy Foster at Dock in Charleston
(Photo: Debbie Campbell)

On Sunday, May 13th, I flew from Chicago to Charleston, SC. I was picked up by a crew member of the ship. The ship is located on a base, so I had to get a special I.D. tag to allow me to get on base. The Nancy Foster was docked near a Coast Guard vessel, and a gigantic Navel ship.

Departing Charleston, SC harbor

Departing Charleston, SC harbor
(Photo: Debbie Meeks)

As I boarded, I entered heavy doors, and descended a metal stairway. I was lead to my room. My room consists of two bunk beds which are very narrow. There are a few cabinets for my belongings. I will be sharing this room with three other women scientists. Next, I opened the door to the "head" which has two bathrooms and three showers. There are bars in toilets and showers so you can hang on when the ship is moving. The kitchen is right across from my room. There are coffee, juice, water, and ice machines. The cabinets are stocked with cereal, snacks, peanut butter, and bread. There is an ice cream freezer. You can help yourself to snack items. Two cooks run the kitchen. The menus are posted for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yesterday, I had delicious turkey soup with rice and a salad. For dinner I had teriyaki Cornish hen, asparagus, and rice. There was pecan pie for dessert. Trust me, the food is great!!! Food scraps are kept separate from other garbage, because it is used as fish food. I am sure there will be lots of fish coming by the ship to sample.

Divers reviewing chart of planned dive sites

Divers reviewing chart of planned dive sites
Photo: Debbie Campbell

The crew members live on board the ship. There are flat screen T.V.'s, a workout room, a lounge area, and a "steel beach" on the top deck. Yesterday evening I took my blanket to sleep on a chair on the "steel beach". The sky was filled with stars, and I fell asleep. A while later, one of the crew woke me up. Lighting was spotted in the distance. I am not a fan of lightning so I went to my room. The ship is like a giant waterbed rocking and rolling gently. My small bed has a bar to keep me from falling off. I am really trying to get my "sea legs", but in the mean time I continue to hang on so I don't fall over.

Divers load tanks on small boats prior to launch

Divers load tanks on small boats prior to launch
(Photo: Debbie Meeks)

The scientists and divers arrived on the ship yesterday afternoon. They brought an incredible amount of equipment with them. The crane on board the ship loaded dive tanks, cages, and crates of equipment on the deck. Sarah Fangman, chief scientist held a meeting yesterday to introduce members of the science party. Each person introduced themselves, and told everyone what their part in this mission would be. There are eight members of the science party including myself, Teacher At Sea. I introduced myself as a seventh grade teacher from Locke Elementary School who left 132 seventh graders behind to experience this adventure. I told our science party that I prepared my students by showing them pictures of the ship, Teacher At Sea website, and the Gray's Reef website. My students will be reading my blogs. School will still be in session when I return, so I will be able to share my photos and stories with them.

Debbie Campbell descends ladder to small boat

Debbie Campbell descends ladder to small boat
(Photo: Debbie Meeks)

This morning the science team met with the operations officer of the ship, Lt. Joshua Slater. Lt. Slater went over all the safety aspects of our upcoming mission which will begin this afternoon. We will be deploying boats off the ship to take the divers to Gray's Reef. "Nemo" will be piloting a small craft with two divers and myself. "Nemo" will drive the boat to an exact Global Positioning System (GPS) location. The acoustical receivers all have exact locations, so divers can find them more easily. The divers will be retrieving the acoustical receivers to bring them on board the small craft. The receivers can then be moved to other places within Gray's Reef.

NOAA Logo

leaving site Indicates a link leaves the web site; Please view our Link Disclaimer for more information | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Revised by Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary Webmaster | User Survey
National Marine Sanctuaries | National Ocean Service | National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration | U S Dept of Commerce
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service