Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef Expedition 2014
Mission Information
 

Saturday: April 19, 2014
Log Day 1

Amy Rath
Outreach and Communications Coordinator
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary

Tour groups gather to tour the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster at dock in Savannah, GA.

Tour groups gather to tour the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster at dock on West River Street in Savannah, GA.
(Photo: Amy Rath)

Despite rainy day weather, our annual Open House event brought over 100 guests to tour the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster on Saturday, April 19.

From the time we set up our welcome tent in the morning, we were approached by inquisitive passersby clad in rain-gear and full of questions and genuine interest in learning who we are, where we are going, and what we are doing on-board the ship. As a matter of fact, the 187 foot long research vessel attracted attention from locals and tourists from the time it approached the dock with watchful spectators observing the operation, eager to climb aboard.

ENS Carmen DeFazio explains the ship's signal flags.

(L-R), ENS Carmen DeFazio explains the ship's signal flags during a tour of the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.
(Photo: Amy Rath)

Gray's Reef staff met guests at the ship's gangplank and provided a short lesson in safety before boarding the ship. Tour groups were then led to the ship's bridge where they were enthusiastically greeted by ENS Carmen DeFazio. ENS DeFazio provided a descriptive explanation of the ship's navigational systems and capabilities and of the duties and responsibilities in her role as a NOAA Corps Commissioned Officer.

From the bridge, guests were led down to the lower decks and into the ship for a peek into the living quarters and short visit to the mess deck for cookies, compliments of the ship's generous steward Lito Llena. In the dry lab, survey technician Samantha Martin introduced guests to some of the ship's technology, described her role among the crew, and interpreted our method of mapping habitat using multibeam sonar. In the wet lab other research projects were described, including sea turtle identifications, lionfish surveys and removal, fish and habitat dive surveys, and the tagging of fish with acoustic transmitters and underwater servicing of acoustic receivers.

Senior Survey Technician Samantha Martin (l) explans the use of sonar during habitat mapping.

Senior Survey Technician Samantha Martin (l) explans the use of sonar during habitat mapping.
(Photo: Amy Rahth)

Tours were very well received and guests complimented our efforts and expressed gratitude to us for providing not only the information but also the experience. While this event is centered on the ship, our annual Open House provides opportunities for us to inform guests about Gray's Reef, National Marine Sanctuaries, NOAA, and the research that we conduct to protect our valuable marine resources. Guests departed the ship with a new or renewed awareness of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

From there, the tour traveled down three flights of stairs to the main deck, where operations and the scientific objectives for the Gray's Reef mission were described.

Tour groups move carefully around the ship during Open House.

Tour groups move carefully around the ship during Open House.
(Photo: Amy Rath)

A slideshow of photographs taken underwater at Gray's Reef ran on a large screen television in the lab so visitors could get a sense of what the sanctuary looks like seventy feet below the ocean waves. The final stop on the tour was the wet lab, where guides described how samples collected in the sanctuary are processed for further investigation.

The NOAA Ship Nancy Foster is an oceanographic research vessel that requires a crew of 22 members to run 24-hour operations, 7 days per week, and can accommodate up to 15 science members. On-board there are 6 Commissioned Officers, 3 Engineer Officers, a team of Able Seamen, Survey Technicians, Stewards, and a trained medical officer needed for occasional situations. We are grateful to the crew for welcoming our community on-board and for sharing with us the joy of their jobs.


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