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

Tuesday: April 29, 2014
Log Day 10

Jamie Morris
NOAA Teacher at Sea
Miami Palmetto Senior High, Miami, FL

NOAA Ship Nancy Foster Open House 2014.

Sarah Fangman (far left) prepares to lead a tour of the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster as NOAA Corps LTJG Jared Halonen (l), Volunteer Marilyn Sobwick (c) and NOAA Teacher at Sea Jamie Morris (r) greet guests.
(Photo: Amy Rath)

Greetings from the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster! My name is Jamie Morris and I am a High School Science teacher in Miami, Florida. I am sailing on the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster as a NOAA Teacher at Sea. The Teacher at Sea program allows current educators to sail on NOAA research expeditions. The goal is for teachers to work alongside scientists to learn about current research and to gain experience with careers in marine science.

Jamie Morris (r) preparing the receiver for deployment as Amy Rath (l) writes a log.

Jamie Morris (r) preparing the receiver for deployment as Amy Rath (l) writes a log.
(Photo: Sarah Fangman)

I have had a wonderful experience sailing in Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS) aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. It has been very exciting to learn about the research projects being conducted at Gray's Reef. The major projects have included fish telemetry, fish acoustics, marine debris surveys, sea turtle surveys, and sea floor mapping. While they were all very interesting, I think that the telemetry project was one of the highlights. I enjoyed bringing the receivers back on board and then identifying the fish that had swam by it. I was most surprised to learn that tiger sharks and Atlantic sturgeon visit Gray's Reef.

Switch used to control the rudder.

Switch used to control the rudder.
(Photo: Jamie Morris)

A very special experience for me was being allowed to steer the ship. Executive Officer LCDR Mark Blankenship and Junior Officer Ensign Conor Maginn allowed me to drive for over an hour. I had to steer it into the wind for a while so that the survey technician could fill the compressor and then I had to steer around some sailboats. I ended my pilot voyage by steering the ship to the site of sonar mapping from the previous night.

It was very difficult. When driving the ship, you don't only rely on sight. There are five different monitors you have to look at plus the rudder position and the compass. The rudder is controlled by a switch. It took me a while to learn how to keep the ship in a specific position. It is not like a car that will keep in a straight line. You constantly need to be move the rudder. Luckily, I had ENS Maginn guiding me. He was an excellent teacher.

Monitor used to control the ship's movements.

Monitor used to control the ship's movements.
(Photo: NOAA)

Driving the ship was the one thing that I told my students I really wanted to do. When I told them that, I thought that there would be a steering wheel. I was very shocked not to find one. Rather, the ship feels like you are controlling a video game. It is controlled using switches, knobs, and joysticks. You move the rudder with a switch that rotates almost 180° .

>Sarah Fangman (l) Amy Rath (c) and Jamie Morris (r).

Sarah Fangman (l) Amy Rath (c) and Jamie Morris (r) aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.
(Photo: NOAA)

This truly has been one of my most interesting and fun experiences. As an educator I am constantly looking for professional development opportunities to help me become a better teacher. I am always searching for new ways to inspire my students. I have learned so much on this trip about the sanctuary, the work being conducted, and the many different careers within NOAA. I cannot wait to be able to share this experience with all my students. I am very honored to have had this opportunity and especially honored to have been able to work with the GRNMS staff, the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster crew, and to have been able to help contribute to the research conducted.


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