The NOAA Ship Rainier S 221 has completed the 2012 field season as of October 24th, 2012. The crew worked hard, spending 179 days away from their home-port in Newport, OR. They worked on three survey projects using multi-beam sonar: Chirikof Island, the Shumagin Islands, and North Kodiak. These survey areas consist of a combined 604.55 square nautical miles and 9038.86 linear nautical miles, an all time best for the Rainier.
|2012 Field Season Project Areas - Image Credit: Google Earth|
The first project of the season took place at Chirikof Island, a small, desolate island just 60 miles SW of Kodiak Island. The Rainier spent 41 days in total surveying Chirikof. There were some challenges to this project, such as weather and cows. With few places to hide from the weather, since most of the island is exposed, the crew took on great hardships gathering good data. Another difficulty faced was avoiding the feral cows that populate the island. The feral Chirikof cows are known to be aggressive, so the crew made sure to take caution when going ashore to set up, maintain, and tear down the HORCON station. The entire survey area mapped consists of 431.266 square nautical miles which took 5098.13 linear nautical miles of survey lines to cover.
|Final Survey Area of Chirikof Island - Image Credit: Rainier Survey Department|
|Feral Cow at Chirikof Island - Photo Credit: Christiane Reiser|
Our second project area took place in the Shumagin Islands, a grouping of islands along the Aleutian Chain. The Rainier spent 20 days in total, mapping out 113.54 square nautical miles of seafloor. This took 2349.59 linear nautical miles of survey lines to complete. Weather was the biggest challenge we faced while surveying in this area. Luckily there were a few good places for us to hide and wait out the storms, one of which was Northeast Harbor.
|Completed Survey area of the Shumagin Islands - Image Credit: Rainier Survey Department|
|Winds up to 70 knots in Northeast Harbor - Photo Credit: Christiane Reiser|
Our final project of the 2012 field season was located in North Kodiak. The Rainier spent 19 days in total mapping 59.74 square nautical miles of seafloor, which took 1591.14 linear nautical miles of survey lines to cover. The weather was much more agreeable in this survey area. The big challenge we faced here was time, as it was the last project of the season and the snow, cold, and storms are getting closer. The Rainier finished surveying the last project on October 24th, 2012 which is the same day she weighed anchor for Newport.
|North Kodiak Sunset - Photo Credit: Christiane Reiser|
|One of the launches out surveying - Photo Credit: Christiane Reiser|
|NOAA Ship Rainier S 221 - 2012 Alaskan Field Season - Photo Credit: Christiane Reiser|
|2012 Rainier Crew - Photo Credit: CDR Rick Brennan|
I will remain on board the Rainier for only another 11 days. After that, I return home to Denver so I can start preparing for the Spring semester. My reason for staying on a little while longer is to help finish the descriptive report for my sheet assignment. We are moving right along with this project, going through all the details of our data, making sure it is presentable.
This internship gave me more possibilities of learning hydrography than I could have ever learned anywhere else. The skills I picked up on the ship will help me with any future career. I learned everything from running a sonar, to processing data, to even getting to know many different kinds of people in a very confined space, over a long period of time. It has been an amazing five and a half months. I am of course looking forward to coming home, but I will miss the ship life, the job, and the crew. This is most definitely a tough job, and not for just anyone. You have to have a great sense of adventure, an ability to get along with anyone, hopefully not get seasick easily, and have a lot of self-motivation, but the end result is pretty cool. The NOAA Ship Rainier's mission to help and protect mariners from uncharted waters is admirable and a great addition to the marine community. Without the hard work these people do, there would be many more disasters at sea. This just goes to show how important organizations like NOAA really are.
I have high hopes of returning to NOAA as a full-time employee (not just an intern) in the future. Before my graduation next year, I will start exploring my options in the scientific community. Some of my bigger career aspirations include doing research in Antarctica and the Arctic, work on a research vessel studying weather and climate, study ocean acidification, etc. I also want to help promote science and women in science. I think NOAA will be a great vehicle in getting me to those places.
My hopes for the next year will be to finish school so I can move right into the workforce after the Summer of 2013. Although I wanted to do another internship aboard a NOAA ship, I think it will be more beneficial to finish my degree and go straight to work.
The connections I have made with this internship are priceless and will hopefully help further my education and career. What an amazing opportunity I found when I called the NOAA Ship Rainier for a Summer internship. I would like to say a big thank you to the Rainier and all her crew for taking me in and showing me the ropes; or better yet the "lines". This will be my last blog post as my internship has come to a close. Thank you all for following me on my adventure...I hope you enjoyed it!
Greetings from Newport, OR.