By Fran Warren
Sixth grade Earth Science Teacher
Callaway Middle School, LaGrange, GA
It's been a rocking morning aboard the Nancy Foster - literally! Seas have been around 4-5 feet and the winds last night ranged from 20 to 25 knots. Today, NOAA gave permission for diving operations to begin again, but unfortunately, the seas were just too rough for our team to dive. Hopefully, we'll be able to get in two dives tomorrow.
Multibeam image of Gray's Reef.
Due to the diving operations being cancelled for the last four days, we finished mapping the area north and east of Gray's reef. According to our chief scientist Greg McFall, the analysis of the bathymetric relief image (the computer-generated picture of the multi-beam data we collected over the last few days) simply shows a couple of new ledges and large sand plains. While the image gave a very detailed picture, I asked Mr. McFall how he was able to make the determination as to what was rock and what was sand. He informed me that he knew because of the characteristics of what he saw. For example, he knew the ledges were made out of solid rock - sand can't form a sharp edge, but instead settles in a gently sloping pattern. Because he could make this determination based on the data in hand, instead of sending divers to this area he instead decided to begin mapping the area immediately south of Gray's Reef. During our transit to the new site, though, the ship made a brief pass over an area of J-Reef, west of Gray's Reef, where an artificial reef made from a sunken ship, new to the area since the last survey, was mapped.
On a bit of a sad note, today we said goodbye to Sarah Fangman and Dave Grenda, who were picked up by one of the Gray's Reef small boats to go back to the mainland. It was a privilege working with both of them, and they taught me a lot during their time on the Nancy Foster.
Sarah and Dave get ready to depart the ship.
A special note from a teacher's perspective.....not only has the cruise on this ship provided me with the opportunity to see science in action, but has also given me a reminder of why I'm in the teaching profession in the first place. I have encountered many fine young men and women, both on the scientific team and on the crew of this ship. Not only have they put the knowledge I teach into use, but they also inspire me to bring out the potential in children I teach today through their character and dedication.