HENRY B. BIGELOW - NOAA SURVEY CRUISE #2

Newport, RI to Georges Bank, Atlantic Ocean

October 9 through October 25, 2019

Georges Bank (formerly known as St. Georges Bank) is a large elevated area of the sea floor between Cape Cod, Massachusetts (United States), and Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia (Canada). It separates the Gulf of Maine from the Atlantic Ocean.

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Tuesday, October 8

Drove to Newport to obtain clearance onto Navy Yard and board the Bigelow for tomorrow’s departure. Due to gale force weather, departure was until Saturday morning.

Dangerous wind speeds.

Dangerous wind speeds.

Threatening wave heights.

Threatening wave heights.

A calmer view of the Cape Cod and Georges Bank area.

A calmer view of the Cape Cod and Georges Bank area.

The Bigelow, Wednesday morning.

The Bigelow, Wednesday morning.


1012 dryL

1012 wetL


1012 sunrise1

1013 sunrise2


1014 weather1

1014 weather2


Living Arrangements

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Staterooms aboard the Bigelow accommodate two scientists with a common head (bathroom) and shower. Each stateroom is equipped with a computer and satellite TV. Sometimes scientists will share a stateroom with a member of the ship's crew. Stateroom assignments are made to minimize traffic due to alternating watches (shifts). When you go on watch, you should take everything you will need with you. A backpack or other bag is something you may want to bring to carry books, an extra set of clothing, MP3 player, etc. You will not be allowed to enter your room while members of the opposite watch are sleeping. Keep in mind that when you are up, others are sleeping, so please keep noise in all passageways to a minimum. An often overlooked problem is noise resulting from items not securely stowed in drawers and closets - the ship's motion will cause loose objects to roll or bang around. Please stow your gear and personal items with this in mind.

Work Schedule

Dry Lab:

Dry Lab:

Wet Lab:

Wet Lab:

“The scientific work schedule consists of two twelve-hour shifts or "watches" conducted around the clock seven days a week. For cruises on the Bigelow and , the "day" watch works from noon to midnight; the "night" watch is on duty from midnight to noon. Sleeping scientists are issued wake-up calls one hour before you are required to be on deck ready to begin work. It is expected and appreciated that you show up on deck ten minutes prior to your official starting time”

The Work On Deck

“The work on deck will vary depending on the mission of your particular cruise. The work routine will be outlined at the pre-cruise meeting. Demonstrations of our electronic data collection system known as FSCS and when appropriate a fish identification workshop will held once underway.

There is a volunteer presentation available on the Ecosystems Surveys Branch website that covers work on deck in great detail. Also, we ask that all first-time sailors familiarize themselves with FSCS, our electronic data collection system, this is covered in the presentation under "The Computer System Operations".

“It may take a while for first-timers to gain familiarity with fish identifications or other assignments. This is expected by the experienced staff, so first-timers should not be overly concerned. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your Watch Chief or the other watch members regarding procedures or fish identification. The motion of the ship during rough weather can make work on deck hazardous - work carefully. Ensure your wear a life jacket and hard hat whenever you are on deck and gear is being deployed”.

“Most of the twelve-hour watch is spent working on your feet. Past volunteers have commented that the work can be fairly intense and strenuous. There will be some "steaming" time between stations, and a chance for the scientists to grab a coffee and a few minutes off their feet. Occasionally, weather delays or long steams will allow for more down time”.

“In the event of extreme weather (high winds, large seas, hurricane) the ship will either come into the nearest port or jog (ride bow into the seas) until the seas calm down. The Captain makes this decision based on conditions, expected duration of the event and proximity of land in order to ensure the safety of personnel and the ship”.

Meals

“You'll be served breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The meals aboard all vessels are excellent. In addition, snacks, fresh fruits, soups, sandwich fixings, and beverages (coffee, tea, juices, milk, cocoa) are available around the clock”.

A few rules regarding the mess area and galley protocol:

  • Foul-weather gear should never be worn in the galley or mess area, not even for a quick cup of coffee.

  • Shirts and proper footwear must be worn at all times in mess area.

  • Caps, hats, swimsuits and tank tops should not be worn in mess area.

  • On all vessels, scientists are expected to clear their dishes and silverware from table after meals.

  • Silverware and plates used for sandwiches, snacks, etc. should not be removed from mess area.

  • Return all coffee and drink cups to the galley when finished.

  • Lingering in the mess area after eating is discourteous to those waiting to eat or to the stewards waiting to clean up”.

What to Bring

“As far as personal clothing is concerned, old or used work clothes should be worn - the work can get messy. The amount of clothing worn will depend upon the season, but temperatures over the open water are usually much cooler than on land, and nights are cooler still. No matter what the season, its best to wear layers. That way you are prepared for a wide range of temperatures. In addition, the wind is always blowing, anything from a light breeze to a real blow. Sweatshirts, Polartec jackets, down vests, wool hats or beanies, baseball caps in summer, thermal underwear and warm socks are common dress items”. For stowing purposes, duffel bags are preferred over bulky suitcases”.

Salt water, sun, and wind combine to create a harsh and drying environment for human skin and hair. Your skin, hands in particular, can become drier than you would expect. Skin lotion, lip balm and hair conditioner should find their way into the sea-bags of those who are sensitive to the elements. On the southern cruises during warm weather, insect repellent is something handy to have. If you are taking any sort of medication or have any medical condition, you should inform the medical officer upon sailing. Be sure to bring along an adequate supply of your medication and/or pain reliever. Don't forget your toothbrush.

 Stress At Sea

Getting a good night's sleep is important to alleviating stress at sea. These tips will help.

  • Use ear plugs or eye shades to eliminate ship's noise and daytime light levels as sleep-robbing stimuli.

  • In rough seas, use your life preserver to "wedge" yourself against your bunk rail to avoid being tossed around.

  • Exercise to dissipate tension and relax muscles, but not immediately before retiring.

  • Pay attention to your diet; proteins (meats, fish, eggs, etc.) are harder to digest and should not be eaten prior to sleep. Carbohydrates (spaghetti, pancakes, oatmeal, etc.) can be more easily digested while sleeping, and make a better pre-sleep meal.

Although the benefits of a well-balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise are well known, it was suggested that people refrain from initiating weight-loss diets or exercise programs at sea (maintenance of established programs is encouraged).

Bring treats from home (e.g. soda, candy, or gum) along to minimize the sense of deprivation of creature comforts that may occur.

Often stress at sea centers around human relations. Two or three weeks at sea working intensely with a small group of people under difficult conditions can often lead to conflict and tension. Communication is often the solution; the Chief Scientist and Watch Chiefs are there to assist and referee. Talk things out rather than letting them fester inside. A final consideration regarding stress at sea: as with seasickness, stressful situations are temporary and are a part of life at sea. Many people find that dealing with and overcoming stress is a stimulating and rewarding part of their sea-going experience.


Work Schedule

The scientific work schedule consists of two twelve-hour shifts or "watches" conducted around the clock seven days a week. For cruises on the Bigelow and , the "day" watch works from noon to midnight; the "night" watch is on duty from midnight to noon. Sleeping scientists are issued wake-up calls one hour before you are required to be on deck ready to begin work. It is expected and appreciated that you show up on deck ten minutes prior to your official starting time.

The Work On Deck

The work on deck will vary depending on the mission of your particular cruise. The work routine will be outlined at the pre-cruise meeting. Demonstrations of our electronic data collection system known as FSCS and when appropriate a fish identification workshop will held once underway.

There is a volunteer presentation available on the Ecosystems Surveys Branch website that covers work on deck in great detail. Also, we ask that all first-time sailors familiarize themselves with FSCS, our electronic data collection system, this is covered in the presentation under "The Computer System Operations".

It may take a while for first-timers to gain familiarity with fish identifications or other assignments. This is expected by the experienced staff, so first-timers should not be overly concerned. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your Watch Chief or the other watch members regarding procedures or fish identification. The motion of the ship during rough weather can make work on deck hazardous - work carefully. Ensure your wear a life jacket and hard hat whenever you are on deck and gear is being deployed.

With little exception on Bigelow cruise, most of the twelve-hour watch is spent working on your feet. Past volunteers have commented that the work can be fairly intense and strenuous. There will be some "steaming" time between stations, and a chance for the scientists to grab a coffee and a few minutes off their feet. Occasionally, weather delays or long steams will allow for more down time.

In the event of extreme weather (high winds, large seas, hurricane) the ship will either come into the nearest port or jog (ride bow into the seas) until the seas calm down. The Captain makes this decision based on conditions, expected duration of the event and proximity of land in order to ensure the safety of personnel and the ship.

Meals

You'll be served breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The meals aboard all vessels are excellent. In addition, snacks, fresh fruits, soups, sandwich fixings, and beverages (coffee, tea, juices, milk, cocoa) are available around the clock.

A few rules regarding the mess area and galley protocol:

  • Foul-weather gear should never be worn in the galley or mess area, not even for a quick cup of coffee.

  • Shirts and proper footwear must be worn at all times in mess area.

  • Caps, hats, swimsuits and tank tops should not be worn in mess area.

  • On all vessels, scientists are expected to clear their dishes and silverware from table after meals.

  • Silverware and plates used for sandwiches, snacks, etc. should not be removed from mess area.

  • Return all coffee and drink cups to the galley when finished.

  • Lingering in the mess area after eating is discourteous to those waiting to eat or to the stewards waiting to clean up.

What to Bring

 Foul-weather gear or rain gear (jacket, bib-overalls and boots) is provided, as are gloves and glove liners. When providing your size, keep in mind that you will have to fit heavy clothing or two pairs of socks under your foul weather gear for warmth during cold weather. The boot sizing varies according to manufacturer. It's always better to go with a size larger if uncertain.

As far as personal clothing is concerned, old or used work clothes should be worn - the work can get messy. The amount of clothing worn will depend upon the season, but temperatures over the open water are usually much cooler than on land, and nights are cooler still. No matter what the season, its best to wear layers. That way you are prepared for a wide range of temperatures. In addition, the wind is always blowing, anything from a light breeze to a real blow. Sweatshirts, Polartec jackets, down vests, wool hats or beanies, baseball caps in summer, thermal underwear and warm socks are common dress items.

Summer cruises tend to be cooler than days on land, but there can also be very hot days depending on the wind and latitude of your cruise. Bear in mind that you will often be working in the sun for hours at a time in the summer, so bring sun block, a hat and sunglasses.

A lot of time is spent climbing in and out of your boots. Slip-on (versus tie) shoes will save you time and energy. For safety reasons, open toed are not to be worn aboard the vessel except in your stateroom. This includes clogs, Crocs, flip-flops or any other variation of open toed shoe.

Hats (wool or baseball) and a long-sleeved shirt must be worn during ship emergency drills.

Each ship has laundry facilities and detergent is provided. Being able to do laundry may help you decide how much clothing to pack. The exception to this is for cruises on the Sharp, where laundry may be limited to one load per week.

For stowing purposes, duffel bags are preferred over bulky suitcases.

Salt water, sun, and wind combine to create a harsh and drying environment for human skin and hair. Your skin, hands in particular, can become drier than you would expect. Skin lotion, lip balm and hair conditioner should find their way into the sea-bags of those who are sensitive to the elements. On the southern cruises during warm weather, insect repellent is something handy to have. If you are taking any sort of medication or have any medical condition, you should inform the medical officer upon sailing. Be sure to bring along an adequate supply of your medication and/or pain reliever. Don't forget your toothbrush.

 Stress At Sea

Getting a good night's sleep is important to alleviating stress at sea. These tips will help.

  • Use ear plugs or eye shades to eliminate ship's noise and daytime light levels as sleep-robbing stimuli.

  • In rough seas, use your life preserver to "wedge" yourself against your bunk rail to avoid being tossed around.

  • Exercise to dissipate tension and relax muscles, but not immediately before retiring.

  • Pay attention to your diet; proteins (meats, fish, eggs, etc.) are harder to digest and should not be eaten prior to sleep. Carbohydrates (spaghetti, pancakes, oatmeal, etc.) can be more easily digested while sleeping, and make a better pre-sleep meal.

Although the benefits of a well-balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise are well known, it was suggested that people refrain from initiating weight-loss diets or exercise programs at sea (maintenance of established programs is encouraged).

Bring treats from home (e.g. soda, candy, or gum) along to minimize the sense of deprivation of creature comforts that may occur.

Often stress at sea centers around human relations. Two or three weeks at sea working intensely with a small group of people under difficult conditions can often lead to conflict and tension. Communication is often the solution; the Chief Scientist and Watch Chiefs are there to assist and referee. Talk things out rather than letting them fester inside. A final consideration regarding stress at sea: as with seasickness, stressful situations are temporary and are a part of life at sea. Many people find that dealing with and overcoming stress is a stimulating and rewarding part of their sea-going experience.