Sea State: 6 foot swells
Sea Surface Temperature: 43 F
A Bouncy Ride
With 6 foot swells, it is too rough to deploy the CTDA research tool that is submerged in the water to measure conductivity (salinity), temperature, and depth. and other equipment. We finished our zig-zag course collecting surface water and current data from the Bering Strait early this morning. The zig-zag took us on a course parallel to the swells, causing us to roll from side to side. Now we are on a slightly more stable course, heading for the relative shelter of the Norton Sound. I took the opportunity to do some birdwatching from the wheelhouse and saw horned puffins, tufted puffins, short-tailed shearwaters, immature gulls, and crested auklets. Others passed the time by catching up on data entry, watching Shrek, reading, and riding the exercise bike.
Who’s Who on the Norseman II
After graduating from high school, Tony wanted to do something that no one in his family had ever done before. When he learned about working as a mariner, he decided to try it out. Ten years later, here he is. Tony is the engineer and deck boss. He operates the crane, works on deck, cares for the generators, provides an interpretive dance after every safety meeting, and more.
His marine career began on the Mississippi River where he worked on a tugboat pushing 50 barges downriver at a time. He followed this with work in the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway in his home state of Florida, and came up to Alaska this year. He has pushed barges full of corn, chemicals, lima beans, and gravel through narrow drawbridges and helped to dredge shipping lanes.
For Kerry, participating in the research on board the Norseman II feels like coming a full circle. For ten years he studied Alexandrium in the Gulf of Maine at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Each year he returned to the same locations in the Gulf of Maine to track how many cysts were in the cyst beds. Scientists using computer modeling were then able to use the numbers he calculated as a basic starting point to predict blooms, an important strategy for protecting human health. Now he is using the same techniques up here in the Arctic.
He stepped away from the harmful algae world when his daughter was born. Over the years, he stayed in touch with Kate Hubbard, his office mate in Woods Hole. He has always tried to go where his curiosity leads him, and when he grew interested in returning to marine science, he reached out to her for advice. This networking led to a very unique job: Kate mailed him a microscope, plankton samples, and a refrigerator, and now Kerry identifies and counts plankton for the State of Florida from his home in San Diego.
While working at Woods Hole, Kerry enjoyed mentoring and training interns and visiting scientists. Curious to explore that further, last year he began substitute teaching at a local school. He enjoys this balance of caring for his children, studying harmful algal blooms, and teaching. He likes to do work that he cares about and it is important to him to have a sense of fulfilling a purpose.