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You are here: /main/research expeditions/ 2005 RAMP/8_28_05 The Transit

8/28/05, The Transit Continues
by Kelly Gleason, Maritime Archaeology

Preparing numbered tags for coral specimens
Coral biologist Iliana Baums works in the NOAA Ship Hi`ialakai's wet lab to prepare numbered tags for coral specimens.

Today is our last full day of transit before we arrive at our first destination in the NWHI: French Frigate Shoals. For the scientists, this is the last day to check dive gear, make sure data sheets are in order, and make sure that all field gear has been tested and is ready to go for the first day. There are dozens of items for the scientists to remember to bring on a research cruise. In addition to a bag full of dive gear, most scientists bring with them tons of waterproof paper, an assortment of measuring devices, floats, underwater cameras, and various other types of specialized gear to get the job done. Inevitably, there are items that don’t work, or have been left behind, and days like this are spent figuring out how to fix those kinds of issues.

Lab preparation.

Shark biololgists Yannis Papastamatiou (L) and Carl Meyer (R) prepare acoustic tag receiver mooring lines with assistance from Matt Craig (center).

On transit days before the field work has begun, the wet lab is usually buzzing with preparation activity and today was no different. Coral biologists Jen Salerno and Iliana Baums were busy setting up field gear so that they will be able to mark and document the specific corals that they will be collecting for laboratories back in Honolulu. Yannis Papastamatiou and Carl Meyer were setting up their long lines and gear for bringing in the sharks and large jacks that they will be tagging over the course of the trip.

Safety drill.

Scientific staff and crew try on PFDs (personal flotation devices)
during an abandon ship drill. L to R: chamber operator Jim Bostick,
medical officer Mike Futch, Iliana Baums, Cheryl Squair, Greta Aeby.

The only thing that interrupts the pace of preparation is the mandatory drills that usually take place on a transit day. A fire drill and abandon ship drill gave us the opportunity to go over all the scenarios that we hope will never happen while we are out at sea. Safety is a very real issue in a remote location like the NWHI, and the ship also has personal EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) for us to take with us when we dive.
Everyone is settling in and ready to make the NOAA Ship Hi’ialakai their laboratory, office and home for the next five weeks.

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