PHOTO OF THE DAY
Although Sara's voyage may be over, her name will be taking a long journey on this weather buoy.
Drifting Buoy Down
At 1300 today, the Kennedy became 77 lbs. lighter. Rob Niemeyer, our NOAA representative on the Kennedy, released his first drifter buoy. These drifting buoys are part of a program called the Global Drifter Program or GDP and they are a subsection of the Global Ocean Observing System or GOOS.
Click on the link to visit the GDP website.
These videos will provide a quick introduction to the GDP program.
Click on the link to visit the GOOS website.
The GOOS program is an overview of all the drifting buoys that have been deployed and are currently sending in reports. There are several different types of drifters. Drifter sensors collect data such as sea surface temperature, barometric pressure, salinity, wind, and other properties about the ocean and air around it. The information is sent to satellites. This information is then used for weather forecasting and climate research.
These drifters have been in use since 1979, so it was really cool to see how far the design has come since then.
The cadets completed paperwork to track the buoy.
This tag lets us know the weight of the buoy. Now you know why it was a two-man job to get it over the side of the ship.
Cadets enjoyed signing the drifter buoy.
The tracking number for this drifter buoy is circled in red.
The drifter buoy had quite a sendoff as cadets and crew gathered on deck. Rob Neimeyer keeled in front of the group.
I was still a little confused on what the drifter itself does, so Rob gave me a packet that explained it. The packet said that you could picture the drifter as a “message in a bottle”. The two parts that make up the drifter are the surface float and the drogue. The surface float can be anywhere from 30.5-40 cm in diameter and contains transmitters, battery packs, and sensors to measure water temperature and other things. The drogue is also called a sea anchor and it does basically that. It helps reduce the impact of the wind and waves on the drifter itself. Before Rob sent the buoy overboard, he allowed cadets to sign it and take some photographs. He also gave us the tracking number that comes with the buoys, so that we can track it once we get home. We will be able to see where the buoy is and possibly even some of the reports that it has sent it.
Once it was time to set the buoy overboard, 4/C Ethan Johnson from TAMMA and 4/C Kyle Burke (Hanson, MA), were up for the job. With the guidance of Mate Kelly, the cadets sent it overboard but not before everyone took pictures. Rob told me that this is one of his favorite parts of Sea Term because everyone likes to get involved with this and it’s something fun that cadets look forward to. He is planning on sending off two more buoys before the end of Sea Term.
The Final Drill
A weekly tradition for our Sea Term, the boat drills, came to the end today. While the Coast Guard thinks that these drills are very important, which they are, cadets think they are time consuming, which is also true. For the duration of Sea Term, we had a boat drill every week. The first few boat drills I found that the 4/C and myself were very nervous and got lost on the way to our boats. The divisions that were providing for fire and for the boats, wouldn’t always show up. In plain words, it was kind of a mess because no one knew where they were going. For today’s boat drill I was in the aft Nav Lab where all of the muster sheets are. Captain Rozak, Captain Stevenson, and LCDR Pinero, as well as a handful of cadets and Ensgins, were also in there. I watched as the cadets started bringing muster sheets from lifeboats and the life rafts. I noticed how LCDR Pinero saw that there was a mark next to each and every name, indicating whether the person was present or not. Then the muster sheets were handed to Captain Stevenson and she wrote down the names that were circled, meaning they were absent. Once all of the muster sheets were in, that’s where the fun started.
Captain Stevenson called names from each muster sheet and the cadets were in charge of cross referencing it to the watch bills. I thought that this would take close to a half hour but in reality, today’s boat drill took less than 20 minutes. From the Coast Guard drills during alongside week to today’s drill, the cadets and COMCAD members have really stepped it up and made the entire process look flawless. But nonetheless, everyone is thankful to be done with the boat drills.
Captain Ed Rozak & Captain Elizabeth Stevenson
Two of the people who make Sea Term possible but yet manage to stay behind the scenes, are Captain Rozak and Captain Stevenson. I had the chance to talk to them and get a little more information of the behind the scenes and see how their Sea Term was going. I started by asking them how they got involved with MMA in the beginning and I was surprised by the answer. Captain Rozak said that he was in the process of retiring from the Marine Corps and was stationed in Newport, Rhode Island at the Naval War College. It was there he met a Navy Captain who was a former MMA grad. After learning about MMA, Captain Rozak decided to apply for a Company Officer position in 1st Company. That was in 1999 and the rest is history. Captain Stevenson grew up with some knowledge of MMA because her father is a graduate of the Academy. While she never thought that she would attend herself, she graduated as an MSEP major and then worked as a health & safety officer. While she was working in Boston, she always felt a pull back to the Academy. That led her to apply for a position in the Admissions Department. Both Captain Rozak and Captain Stevenson started at entry level positions and have worked their way up through the chain of command to where they are today.
Captain Stevenson & Captain Rozak make a great team.
Captain Rozak is on his 19th cruise and this is Captain Stevenson’s 4th or 5th year being on the entire Sea Term. I asked them about the difference in COMCAD’s role on and off the ship. Captain Rozak mentioned that the biggest difference is really just the accountability of cadets and ensuring their safe training.
Captain Stevenson said that the biggest difference was that on the ship you really only focus on the MENG and MTRA majors but at school you have the other majors as well. Both agreed that they enjoy getting to know cadets on a personal level while on the ship, because you’re in a small area so you see the same cadets each day. This gives them the chance to interact with them while at school they might not have the chance to.
I asked which port was their favorite and Captain Rozak immediately said St. John while Captain Stevenson replied with “whatever one the cadets come back safe from.” Both agreed that they wish the ship would visit Havana, Cuba and they’re hopeful that one day it will.
Lastly, I asked what they were most excited for when they went home and their answers were what I can only assume are majority of the cadets’ answers as well, see their pets. As we were finishing our conversation, Captain Rozak included that he felt the way we run our Sea Term is very different than any other maritime academy. We have multiple components that make everything run smoothly and without one of these components, Sea Term would not be possible.
“It’s a team effort and personally, I think everyone, from cadets to Chartwells, has done and will continue to do a great job from here on out.” Captain Rozak added.
I’m heading to Massachusetts Friday for an event in Boston Sunday ... I was surprised to see that you coming in on Saturday? I’m glad I can go see you all come in! My daughter is Monica Chilcot ... do you have a rough ETA and will it be posted somewhere?