Hello friends and family!
Since last week we have added a couple of interesting activities to the wild world of science on board HEALY. This past week we deployed and recovered two sediment traps. The sediment trap is, essentially, a string of sediment collecting bottles hanging from a string of buoys at various levels in the water column. The trap drifts with the currents for 24 hours and then we come back, retrieve it, and study the marine matter that it collected.
The other new item on the science menu this week is chasing the chlorophyll bloom. We aren’t really ‘chasing’ it, but we are searching for it. At the beginning of spring the phytoplankton (very small floating creatures that use photosynthesis to survive) bloom, creating high concentrations of chlorophyll in the water. Since phytoplankton are at the base of the marine food chain, this is a very exciting time for the ecosystem. The ship has instruments called flourometers that measure the amount of chlorophyll in the water. When the concentrations of chlorophyll get high, the science begins! We take samples of the water column using CTD’s and nets.
At quarters on April 21 ENS Lisa Myatt was recognized for qualifying as Junior Officer of the Deck. MK2 Brandon O’Sullivan received his second Good Conduct Medal and EM1 Hans Shaffer received his fourth Good Conduct Medal. CAPT Sommer took this opportunity to recognize DC3 Daniel Howard, MK1 Nicholas Murphy, and BMC Wayne Kidd as key players in the effective response to the major fuel oil leak that occurred last Saturday. DCC George Marsden was also noted for his excellent welding skills in repairing the leak, and teaching others on board good welding technique.
At quarters on April 24 we recognized SN Braddock for qualifying as Bridge Watchstander, and MST3 Marshal Chaidez and BM3 Patrick Kimmel for qualifying as Crane Operators. FS2 Doug Dull received the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for his time on board HEALY.
Saturday was a big morale day for HEALY. For the morale dinner all of the shorties (anyone shorter than 5’7’’) cooked a tiny meal for the crew. This meal included mini pizzas, baby corn on the cob, tater tots, and strawberry short cake. While we enjoyed our small but satisfying meal, Casino Night was held on the messdeck. The crew got to dress up in their best civilian casino clothes and try to earn chips for the prize auction at the end. Games included poker, roulette, craps and black jack. I should have taken pictures but I was too busy being the DJ!
Updating you as we continue our journey into the icy Bering Sea wilderness,
Your Public Affairs Officer,
LTJG Tasha Thomas