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You are here: /main/research expeditions/July 2007/Journal Day 1

Journal - Day 1

by Keeley Belva

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Today, 7 July 2007, is Day 1 of a 25-day research cruise to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument where researchers from the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology will complete a variety of studies to learn more about the Monument and its inhabitants. 

Leaving Honolulu
Leaving Honolulu with Diamond Head in the distance. Credit: Keeley Belva

There are 18 people on the scientific team that will focus on five different research studies to gather more information on a wide range of Monument resources—fish & invertebrate genetics, algae assessment, predator tagging, and deep-sea habitat documentation, and habitat characterization.  Additionally, I am working with Big Island videographer Ziggy Livnat, who is filming footage of these researchers in order to make an educational video about NOAA’s research in the Monument.

So far today has been busy for all of us trying to settle into ship life.  Even as I type this now, we are adapting to the rocking of the ship, quickly realizing that all of our gear and equipment—cameras, dive gear, computers, and even pens—needs to be secured and we’re trying to find our “sea legs” as we walk up and down the halls resembling balls in a pin ball machine. 

It’s my first time on a large research vessel, and I had no idea what to expect.  Would I get seasick?  (So far, so good.)  What should I pack? (Still not sure if I brought the right stuff.)  What will I do?  (Writing this is my first task.) 

But as we arrived on the ship, I realized that there were other people who were new at this too.  The first thing we did was the orientation briefing.  Here we learned about the layout and procedures of the ship, and most importantly where the mess hall was.  Then as the lines were cast away and we began to depart Pearl Harbor, we were on our own to get set up.

This morning’s first tasks included finding our bunks, trying to figure out how to get to from one level to another, and meeting everyone aboard.  Just as we were starting to get our bearings and begin our work, the ship’s alarm sounds—we’re having a fire drill.  As we all get to our designated meeting location, several crewmembers dressed in fire-retardant, yellow suits go rushing by.  Learning that the “fire” had been put out we all head back to whatever it was we were doing before, when we hear another, different-sounding alarm followed by the announcement that this was an “abandon ship” drill.  Grabbing our safety gear, including giant orange “snow suits” and life vests, we head to the lifeboats.  Despite all of the daily life normalcy that is found on board, these drills offer a reminder of the need to be mindful of our actions at all times—and that we definitely aren’t in Honolulu anymore.


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Coral bleaching

Galapagos shark

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