Carol Glor West Genesee Middle School, Camillus, NY 13031A teacher for 17 years, Carol Glor currently teaches home and career skills to sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders at West Genesee Middle School in Camillus, New York. The scallop survey was her first hands-on field experience. In an interview in the local newspaper, Eagle Observer, shortly after she returned home, Glor said, “The NOAA scientists really assumed that I was able to take on any of the tasks that they were doing as well. I was definitely an equal. They encouraged me to try everything that they were doing, whether it was setting up computer systems to get ready to launch their dredging equipment or actually piloting the camera system. They were great about letting me have first-hand experience that I could take back and share with my students.” Glor said she would not hesitate to return for another voyage and would recommend this experience to any teacher of any subject area. On July 5, 2014, I embarked on a voyage that would change the way I thought about life at sea. The research vessel Hugh R. Sharp sat at the end of the NFSC dock in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, awaiting a various assortment of science staff, crew and volunteers. As a member of NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program, I was the odd man out. In addition to being a volunteer, I also had the daunting task of absorbing and documenting every aspect of the ship and its research activities for the Teacher at Sea program. An online training program prior to the cruise was very helpful in preparing me for life aboard the ship and how I would write and publish my blog from sea. In reality, most of my learning came from my experiences on the Sharp. There were 20 people aboard as we left the dock and ventured out into stormy seas. Hurricane Arthur moved on and our trek out to Georges Bank was a rough one. Most of the first-time sailors were prepared with seasick patches, which seemed to do the trick. Life on board the ship settled into an easy routine. It seemed that our past lives took a break, and we were able to experience what it must be like to work at sea as the crew who does this for most of the year. Sleeping quarters for the science staff were below deck. Four people shared a cabin that consisted of two sets of bunk beds and a sink. Storage is at a premium, so it is advisable to pack light. Even though the calendar said that it was summer, our location in the northwest Atlantic was jacket-worthy most days. Foul-weather gear, supplied by NOAA, is worn whenever working on deck. You never know when a wave will spill over the side of the deck and soak your feet. It took most of the day to travel out to the middle of nowhere to begin our research. During the transit, we practiced safety drills, received our schedule of duties, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. The entire ship operated on a schedule; the crew rotated shifts on a different time frame than the science staff. My assigned day shift began at noon and ended at midnight, while another shift began at midnight and ended at noon. Meals were scheduled so that everyone ate in shifts to eliminate any gaps in research activities. Because research was the reason for our journey, each member of the team was expected to perform as many of the science tasks as they were taught. Some were pure grunt work, but others involved manipulating multi-million dollar equipment through rough waters, unpredictable currents, and seafloor terrain. It was surprising how much we could accomplish within our 12-hour shifts during our time at sea. The ship was divided into several areas designed to meet the needs of the research that was being conducted. The dry lab on the main deck contained lots of computers and cables attached to sensors, cameras, and winches in other areas of the ship. Prior to the first leg of the scallop survey, the scientists designed and set up all of the equipment, which they tested and monitored throughout the survey. Any malfunctions can cause loss of data. The wet lab, located outside of the main deck, was where all of the sorting and data collection took place. It was important to be ready for action when working in this lab. During a dredging event, all hands were needed to sort the catch according to species and to weigh and measure all of the sea life samples under investigation. This was messy, smelly work that pushed the limits of squeamishness for most landlubbers. The simple task of donning industrial-strength rubber gloves turned me from a wimp into a warrior by the end of our journey. I still won’t pick up a Barndoor Skate Dipturus laevis—but to be honest, it was bigger than me! As we made our journey back to civilization, I was asked whether I would like to return for a future cruise. It’s hard to say no when I considered all that I had accomplished during the trip. I met some incredible marine biologists who are passionate about the fishing industry and willingly give up time with their families to conduct important research. The crew members made it easy to feel at home with their concern for safety and comfort needs. The chef provided delicious meals to rival any restaurant, and the galley was always open for snacks and beverages. I am more determined now to promote the study of ocean science as part of my home and career skills curriculum. The future of our existence on land depends on the protection of our seas. I feel honored that I have done my small part to help keep our oceans alive for future generations. Click here to read about another NOAA adventure!