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group posing on Albatross IV On board the Albatross IV, July 2007. Credit: NOAA
crew sorting catch on deck Sorting through a scallop dredge haul on board the Albatross IV, July 2007. Credit: NOAA

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NOAA Ship Albatross IV Legacy: Educational Opportunities

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Many undergraduate and graduate students, high school teachers, and college professors have sailed aboard the Albatross IV, some of them following paths they least expected. Several teachers participated through NOAA's Teacher at Sea Program, others through informal education connections, but all with a love of science, an appreciation of the beauty and force of nature, and awe at what they could learn from the sea.

The Ship Becomes the Teacher

“During a few short weeks in the summer of 2006, I had the great pleasure to sail with you. You taught me a great deal. I marveled at your non-stop engines, that constant source of energy that led us to also work non-stop. You hummed to me during the midnight shift, in between trips of the trawl net to the bottom of the sea. You provided security as we meet the tail-winds of a tropical storm--and I never felt worried--seasick yes, but not worried. And I simply tucked my blanket tightly under my mattress, and was rolled to a fine deep sleep. You helped me gain some semblance of "sea-legs" as I have never venture so far from terra firma. Yet you strongly suggested crackers and dry cereal when the sea rolled a bit too much for this greenhorn.

“You showed me that a real mix of people can come together, carry out specific tasks, and can accomplish something significant. You shared your back deck with me as we gazed upon the rising sun together and we both have smiled at the warmth and beauty. You showed the importance of fisheries research for the greater good of mankind and this is what you taught me the most. I enjoy eating scallops today knowing that your efforts--your tireless efforts have made a scallop dinner possible.”

Joel Jaroch, Teacher-at-Sea, Philadelphia, PA

“Being on the Albatross IV was a powerful sea experience for me! For two weeks in July, 2007, I took part in the North Atlantic scallop assessment survey. My worst fear was getting seasick, but I didn't get sick at all! Sailing across the vast ocean was surreal- could you tell it was my first time out in the middle of the ocean?! The beautiful sunsets, seeing the cruise and container ships sailing within viewing distance, the dolphins jumping around the ship, and even getting to take closeup shots from the bow of a sunfish sailing around a floating, and a dead basking shark. Awesome!

“The crew was so friendly, made you feel welcome from beginning to end, and was willing to answer any questions that I may have asked of them. The food was delicious- better than I eat at home! Cookouts on the stern of the ship were such amazing memories between the yummy food to hanging out (sitting on buckets) with the crew having a great time. The staterooms were comfortable- it was kind of weird watching waves crashing outside the peephole window while taking a shower, though. Last, but not least, the scientific research. I always wanted to be a marine biologist growing up, but switched gears to teach the science in a museum setting. It's so amazing to study ocean life up close and personal than in a classroom. You're in bright yellow waders and boots for 12 hours rummaging through loads of sand dollars, quahogs, and rocks to find the treasure- scallops! We also conducted counts on skates, sea stars, monkfish, and crabs- true predators of the scallops! It was messy and tiring, but lots of fun and I learned so much! I wouldn't trade this experience for anything! Thank you for this opportunity!”

Susie Hill, Education Specialist for Nauticus, Norfolk, VA

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