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You are here: /main/research expeditions/August/September 2007/Departing

Day 1 - Departing Pearl Harbor

by Carlie Wiener

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Casting Off
NOAA Ship Hi‘ialakai unties its last rope. Credit: Derek Smith.

As the Hi‘ialakai pulls out of Pearl Harbor, we are finally on our way out to sea. I am surprised by the dramatic rolling of the ship on such a calm day, and find it very challenging to gain balance.

Leaving Pearl Harbor
NOAA Ship Hi‘ialakai leaves Pearl Harbor. Credit Carlie Wiener.

You can definitely pick out the experts who are used to living aboard a ship, as they are the only ones walking a straight line. After a few hours out of port we leave Oahu in the distance and head out for open ocean.  The deep royal blue of the Pacific seems to extend forever, contrasting against the light blue skies.

Laving Honolulu
Looking at O'ahu. Credit Carlie Wiener.

The scientists are eagerly getting settled into their living quarters, setting up their laptops and equipment in the dry lab. There is a lot of dive equipment which gets neatly tucked away in the dive lockers. The chief scientist on the boat, pulls in the team for a welcome and informs them of our tentative plan. We are heading straight for Pearl and Hermes Atoll to begin our adventure, as many of the scientists are eager to get in the field. 

Steve Carl and team setting up GPS gear.
Setting up the GPS units. Credit Kelvin Gorospe.

Some of Steve Carl’s team sets up a GPS transmitter on the top deck. This is so the unit can get a head start in locating itself in the Pacific Ocean. It does this by reading its site off various satellites, from four different units in order to triangulate or map the location. As evening falls the buzz from our departure begins to mellow as people settle into the rolling lull of the boat. In the evening, the boat deck seems to be the popular place to be. With a magnificent sunset in view, the ocean appears so calm, glass like almost. I am very thankful for these calm seas as I am not sure if I could handle any more movement in the boat.

Boobie on mast at sunset.
The Hi‘ialakai deck at sunset, boobie on mast. Credit Carlie Wiener.

Once the sun sets, the stars and moon begin to shine, I am surprised by how bright the moonlight is. The night is fairly clear with a nice, light breeze gracing the ship deck. Luckily, one of the scientists on board is familiar with some of the constellations, giving us some background on the stars and their placement in the sky. As I climb up to the top bunk of my bed I look forward to the next day’s activities, and eagerly await the adventures at sea. From the Hi‘ialakai a hui hou!

PI Metting in the dry lab
Scientists meet in the dry lab. Credit Carlie Wiener.

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