Research Cruise - Weather Forecasting by WXchick7
Sorry that I haven't posted anything in awhile; school got pretty busy.  I just got back Saturday from my research cruise aboard the R/V Weatherbird II.  We left Wednesday afternoon from St. Pete and docked on Saturday afternoon in Key West.  So, yay, my first trip south of Lake Okeechobee!

Here is the Weatherbird, my home for four days:
We did lots of science and yet still had to have ENORMOUS amounts of free time, and were often bored.  The major activities we had while on board were:

- Continuous weather monitoring
- Buoy/ADCP deployment (see link below)
- CTD deployment
- Water testing using the YSI
- Use of the side-scan sonar
- Using the Aanderaa to measure currents
- SST measurements using the "dipstick"
- Precipitation measurements

The most tedious thing to do was the continuous weather monitoring, which we measured every 30 minutes.  We also didn't set up a very organized shift schedule, so every night we had to scramble to make sure we would have 2 people up to do the weather and that everyone else would be up to take care of their respective tasks.

Our basic route was this:
We left out of St. Pete; went parallel to the coast; dropped the buoy somewhere between St. Pete and Venice; continued south and did CTD casts near Sanibel Island; then headed west to 84W longitude, stopping every half longitude (82.5, 83, 83.5, 84) to do a CTD cast as well as look for oil (which we didn't see); then we headed south towards the Dry Tortugas, also doing CTD casts every longitude line again; then we went swimming and snorkeling in the Dry Tortugas, as well as touring Fort Jefferson National Park; then we headed east to Key West, stopping every two hours to do a CTD cast. 

Because of the whole oil spill thing, we got publicity for potentially doing work concerning the spill (we were going to deploy drifters to detect oil if we were able to reach a high-probability area, but did not get far enough west for the captain's preference).  So the buoy deployment was big news in Tampa, and they had a piece on tv and such.  Here is the link:

Overall, it was quite a fun experience and I could write pages, upon pages about all the occurences on the cruise.  So if you have any questions/comments or want to know more, shoot me an email, or message me on Facebook.  Have a great day.

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