At Sea with the Bold: Eel Grass Blues

Two staff members, Margot Perez-Sullivan and Margaret Ford, joined nine environmental scientists and the crew of EPA’s Ocean Survey Vessel (OSV) Bold to document science and research in action. Read the blog posts by Margot Perez-Sullivan from our San Francisco office to get an in-depth look at some of what’s involved in protecting our waters.

Day 2 (9.6.08):

It’s about 3 p.m. on Saturday and we haven’t left yet. We are waiting on Chris who is due to arrive any minute now. The engineers on board want to leave as soon as possible because the Eureka harbor is glutted with eel grass which is getting sucked into the ship’s cooling intakes and causing overheating problems for the Bold’s engines and other machinery. Rumors spread like wildfires on ships and I’m hearing that we might need to get a couple divers in the water to unclog our cooling intakes before we leave.

Since it was our first full day on the boat, and only a couple of us have been on Bold surveys before, the Captain and crew had a ship orientation for the swabbies or green horns (aka the newbies). We covered safety procedures mostly– which included the steps for a “man overboard” incident. SCARY! Makes me think of the film “Open Water.” If you haven’t seen it, don’t. It’s a true story. Enough said, but I digress…During the orientation we all filled out emergency contact information and got a tour of areas we will be working in and the ground rules, which include wearing life vests and hard hats while on deck during all survey operations.