About the Expedition

On January 21, 2010, scientists from the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division of the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (CRED/PIFSC), along with visiting scientists from the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego State University, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and local agencies in American Samoa, departed on a three month expedition to Johnston Atoll, Howland and Baker Islands, American Samoa, Jarvis Island, Palmyra Atoll, and Kingman Reef aboard the NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai. This is the fifth biennial Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (Pacific RAMP) expedition to American Samoa and the seventh to the Pacific Remote Island Areas. The expedition is sponsored by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) and is divided into three segment sequentially led by Chief Scientists Benjamin Richards, Rusty Brainard and Jamison Gove.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Heading out to sea

by Benjamin Richards

Our date of departure has finally arrived.  We cast off lines at just after 1:00 this afternoon and are now steaming southwest towards Johnston Atoll.  We have a stiff breeze and a following sea which makes the ship roll gently back and forth over the waves.  The past few weeks have been exhausting and that, combined with the steady rocking of the ship has sent most of the science party to their bunks for some much needed rest.  Tomorrow we start in early on our shipboard preparations with an overview and re-familiarization of our small boats at 0800 (8:00 am) followed by our standard suite of safety drills and pre-dive medical exams. Once those are complete, its time to get to work on the final phase of gear preparation before our arrival and Johnston.

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