Hawaii Teacher on Board
The flyer must control the fish up to 3.5 miles below the ship and several miles behind. At the opposite end of the tether from the fish is the ship. It is the navigators responsibility to maneuver the ship so that the fish exactly follows a predetermined line for gathering data. This requires constant monitoring of the position of both the ship and the fish. Properly positioned, the fish follows the predetermined line, scans the ocean floor using side-scanning sonar, and transmits the data digitally back to the ship via fiber optic cable. The sonar operator monitors the many screens which help the flyer keep the fish a safe distance from the bottom and ensures that the sonar, bathymetry, and magnetic data are all being properly recorded for later analysis. The watch leader records the position of the fish along the line and makes note of unusual or interesting features discovered there.
My watch assignment is sonar operator. Imagine sitting for four hours in a cool, dark room illuminated only by computer monitors. Our watch leader is Frank Trusdell and he keeps us all from getting sleepy with lively humor and chocolate covered coffee beans. An ever changing variety of great music completes the watch experience.