Reef and Fishery Assessment of Navassa Island National Wildlife Refuge

On April 23, 2009 scientists from the NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami Florida (SEFSC) departed from San Juan, Puerto Rico aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. Their destination: the Navassa National Wildlife Refuge. Along with the NOAA scientists are researchers from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (UM/RSMAS), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the Director of the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM), an NGO based in Haiti.
This work is funded by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Each afternoon between 1630-1645 the dive teams return for the evening. The small boats come alongside the Nancy Foster and the scientific field parties climb up the ladder onto the ship. After everyone is safely aboard, the boatswains (pronounced bosuns, the persons in charge of a boat- the literal translation meaning ‘boat servant’), lower the crane cable to the coxswains to hoist the small boats aboard the ship (please see morning operations blog for more detail). After the chief boatswain Greg Walker gives the all clear, the scientists unload their gear and rinse it with fresh water. The coxswains rinse, refuel, make any mechanical adjustments, and prepare the boats for the following day's operations. Jack Javech and Steve Matthews fill tanks. For our Navassa dive operations we are breathing an enriched oxygen gas mixture called Nitrox. Normal air is approximately 21% oxygen, our Nitrox mixture is approximately 36% oxygen. Since the divers are making repetitive dives to between 90 and 100 feet, breathing Nitrox instead of air increases the amount of time we can spend at depth and also decreases the amount of time we have to spend at the surface between dives. We are able to do our jobs much more safely and efficiently. After showers and dinner we assemble in one of the ships labs for an evening debriefings by chief scientist Dr. Margaret Miller and diving supervisor Dave McClellan. During this meeting Dave conducts a post-dive safety check, Margaret discusses the days mission and plans for the next day are made. The meeting also gives us an opportunity to share stories and check out the day's photos.


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