Expedition Journal

The Argonaut Mailbox

In addition to posting our daily journals, our Internet connection allowed us to correspond with friends and family, our schools back home, and other JASON students. Below is a sampling of some of the mail we've received and answered. Additional correspondence can be found in the JASON Student Discussion Group.

Greetings from the Nettesheim Family

Date: Mon, 22 Jan 96 22:34:13 UT
From: The Nettesheim Family 
Subject: Congratulations to Jason VII Argonauts

Congratulations to all the JASON Project Argonauts on your endevour.  
It sounds like your all making the most of your time in the Florida Bay.  
We've been reading your Expedition Journal, sounds great.  We also saw 
all your pictures and biographies here on the Internet. Take lots of 
pictures to share your experiences with those of use watching from 
the COLD NORTH!!!  Most of all have fun and learn all you can. We'll 
see you on the Web Danielle!

Goodbye from Wisconsin.

Katie Inderbitzen sends her best wishes

Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 19:59:15 -0500
To: argonaut@jason.org
From: Katie inderbitzen
Subject: To the Argos...

Dear Argos; (care of Todd, the fabulous coordinaut)

I just wanted to drop you guys a line and let you know that you're doing a 
great job with your journals.  I think the kids are really enjoying them.  
Some of your descriptions about the production team are so right.  It IS 
hard to be natural: for instance, when you're trying to take a lava sample 
and you have a boom or camera near your head!  However, the team can be 
really goofy-especially on down time.  They give the best back rubs!  

Well guys, you're doing a great job.  Keep up the good work! Have fun, eat, 
and most importantly, SLEEP!  Believe me--from going on three hours of it, 
per night, for an entire week was not enjoyable!  However, the experience 
counteracts this.  Have a great time the rest of this week!  =|:-)

Katie Inderbitzen
Hudson, NH
JASON VI Student Argonaut

Susan Botts keeps in touch with her class

>Date: Thu, 25 Jan 96 03:44:28 UT
>From: Manatee Team 
>Subject: Botts
>Hi, Mrs. Botts
>We wrote you twice and we haven't heard from you...but we know you are very busy.
>We will save some of our questions for when you return.  We did want to know if 
>that was a picture of you standing in front of the airplane.
>We are looking forward to seeing the finished map--we all didn't know how much work 
>went into making a map! 
>Hope you are having fun!
>From all your students.

Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 23:42:16 -0500
To: jason-stu@gsn.org
From: argonaut@jason.org (JASON Project Argonauts)
Subject: Re: JASON-STU> Botts

Dear Manatee Team,

No that was not me in front of the airplane. Jim Anderson and Safia Rawoot
were the student argonauts that flew over the bay. The map is being finished
by students and will be on the Internet soon. I hope that you have learned
something from following along on the expedition. I know that it is not the
same as being here but at least you can see the power of the computer and
how much a part of the expedition, the way we communicate and your entire
future depends on technology. When I was in middle school we did not have
computers. I would have been able to follow my teacher via computer or even
have known how to turn on the computer. Many of you are very comfortable
with technology even though you are still very young! I have been busy but I
think about you everyday and I have been  trying to think of all of the labs
that we can do to show you everything that I have learned. See you on Monday.

Ms. Botts 

JASON Project Argonauts
January Research Expedition, January 20-27, 1996
JASON Project homepage: http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/JASON.html

Brysen reports to the schools back home

Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 20:49:13 -0500
To: jason-stu@gsn.org
From: argonaut@jason.org (JASON Project Argonauts)
Subject: JASON-STU> Hello LaJunta High and Middle Schools

Hello La Junta High Scool and Middle School,

I know you've been waiting all week to hear from me (I hope!).  I've been
really busy doing everything from snorkeling in the clear waters of Florida
Bay to working in laboratories occupied by the state of Florida.

        The first thing we did this week was learn how to snorkel.  Our
group went out to the Bay, which is right outside our dorm, and testeed on
varios things which we need to be able to do to snorkel. 
        Other things we did were take water samles from varios places around
the Bay, and then test them either on the boat or in the lab.

Today I learned how to identify many diiferent species of fish and then sort
them into their groups of classification.  We also snorkeled near Rabbit
Key, which is between the Florida coast and the Keys.  Tommorow I'll be
catching spiny lobster for the whole day, so I'll be pretty busy.

        I need to go identify some more fish in the" Wet Lab".

                                        Brysen Mustain

JASON Project Argonauts
January Research Expedition, January 20-27, 1996
JASON Project homepage: http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/JASON.html

>Date: Tue, 23 Jan 96 22:44:06 UT
>From: Columbian Elementary La Junta Colorado
>Subject: Re: Sea Cucumber
>What is a sea cucumber?  Is it a plant or an animal?  What does shark's blood 
>look like?  Why are you testing the shark's blood?
>How deep have you gone in the water?
>Please say Hi to Brysen for us!!

Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 20:49:05 -0500
To: jason-stu@gsn.org
From: argonaut@jason.org (JASON Project Argonauts)
Subject: JASON-STU> Sea Cucumbers and Sharks from Brysen

Dear Columbian Students,
        It's been a great so far here in Sunny Florida!
I 'm replying to your message about Sea Cucumbers and Sharks.  I can answer
your question about Sea Cucumbers and Sharks. The sea cucumbers are
organisms that look like inflated caterpillars.  They feed on the bottom of
the ocean floor, and are related to sand dollars.  The other day  picked one
up out of the tank and it squirted water all over me.  I think it's part of
their defense.  Well I have to start sorting the fish we caught today.

                        Brysen Mustain

JASON Project Argonauts
January Research Expedition, January 20-27, 1996
JASON Project homepage: http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/JASON.html

>Date: Thu, 25 Jan 96 22:02:51 UT
>From: La Junta Middle School 
>Subject: Re: JASON-STU> Hello LaJunta High and Middle Schools
>Brysen,  What are spiny lobsters?  What kind of fish are you separating?
>Thanks for writing to us. How big is the bay?      

Dear La Junta Middle School students,

        I'm glad I got your e-mail address.  Now I can reply to you directly.

        Yesterday we went out to Florida Bay, which is about 1200-1800  sq. km.  
We went to catch and study Spiny Lobsters, which are Lobsters that are pretty 
much covered with small horns and spines.  One of the scientists and I went 
snorkeling, (along with other argonauts and scientists) and first studied the plants 
and animals in the Lobster habitat.  Then we went Lobster Hunting.  I caught three 
Lobsters by myself.  The scientist, Bill Sharp, caught about five.  It's easy to find 
out what to do after you miss three or four Lobsters in t he net.  

        All you have to do is trick the Lobster.  Because a Spiny Lobster walks 
backwards, you set the net behind the Lobster.  Then you  touch the lobster with 
a tickle stick, and he goes in the net.  The lobsters are found in Sea Whips and 
under Loggerhead Sponges.

        Two nights ago, we sorted the fish we caught after trawling and seining fish 
in a net.  We identifyed Grunts, Mojarras, Snappers, Groupers (we tagged one 
Red Grouper) Toadfish, Pipefish, and Seahorses.  We caught hundreds of fish 
in only five minutes!

        Today we released Conch in the Atlantic Ocean. The water was so rough 
today after last night's rain shower we didn't get to snorkel. The Ocean near the 
Keys is only about waist deep. 
        Well, I have to go.

                                                Brysen Mustain

JASON Project Argonauts
January Research Expedition, January 20-27, 1996
JASON Project homepage: http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/JASON.html

A question for the Croc Team

At 06:58 PM 1/25/96 EST, you wrote:
>Dear Emily and the Croc Team,
>     How is the croc catching coming? Our teacher
>showed us a picture of you she took right before you
>left for Florida. We like your Jason T-shirt.
>    We have been reading about your adventures and
>we have a few questions. How many crocs have you cought?
>What was the biggest one? You said one had a number.
>Did you figure out the number from the scutes that had
>been cut or was a number written on the croc? If it was,
>where and how was it written? We also wondered if cutting
>the scales hurts the crocodile.
>    We will keep looking for more of your expedition reports.
>We hope we can write to you when you get back home and that
>you will write to us. We are just starting to do Jason and
>we think it is really neat. We wish we could be in Florida
>like you are!
>Jason Club/Ms. Rossman's Class
>Webutuck Elementary School
>Amenia, NY 12501

Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 02:27:25 -0500
To: jason-stu@gsn.org
From: argonaut@jason.org (JASON Project Argonauts)
Subject: Re: JASON-STU> crocs

Hello JASON Club. 

Thanks for your letter.  Everything has been going just great.  We have gone
out croc hunting every night.  We caught one croc on Monday (2 1/2') and one
on Tuesday (6 1/2').  The one caught on Monday had a number.  The numbers
can be read by counting the clipped scutes.  The croc that we caught on
Tuesday had not been marked, so we had to clip the scutes ourselves.  We
merely use a swiss army knike and remove the scutes, kind of like clipping
fingernails. They do bleed a little bit, but it does not seem to bother the

Unfortunately, on Wednesday a croc, about 8 feet long, slipped away and
today (Thursday) we had to return early because of the rain.  If you have
any more questions, feel free to write and keep on reading our homepage, we
update throughout the day.

                                        -Emily Hudson
                                        -Rebecca Somers
                                        -Danielle Nettesheim

JASON Project Argonauts
January Research Expedition, January 20-27, 1996
JASON Project homepage: http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/JASON.html

Sandee Moffett updates her students

Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 23:42:16 -0500
From: argonaut@jason.org (JASON Project Argonauts)
Subject: Sandee @ JASONville

Greetings from the Croconaut at Jasonville!  
   Yesterday (Tuesday) was very exciting!  My argos started out 
in the field with Laura Brandt and Dr. Mazzotti, the crocodile scientists. 
 We helped clean the equipment and boats from the croc survey the
 night before and prepared them for the expedition of the day.  Then 
we cruised out across the Florida Bay (did you know that almost all 
of the Bay is 3 feet deep or even more shallow?)  The boat pilots have 
to know a lot about the area to navigate it quickly and safely---it is 
especially exciting flying back home across the pitch black waves at 
10:00 pm!  We went ashore on a small mangrove island and tramped 
through the swamp, knee high in mud and picking our way through 
mangrove vines.  Finally we found a croc nest on the bank of a creek!  
The scientists had suspected it had flooded last summer and wanted 
to dig it up to see if the eggs had hatched before the flooding.  So we, 
including Dr. Ballard, used shovels and spades to unearth our find.  
There were indeed 39 eggs (the average nest is 30-40) that had not 
hatched.  The smell was very strong, as you can imagine, with that 
many "goose- egg sized" rotten eggs!  We covered them back up, and 
the scientists assure us the nest will be used year after year. 

     Then we squished back to the boats and were off to wait for dark 
to fall.  After dark, 2 boats began "shining" the shorelines and one quickly 
spotted a croc!  Cameras rolled and flashed fired and Dr. Mazzotti 
secured the croc.  Measurements showed it was about 6' 6" total length, 
a 14-15 year old female.  She was untagged, so we clipped the appropriate 
"scutes" to identify her 

     All in all it was a most exciting time yesterday.  Needless to say, I didn't 
have the time or energy to write you last night (had lots of mucky jeans and 
shoes to wash or the smell would become permanent, I fear).  Hope you 
are enjoying my messages.  Keep writing to us--either the Argos or I will 
try to respond as we get near the computer center!  This is the most awesome 
thing to be involved in.  I hope some of you will apply to become a Jason 
Project Student Argonaut in future expeditions!

Yours in Jasonville,
Moffett, Argodile

Back to January Expedition Journal

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Gene Carl Feldman (gene@seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov) (301) 286-9428
Todd Carlo Viola, JASON Foundation for Education (todd@jason.org)
Revised: 27 Jan 1996