This afternoon we will be diving around the habitat, and "getting lost"
Basically we will swim away from the expedition lines (our lifelines to Aquarius), take off our masks, and attempt to make our way back to the lines that lead us to Aquarius. I'm really excited about this challenging skill. I think it will be one of the most difficult tasks of our training, besides flooding our dive helmets. We have had ample time to be taught the skill, and we even practiced it on land. Our instructor Otter will be there with us when we do the skill and will give us back our masks if we need it. Every Aquanaut who wants to be able to dive on SCUBA in Aquarius must complete this skill. Otter let us know that while we might be rather freaked out during the skill, once we are done with it we will feel very accomplished (can't wait!).
Now that we are nearing the end of our Aquanaut training, the team is getting into the groove of new skills and equipment. We are doing our third two tank dive today to practice and re-practice skills that are both new and challenging. The goal of the Aquarius team (Roger, Otter, Otto, Ryan, Thor) is to make sure we are comfortable with any emergency situation that we might encounter underwater. The reason for this training is because aquanauts need to avoid going to the surface except as a last resort. Once a diver goes into "saturation" they need to stay underwater so that they do not too quickly off-gas all of the nitrogen that they absorb from staying down so long and get bent.
As an aquanaut I have to know how to find Aquarius if I get lost, lose my buddy, am low on air, lose my mask, etc. Aquarius staff is doing a very good job making me feel prepared for any of these situations This is some of the most comprehensive training I've ever gone through, and I really appreciate the opportunity to learn from it.
I'll let you know how well I "get lost" this afternoon. Wish me luck!