I'll be gearing up for our first excursion soon, so I wanted to make sure to get this post up before then. Tonight I'll be connecting with the Marine Science Center while on my dive. Can't wait!.
· Last night I didn’t get to bed as early as planned. The Northeastern University Mission 31 crew made it down to Reef Base in the afternoon, so we spent some time moving gear around, and getting situated at their headquarters before heading out for a farewell dinner. I then spent an hour packing up for the morning. I had some trouble falling asleep- my emotions were a mix of Christmas Eve, and the first day of school- kind of nervous and excited at the same time.
Tuesday June 17, 2014
· 5:00AM- Woke up with my alarm, and for once didn’t feel the need to hit my snooze button. I was too excited to stay in bed, and plus I had a bit more packing to do! There was a bit of logistics that I needed to figure out: do I pout my swimsuit on now or later? What do I do with my clothes once I am on the boat- I need them down below!
· 5:30AM- Finished packing and ate some breakfast- a bagel seemed like a good pre-splashdown choice
· 6:30AM- Headed to Aquarius Reef Base to give staff my clothes and gear
· 7:00AM- My gear was put on a boat to be brought out to Aquarius. They use giant pressure cooker type pots to pot down all items that enter the habitat.
· 7:15AM- The Northeastern team came by Reef Base to see me off and discuss some last minute scientific protocol details.
· 7:30AM- Right on time! We pushed off the dock to head to Aquarius.
· 8:15AM- Arrived at the surface at Aquarius- 8 miles off shore and a 45 minute boat ride. It was a sunny day, with calm waters. I however was not calm- I was excited to get down to the habitat!
· 8:40AM- A buddy team of divers left the boat to assist team members with their switch out. We are replacing three members of the Mission 31 team for the remainder of the project.
· 8:50AM- The Aquarius Habitat is done with decompression and is quickly brought down to bottom pressure again to allow divers to exit the habitat and swim to the surface.
· 9:10AM- Team #1 arrives at the surface and is checked over by the Navy doctor on staff to make sure they are not suffering from any signs of decompression sickness, otherwise known as the “bends”.
· 9:30AM- I gear up for my dive down to Aquarius! Hop in the water and dive down!
· 9:35- I enter the Habitat for the first time ever! Fabian Cousteau was there to greet meet when I popped up out of the moon pool. So cool! It smelled kind of weird, and my ears constantly feel like I’m on a plane. Also my voice is much higher than on the surface.
· 10:00AM- I get told how to exit the habitat in the case of an emergency. This also happens to be the same protocol for using the bathroom while in Aquarius.
· 10:30AM- I made my bunk, where I’ll be sleeping for the next two weeks! I have an excellent view of the coral reef from right outside my window! I think you’d call this an “ocean-view” room…
· 11:00AM- I was halfway through my noodles before I realized: “I’m eating underwater!” I ate my lunch while talking with the Aquarius technicians and Fabian Cousteau about how things have been over the last two weeks. They all seem in great spirits and happy to have me.
· 12:00PM- Unpacked my gear and got myself situated in the bunk. I’m looking forward to spending the next two weeks here.
· 1:00PM- Spoke with Northeastern topside crew to make a plan for our first excursion this afternoon. They are prepared to do their first dive this afternoon to drop off gear for us to begin experiments. Very excited to see them diving around the habitat!
· 2:00PM- Waved “HI” to my husband and mom while they watched via the 24 hour camera that live feeds from Aquarius.
· 2:30PM- Checked email, did some fun tweets from under water, and caught up on expedition plans.
**Up next!!! My first excursion from Aquarius! I'll be talking with the MSC from my helmet camera!***