Splash Down + 13 Days
What a unique place to wake up on Easter morning. Last night during our dive I had time to reflect on the incredible blessing we all have been given to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord while marveling at God's undersea creation.
Dave brought some STS-107 pins with us on the mission. We decided that Easter was a perfect day to honor our friends who perished in the Columbia tragedy by laying an STS-107 pin on the reef off the bow of Aquarius.
Dave went outside on a system called hookah which consist of an umbilical attached to an air source in Aquarius. He proceeded to the bow of Aquarius and placed the pin in a secure place on the reef. We filmed and photographed him from within Aquarius while he photographed the pin directly.
Another highlight of the day was our family videoconferences. It was great to see Carmel and the boys. While I was on the video conference we patched in to Italy with Msgr. Sable who is close friend of my family who lives and works at the Vatican. He led my family and the entire crew in an Easter prayer service, blessed our mission and said a special blessing for the laying of the STS-107 pin in the reef. It was an incredible experience to share such as special Easter service, led by a very good friend on the other side of the ocean, with my family, while on the bottom of the ocean. This is without a doubt the most unique Easter I have ever experienced. I think it will take a very long time before I will be able to fully reflect on the tremendous opportunity and blessing that I have been given.
We spent the rest of the day operating the ROV and I could be mistaken but at one point I thought I saw a bunny riding on the top. I think someone thought it was a good idea to bungee an Easter Bunny to the ROV. We achieved all our test objectives.
The mission is drawing to a close and I definitely have mixed feelings. I am very much looking forward to reuniting with my family but I know I'm going to miss Aquarius. Happy Easter 2006!