Fragile Oasis

Connecting Space and Earth: Learn. Act. Make a Difference.
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Splashdown +11 days

Started the day with another SL17 dive.  Dave and I went out this morning and both donned the lunar backpack config for the cg study and continued work on waterlab.  I'm really enjoying the waterlab construction task, and also enjoyed participating in the cg study.  On the way out as I was climbing down the habitat column to the sea floor I caught a glimpse of "our" 4 large spotted eagle rays swimming in tight formation directly towards the habitat viewport -- called the sighting into the guys in the habitat, but unfortunately nobody could get to the viewport in time to see them.

While we were working, the ROV joined us under the control of ExPOC in Houston to provide a little surveillance coverage of our activity.  We were later joined by some of our topside friends and Dave worked with them to manipulate the ROV to assist with our construction task.   Nicest though was a surprise when we discovered our families were visiting ExPOC to watch our dive --- and was even nicer to be able say a quick hello to them over the comm.  (From my munchkin, "Mommy, are there any sharks out there?  Over.")

When we got in from the dive, we all had a quick lunch and then got busy getting ready for the rest of the days activities.  I set up for an educational outreach event with some schools in Canada, Ron and Tim got geared up in the SL17's and went out on a dive to assess some more of the CobraTac navigation tool and Linkquest diver tracking systems capabilities, Dave was the IV for Tim and Ron, and Jim and Ross continued to work hard at making sure everything was working for us to be able to successfully work our tasks.  Jim and Ross are the greatest --- these guys know all the ins and outs of Aquarius, and they definitely are the main reason why we are able to operate efficiently down here!

We're sitting at the galley table writing our journals and as usual we're distracted by the beauty out the view port.  There is always something new to see, and as time goes on there is more and more that's familiar to us too.  The new thing today is our first shark sighting -- a nurse shark.  Not resting on the bottom, but coming right up to the habitat just below our view port. Hard to tell its motivation, it just swam around out there for a little while and then went quietly back to the bottom.  Maybe Roman knew something I didn’t…. Pretty cool.