This morning we met with the entire team for a Mission Briefing -- basically just covered all the different science and exploration objectives for the mission. We followed the briefing with a tour of the decompression chamber they have on site here at the NURC facility. From everything we can see it seems that they are very well prepared to deal with any emergencies. Then after grabbing a quick sandwich, we made all the preps for our first SL17 helmet dive. Part of the prep was just getting weighed out with all the equipment we'll be wearing.
The dive was really fun. You get all geared up on the boat, hooked up to the umbilical, and then jump off and head to the bottom using a line (very much like what we do during an EVA run in the NBL). The helmet was actually very comfortable and the comm was much better than what we have in the full face SCUBA mask. It was really neat to be under water and walking around on the bottom, and getting used to the rig by standing on your head, front flips, and running. Most of our dives during the mission will be made using this equipment and I think it's going to work out really well.
Today was the last day of our training week. We've all been given the official approval for splashing down on Monday. All of the training was really well done, and I'm really happy with how much more comfortable I feel in the water now and with all the equipment than I did before getting here. The mission is going to be great!!