Fragile Oasis

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Splashdown +7 days

With the expert assistance of Jim and Ross, Tim and I got suited up first thing in the SL17 rig.  Today was the first day of constructing Waterlab.  Waterlab is a pvc structure that we put together to simulate a construction task in space.  For our exploration analog we're treating Waterlab as our communication tower.  We enjoyed the time we had on the seafloor, and got the first section of the structure completed, but unfortunately there was a minor problem with Tim's helmet and we had to cut the dive short.  Jim and Ross and the topside crew did an excellent job getting the helmet up and running again, so Dave and Ron were able to complete their afternoon dive.  Their dive was a continuation of the lunar center of gravity task they started earlier, only this time they were simulating being on the surface of Mars.

On the telelmedicine side of things, Ron and I each participated in a telementoring session to learn how to take and assess X-Ray images.  We weren't taking real X-Rays, but we set up the equipment and situated an artificial arm and foot for taking the images, and then we evaluated different images provided to us by our telementors in Canada.

Spotted eagle rays and barracuda were out in full force today.  We saw a large school (at least 20) of very large barracuda spending time down around the habitat today.  They're really very beautiful to watch -- they are a shiny silver that almost looks like it's painted on and they stay in a group facing the current like a bunch of flags flying together.  Another beautiful sight was a group of 4 spotted eagle rays that circled the habitat throughout the day.  These are just amazing to watch.  They have a very slow and deliberate way of flying through the water -- the four of them flying in tight formation.  They were large with an average wing span of 6-8 feet.  (While we were out working on Waterlab, we also had a large Atlantic ray fly over us).

And to top off the day, we were finally able to configure the ROV again to allow ExPOC to have control.  I think that Susan and Pat had a good time maneuvering Scuttle around the sea floor.