Today at approximately 0845 we made our way to the surface, aka splashup. Tim was right -- bittersweet is a good word to use for how the quiet 2 minute swim to the surface felt. We moved away from Aquarius and the boat waiting above us seemed to appear too quickly, but at the same time seeing my family waiting for me on the surface couldn't come quickly enough.
Otter, Roger, and Doug were our escort divers. We followed Roger up the line --- I was first, followed closely by Tim, Ron, Dave, Ross and Jim. We came out of the water at the ladder to the boat, and were greeted by fresh warm air, calm seas, a beautiful blue sky with moon in view, and Otto ready to help us up. Especially nice for me was seeing the other boat waiting across the water from us -- my son Roman, and my mom and sister Noelle and baby Chase were there smiling and waving to us. It was really special to have them there (even though I couldn't give the munchkin big hugs yet). I'm very thankful to Tammy and Dr. Anvari for including my family on their welcoming boat.
Our boat ride back was filled with smiling and photo ops and sharing stories with our topside support friends who were there with us. It was nice to share the ride back with them after all they had helped us with during the mission. As we rode off, the Sabina (another one of the NURC boats) stayed behind with James and Otter and the other divers that would spend the day doing all of the final post-mission securing of Aquarius. These guys work hard out here to make this all happen for us!
Back at the dock there were more friendly faces waiting for us -- most notably were Dave's family. Very nice to watch Olivia and Evan welcoming their daddy back. I know how happy Dave was to see them and Kathy, and it was nice for us to have Kathy there to grab a hug from too. I think it's important that our families have as much opportunity as possible to share in the things we get to do.
We all grabbed a quick shower and a quick lunch (well...not exactly, think we all took the chance to enjoy a nice long shower), before the day got busy again with a medical exam and some debriefs.
We wrapped up the day with a great party. The whole team was there, along with our families and some other special guests. It was very nice to have Lee Morin and Kevin Ford join us from Houston. Scott Carpenter was also there, and we all had the chance to talk with him a little bit about his space and undersea adventures and to thank him for the phone call. Topping it off was a beautiful view of the ISS flying across the clear sky overhead (thanks to Kevin for pointing it out to us). Number one guest for me though was my husband Chris who was able to make it to town in time for the party!