6 Commander John Herrington, left, and Mission Specialist
Tara Ruttley participate in a training session underwater.|
6, John Herrington
Day 1, Monday, July 12, 2004
beneath the surface of the sea. What a fantastic day it has been.
We loaded up our gear on the Research Diver and made it out to the
dive site by 1000. We began our dive shortly thereafter and made
our way to the Aquarius habitat. Our first dive consisted of an
orientation along three excursion lines to the east. The names of
the excursion lines were Kamper, 5th Leg and S4. Between the 5th
and S4 lines there are two additional lines we named Becca North
and Becca South in honor of Rebecca Cutri-Kohart, one of our support
personnel in Houston. She was responsible for working our mapping
issues for this expedition. Hence, her name captured in the briny
After our first
dive we headed back to the habitat and received our briefings from
our habitat support personnel, Craig "Coop" Cooper and
Joe March. Both guys are super to work with and we look forward
to the week ahead working with them.
dive in the afternoon consisted of an orientation run along the
northern most excursion line, the northeast line and deep northeast
line. Doug Wheelock (call-sign "Wheels") and I (call-sign
"Bone") ventured out toward the end of the deep northeast
line until we hit our maximum allowable depth of 95 feet. From there
we returned to the intersection of the NE and NE deep lines. Nick
and Tara joined us for our return to the habitat. Both excursions
gave us a chance to become accustomed to our surroundings and will
help us in our orientation for future dives.
Most of our
tasks back here in the habitat have been geared toward making this
our home away from home for the next few days. The cramped quarters
are about the size of a large motorhome, but not too confining.
The difference between this habitat and the Service Module on the
International Space Station is that you can float to the top of
the ISS to get above the rest of your crewmates. Down here you just
have to turn sideways and make room for people to pass by.
evening planning conference I noticed a large Grouper float by the
window at the bow (forward end) of the habitat. Nick and Joe took
some great photos that will end up on the website. It would be reasonable
to say the Grouper was pushing 100 pounds easy. He actually smiled
(opened his mouth wide) when the camera was upon him.
My first day
has been exactly as I expected. Great views and great people. The
similarities to space flight are very real and gives me a bit of
a deja vu feeling except that my food doesn't float and I can type
without having to hold myself down to the computer. Working a schedule
while dealing with a new environment is just the same as arriving
on orbit. The ride to get here was not as quick, but very enjoyable
in the morning sun of south Florida. We are all new to this realm
and we have each adapted to our new surroundings rapidly with huge
smiles across our faces. I'm looking forward to sharing much more
of our adventures with my family and friends in the coming days.