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NEEMO 6 Commander
IMAGE: John Herrington and Tara Ruttley
NEEMO 6 Commander John Herrington, left, and Mission Specialist Tara Ruttley participate in a training session underwater.
*NEEMO 6 Journals
*Aquanaut Profile: John Herrington

NEEMO 6 Journals

NEEMO 6, John Herrington
Day 1, Monday, July 12, 2004

Greetings from 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 deep!!

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.

Our second 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.

During our 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. Stay tuned...

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 07/13/2004
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