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2007 Aquarius Mission
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Mission Log: September 16, 2007

Kate Thompson
National Marine Sanctuaries Aquanaut

Today is the day. Up early to make sure everthing is ready to go. All of the logistics and planning come down to this day! I feel very confident leaving everything topside in the capable hands of the great group of technical experts we have working on this mission.

We load up the boat and leave the dock by 9:30 a.m. It felt as if we were headed out for another day of training. As we geared up to make our first splash, we took in our last bit of sun before being submerged for nine days. Thinking about it felt as if we were in a movie.

Aquanauts Niels Lindquist, Chris Martens, Scott Donahue, and Kate 

Aquanauts Niels Lindquist, Chris Martens, Scott Donahue, and Kate Thompson. (Photo-NOAA/National Marine Sanctuary Program)

As aquanaut candidates we looked forward to the experience. Now we are really on our way to becoming a part of an elite group to live beneath the waves. Scott Donahue and I splashed first, followed by Dr's Niels Lindquist and Chris Martens. As the bubbles rushed by my mask, the shadow of our undersea home came in to view. We popped our heads in the wet porch to check in, and that was it. We were officially to stay below 45 feet. As we were taught, THE SURFACE IS NOT AN OPTION! I glanced upward and saw the mooring buoy bouncing at the surface. Instantly an underwater perspective was what I saw.

Staff from the NBC network dove down with us to shoot Niels and Chris setting up their experiments. Niels did an exceptional job for the NBC film crew injecting a large barrel sponge with dye to show how to visualize a sponge's breath. It was definitely potent! Good thing we can't smell underwater --it was like Sponge Bob's rancid breath!

Kate Thompson waves to everyone inside the 

Kate Thompson waves to everyone inside the Habitat. (Photo-NOAA/National Marine Sanctuary Program)

After setting up all the science equipment (and a three hour dive!) we went back to the habitat for our full safety briefing. James took us on our tour of the habitat ensuring that SAFETY IS FIRST!! After our briefing, we shot our "moving in" daily show for tomorrow. James was a natural! Post shoot, Chris and I suited up in our Kirby Morgan Superlight 17 helmets to test the links out on the reef for our live feeds back to oceanslive.org. The helmet truely is an amazing feeling for me, and is like nothing I have ever experienced before. The communications are crisp and clear and really make for a great adventure underwater! TRUE DIVING!

As we set-off for the wet porch, I took a quick look back to the twilight hours beneath the waves... What a blessing this experience really is.

Signing off from 60 feet down.

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