We played a bit of cards to take advantage of the downtime. I did not know that I was at a disadvantage. Apparently my cards could be seen from the camera behind me. MY wife tested me that she could see them as well as a few others. What was funny is that Frances' mother texted her as well. I am glad France chose to soundly beat me at gin rummy without the aid of a technological spy. No one really wanted to go to bed . So we made the day last as long as possible. The habitat looked empty as all the experimental equipment was already gone. We only had a small amount of personal gear left. We all took a few moments to sign the Aquanaut log.
We were all up at 6am to prepare to ascend. While the habitat never moved, through the night they had slowly released the pressure to bring the pressure inside the habitat to surface level. We had a quick breakfast than we began to clean.We had to clean and scrub all the surfaces in the habitat. To ensure nothing would begin growing after we left.
Last meal at the table
We watched ROger bribng down our regular scuba gear as we began to realize that this adventure was almost over.
Roger bringing down the scuba gear for the ascent
At a few minutes to 8 am they brought the pressure in the habitat back down to 50 feet. This was now like a normal dive. We only had about 60 minutes to get our gear on, get out the door, and do a very slow ascent to the boat.
Once on the boat they brought up our last bit of personal items for us. Just in time for a selfie and a quick text home to say we were on the surface.
Leaving the Aquarius area. The Life Support Buoy fades into the distance
We had to hang out at the base for two hours to ensure no one was getting sick. During that time we repacked the sonar and other science gear. Then we got to go to the house we were staying at. I fell asleep in a real bed pretty quickly for a nice nap.
Later that night we had a small celebration party with all of the Aquarius crew, and support personnel. They also gave out the very valued Aquanaut certificates. The have been less than 400 people to have stayed saturated for a week like we did. This has been an honor in not only accomplishments, but also in getting to know all these great people.
This brings an end to this adventure. I can not fly for 48 hours due the the nitrogen still remaining in my body. I will get to go home early Saturday morning to see my family. I have missed my wife and kids very much. I have to thank them for letting me go on this adventure.
As of today, We have Skyped or talked by Google Hangout with over 5,000 students! I am so glad that I was part of this mission. It was very hard to say goodbye to Ben, Alian, and Frances. They too have become like family to me. I plan to stay in touch. I also told them I would be more than happy to help process the data we collected and see this project through to the end.
What the future brings next I don't know, but it will be hard to top this epic mission!