Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thursday Sept 8 Evening

First overnight in the Hab, we are officially Aquanauts!  Whoot Whoot!

We started this morning with a great breakfast. We have plenty of dehydrated camping food. Everything, from eggs and sausage to shrimp.  The staff here even brought down snacks for us. We do get treated well. I even got to have some fresh pressed coffee for breakfast!

 Today started the actual experiments. Aline had us separated into two teams, Frances and him.  Ben and I were the other dive team.Each team would go out and place a set of  five blades of grass in a marked grid. There are five grids in a low rugosity area (low current) and five in a high rugosity area. Each set of five was picked up during a later dive at around noon. The second set of grass blades was picked up again at about 4 o'clock.
  Along with each plot of grass blades was a Gopro camera to record what ate the grass and how much was eaten. The grass that was recovered each time was measured to determine how much was eaten at each plot and in both the high and low rugosity areas. Aline's hypothesis is that when sharks are around they have a different effect on the fish eating patterns in the different rugosity areas. His data will prove this for him.

 Aline and Frances placing a feeding site

Ben and I moving bricks to a new site.

This is what a feeding site looks like. Each clothes pin holds a blade of seagrass..kind of like candy to parrot fish I am told.
Frances taking a break :) 
 After working for about 90 minutes we head back home. for a break and more food! But before I go in I had to take a picture from outside our dinner window. You can even see the rest of the crew inside.

 After posing for a quick picture we swim back to the habitat. In order to get in have to go under the entrance and then swim up into the wet porch area. This is kind of like holding a cup upside down in some water. there is air inside and the pressure keeps the water out.
 As you swim underneath Aquarius there is plenty of fish to welcome you home.

The gazebo is a place to refill your air tanks underwater. It also serves as part of the emergency escape plan. Before the got a toilet working in the habitat it also had another use...,,.

 The beauty of everything around here continues to astound me. This beauty is hanging out right at our doorstep.

Video showing entry into Aquarius.This is me following Ben inside.

Finally, a day would not be complete without a nice pose outside the lab.This was taken at the end of the second dive.

As a final note. I usually put this blog together at the end of the day.Everyone is asleep and I have a moment to myself to reflect. I had two great surprises for me tonight. The first is when a huge shark swam by the window. I guess I was a bit loud since everyone ran to come see. I guess our shark call is working! Check out his video from tonight!!!

As a wonderful way to end the night, one of more former students and also captain of the robotics team we conquered Oklahoma with texted me to say she was watching me on the live feed.  we chatted a bit and she sent me a photo of her watching. Chey you are still awesome! Loved you in fifth grade and still love you now!

As I get ready for bed, I want to say goodnight to my favorite dive partner and wife,  Kimberly and all of our children. Robby, Meghan, Ashleigh, Kayleigh, Carleigh,and finally Codyman!

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