We’re nearing the halfway point of our mission, settling into a comfortable routine. The habitat technicians start the day, awakening to check the health of our underwater home, and we all soon rouse to begin our daily regimen.
We first breeze through our life sciences data takes so we can begin breakfast. The process for six crewmembers on a small vessel begins to resemble a small school of fish – a loosely choreographed activity as we swerve around each other writing email, preparing coffee, eating granola, and cleaning little spots and spills. Saying “excuse me” or “sorry” is becoming needless. Small collisions are so common in such close living quarters – they become unavoidable, expected, and barely noticed. One crewmember at a time steels himself and departs for the inevitable plunge into the deep ocean for a trip to the “outhouse,” to return to the team, smiling and refreshed.
Amazingly, the activity at once converges, and all crewmembers are ready for the morning conference with the topside. We then disperse again as we prepare for the first extravehicular activity (EVA), each preparing for our roles for the task, and like a single organism, again converge with all attention focused on the suiting up of our EVA duo.
Our attention remains welded to the checklist, video cameras, and communication protocols, until several hours later when both crew members are back inside and we prepare hot meals and drinks. The vigorous physical labor and successful completion of good work are essential elements of a good day. More science, more writing, perhaps a nap, before the second set of EVAs. End of the day is a mirror image of the beginning, with dinner replacing breakfast, and activity slowing as we contact friends or families, and perhaps take some time to muse about life out the window. The habitat technicians are the first to prepare for sleep, and then one-by-one the crew members retire their laptops, lay down their notes, turn off their night lights, and fall asleep to the surge and sway of the ocean.