Decompression: 18 Hours
During decompression, the technicians seal the o-ring along the door wet porch, turing the main living area of Aquarius into a decompression chamber. This way the internal pressure in Aquarius can lower, without affecting the water level in the wet porch.
Fabien left this sign by the fridge, visible on the Live Cam. The image in the upper right is from Conshelf II, Jacques Cousteau's mission that inspired Mission 31. As a tribute, we watched the film World Without Sun during our decompression.
While pressure decreased, the depth reading in Aquarius lowered. At the time of this picture (right after I woke up...) the pressure in the habitat equaled the water pressure 1.3ft deep.
We reached surface pressure! At this point, the depth reading in Aquarius read 0.0 ft. Note, Aquarius didn't move! It stays bolted to the seafloor. Only the inside air pressure changed.
SPLASH UP, Day 32 (because of decompression)
Leaving the habitat to re-surface. Images from mission control monitors.
It was cloudy and turned rainy the morning we resurfaced. Perhaps fitting? Credit M31 topside
We arrived! Safe and sound. Why aren't we wearing Mission 31 wetsuits? As an extra safety precaution they like not to have divers return from saturation in wetsuits, in case there are any complications. Left to right: Aquanauts Otter, Matt, me, Liz, Fabien, and Ryan. Credit Marc Ostrick
Our topside team and various media greeted us at the dock. Credit Amy Summers
WELCOME BACK! BUT FIRST, a PRESS CONFERENCE
We regrouped at reef base for the final Mission 31 press conference. There should be a video of the press conference live later. Three or four dozen people were there, packed into the lobby. The vibe was very positive. Mission 31 had collected years worth of research data in 31 days, hopes to generate ten scientific papers, and reached millions of people on six continents to talk about our oceans. There was also some discussion about what a "Mission 32" would look like. (I will find the link to the press conference and add it here.)
Then, the Splash Up Party
Throwback Thursday, Mission 31: I remember My Undersea Graduation (Mission Day 6).