Since 1854 • Bay St. Louis, MISSISSIPPI

Mrs. Boudreaux’s Adventure – Day 2

Control Van

Inside the control van. The scientist’s communication station is to my left in the picture and the ROV pilots sit behind me, to the right.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Today has been such an amazing day.  Quite surreal….

I hit the sack early last night and have been wide-awake since 5 am!   I was picked up around 9:00 this morning in a black Denali, along with 5 other individuals joining the NAUTILUS today, including Navy Admiral Gallaudet.  We were driven to Half Moon Bay, where we hopped aboard a small boat that transferred us to the Nautilus.  This boat was already pilled down with copious amounts of food before we loaded ourselves and our gear!  At least I know we won’t starve.

I cannot put into words the excitement that I felt as we approached the NAUTILUS.  I was almost brought to tears.  This is a ship and a crew that I have admired for years.  And now I am about to be one of them!  Not to mention, the first person I saw was Dr. Robert Ballard!

Nautilus

Approaching the NAUTILUS from the small transfer vessel.

As our small boat approached the NAUTILUS, my group and I were snapping pictures and getting even more excited, but the cooler thing was that the crew on the NAUTILUS was doing the same thing at us!  (Perhaps because some of them were transferring back to shore via the small boat that we were on). The swells were a bit rough as our small boat tried to tie up to the NAUTILUS and I began to become concerned about sea sickness.  After getting our boats as close as possible, we each climbed a rope ladder to board (or swing on to) the ship.  My short legs made it extra challenging for me to make the leap, and it was Dr. Ballard who grabbed my hand and first told me, “Welcome Aboard.”  Talk about a surreal moment.

Nautilus 2

Approaching the NAUTILUS. Notice the rope ladder on the right.

The rest of the day consisted of getting acquainted with the ship, safety drills, being trained on how to use the communications in the control van, and making my bunk (although I don’t think I’ll be sleeping much).  I have also been issued official NAUTILUS gear and my headshot was taken, which is now posted with my bio on the NAUTILUS LIVE website.  I will also be wearing the NAUTILUS gear for the remainder of my time on board.

Meals on board so far have been delicious, although they don’t quite compare to Mr. Terry and his crews’ meals.

Hercules

Launching the ROV Hercules (AKA Herc).

Earlier this evening I was in the control van with the crew on duty.  I was able to see the live questions coming in.  Unfortunately I did not have a headset on so I could not respond to you directly.  I plan on wearing one tomorrow morning so I can talk to my morning classes.  (We will be diving until 10 am tomorrow, PT).   With the history of the USS Independence being discussed so much and questions coming in from around the world, so fast, it is hard to respond to them all.  If your questions were not answered, please send them to me directly and I will get them answered for you.

I am currently watching the dive on the USS Independence in the comfy lounge of the ship with other crew members who are not on duty at this time.  We are able to communicate with the scientists directly in the control van too.

Watching Live

Watching live ROV feed in the lounge on board the ship.

Everyone on board is incredibly welcoming and kind.  There are so many different types of professionals on board this ship, and the NAUTILUS offers internships for students!  Start looking into that!

So much is happening right now.  This is amazing.  I wish you all were here.

Until tomorrow,

Mrs. B

Watch live: http://www.nautiluslive.org/