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  Field Notes From

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Aquarius On AssignmentArrows

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From Author

Gregory Stone

Aquarius On Assignment

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From Photographer

Brian Skerry

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Brian Skerry (top) and Marcia Skerry



Field Notes From Author
Gregory Stone
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    It was a special experience to be able to go out on the reef at about five in the evening and stay until it got dark at nine. The only way to spend such a prolonged period of time out there is during saturation diving. It's hard to get that feeling of transition from daylight to darkness when you spend about an hour at a time. The reef changes dramatically during that period. Nighttime animals start to come out, and daytime animals go away. You can only experience that when you're living in such an environment.

    After going through decompression, I didn't feel very good when I got back to the surface the next day. My energy was low. I don't know what it was. Maybe the oxygen levels were lower than I was used to, or perhaps it was just the feeling of the nitrogen coming out of my system. The feeling lasts a day or two. This was my third saturation diving experience, and I've felt the same way every time. 

    You're under high pressure in Aquarius, so the smells are all different. The physiological effects of heavily scented chemicals at such high pressure are unknown, so we were restricted from bringing highly fragrant items, such as some aftershave lotions and deodorants, into the habitat. And because the sense of taste is directly related to smell, food tastes different than it does on the surface. I found that chocolate didn't taste as good down there. But salty foods, especially the spicy freeze-dried Mexican dinners, were much tastier underwater.

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