I got a wonderful email from Austin at approximately 3:30 am this morning with tons of details about his life on the ship.
For example today, which is now yesterday for him, they had some drills:
"We just had an abandon ship drill. I’m in life raft ten. When the ship is under attack or we have a fire or something, we go to what is called General Quarters (GQ). It’s like a battle station. My station is in the control room. I take reports on where the damage is and plot it on these large and confusing charts of the ship. Anyways, they treat like a real emergency. A guy over the 1MC (ship’s speaker system) yells “BOOM, MISSILE STRIKE PORT SIDE MIDSHIPS” for example. And that means we got hit on the left side about the middle of the ship. And we have to respond by sending in firefighters and such. It’s pretty cool. And today we went all the way to a scenario of the ship sinking. I have my own life jacket, gas mask and flash gear (fire fighter stuff)."
Sounds like a blast, right? Apparently he is also taking some sort of class on security at the end of which, he will need to be sprayed down with pepper spray and then has to complete an obstacle course.
Overall, he says he is doing well and staying busy. He seems pretty happy, and we have a tentative return date of October 25th! (only one day after our 9 year anniversary!)