Meet Socktopus

Today, I am happy to share a special blog post from my friend and travel companion Socktopus. Enjoy!   
 ~Melissa 

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Me with other members of my family.

Nice to meet you! My name’s Socktopus. I was inspired by a craft that was done at this year’s Kaleidoscope. I was born back in Ventura, along with a brother and a sister, shortly before this journey to Panama and the Galápagos. Our family helps my human family stay connected in a special way while Melissa and I are away aboard Nautilus.
I started life as a humble pair of knee socks purchased at the local Target store. With the addition of some batting and a hair tie, some buttons or beads for eyes, and a few snips, our little family of socktopods were born.
Waiting for our flight out of LAX.
At the shipyard in Panama. I wanted to go swimming so badly!
I’ve enjoyed this adventure greatly so far. We have shared a variety of meals and we have posed for selfies in various locations, including at the airport, at the hotel, and in various places around the ship.  We got some funny looks posing for photos, but Melissa did not care. 
Back at home, Melissa’s kids Jack and Aiden were sending her photos of their adventures too. My brother and sister got to go to school, go roller skating, play in the mud, and even participate in a ukelele lesson! Lucky ‘pods!
Ukelele lesson. My sis got to go to Camp Arnaz, because they were doing a test for the live interaction.
Sis got to go roller skating. But Aiden had to carry her, because they did not have eight tiny skates for sis.
Mmmm, wind through my tentacles.
I really liked sitting up on the top deck during the long transit from Panama to the Galápagos. The water was really calm and it was pretty awesome looking out over the horizon, reclining in the sun, feeling the wind through my tentacles. Good thing Melissa brought SPF 50 sunscreen!
One day, I helped Melissa with her laundry. 
(I don’t want to talk about it.)
We passed our safety inspection, although I did not have a hat.
Whenever we get a new group of people on board (we call them onsigners), we do a safety briefing and a drill. I don’t like the loud alarm bell, but I think I look great in orange, don’t I?
Answering questions that come through the internet. You Girl Scouts have some really great questions!
Chillin’ in the control van.
I also sat with Melissa during long watches in the control van. I was at her side when we spotted our first hydrothermal vent octopus. I oohed and aahed over how pretty the little white octopus was.  I’m not sure who was more excited – Melissa or me!
We saw this pretty little octopus when we were diving. Is it me, or is she blushing? Maybe she knew I was watching her!
I’M FAMOUS, Y’ALL!
But one of my favorite moments so far was joining Melissa on a live interaction with her daughter’s kindergarten class. The kids asked if we had seen any sharks. I hid behind Melissa’s back at that question, because I am terrified of sharks (So fast! All those teeth!). The kids, who had met Aiden’s Socktopus, were delighted to see me. I even got my own headset to match Melissa’s. I liked getting in on the action.
The before shot with the cup.
I also lent a hand (or maybe eight of them) in providing scale for the Styrofoam cups we shrank aboard Argus. The before and after pictures show, quite dramatically, the effect of all that deep-sea pressure on the Styrofoam. (After all, they went about 8,000 feet underneath the ocean! At that depth, they were subject to over 3,500 pounds of pressure per square inch!)
The after shot.
I like hanging out with Bob. He’s a cool dude.
Today, I got to spend some time with Dr. Ballard himself. I was a little miffed that the other night’s menu included some calamari, but I decided not to give Dr. Ballard a hard time about it. I was a little star-struck to pose with him.  My arms, all eight of them, got a little clammy.
With Melissa in her cabin. I am glad we snagged a bottom bunk!
I would really like to go down with one of the ROVs to see the ocean first-hand, but the ROV team tells me we have to be careful about endangering the ROV (we wouldn’t want my tentacles to get entangled with the machinery!). If somehow I should get the chance, I will make sure that Melissa shares it with you.
Melissa has been posting pictures from the trip, including pictures of me all over the place, on her Facebook page. If you want to see more pics of me and of the journey, be sure to check it out.
Melissa got some cool swag. I tried to claim it, but she won’t share with me!
Check 1-2. Bro is making sure the sound is good for the live interaction at the Arnaz Program Center.

I love wandering around the ship with Melissa. This is near the stack for the engine exhaust.

Skip to the next blog post by Melissa: Dive Alert!

This is part of a multi-part series . Melissa Baffa, Vice President of Program and Volunteer Services for GSCCC, is part of the Corps of Exploration aboard the E/V Nautilus this year on the adventure of a lifetime. This blog series will chronicle her dive into the Unknown.

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