18 January – Time to Head Back North

Amber Blog Pic

First let me start off by introducing myself since I have been woefully left out of most of the blogs and photos (thanks Cassie, who went room by room talking about everyone but me, not that I’m bitter). My name is Amber, or sometimes referred to as Waves of Grain (a clever play on America the Beautiful lyrics), and I am the graduate student extraordinaire and redheaded stepchild of this trip; I am neither one of the undergraduate students nor a professor. I simply came here to begin my thesis project, which required me to dive twice a day, everyday, in the crystal clear waters of Jamaica’s north shore (it’s hard work, but somebody had to do it). For those who are interested, I was putting out settlement plates (terra cotta tiles) underwater to determine if coastal development affects sponge recruitment. My team (Joe, Brad, and Alan) and I put these plates out via a pneumatic drill converted to work underwater off of a scuba tank, which was by far one of the coolest things I’ve done underwater thus far. We also tagged and measured 180 sponges so that I can track their growth over the next 2 years (yes, I will be returning to Jamaica, every six months).

Now for those who are not interested in what I am doing, I will recap some of the highlights of our last night and day in Jamaica. Last night after dinner we (well really Tex) decided to have a bonfire at the end of the jetty, and true to the saying “build it and they will come” eventually the entire group was settled around the campfire, reminiscing, telling ghost stories, and pretending that reality was not just a day away. We went around the circle each telling what our favorite part of the trip was, for many it was Ocho Rios, others The Ultimate Jerk.

Today, as we all pack up our belongings and finish cleaning the wet lab (after Simon Cowell ruined our final game of Catch phrase), we are all sad to go, dreading the snow, and remembering that, despite spending the last two weeks basking in the sun in shorts and sandals, it is in fact winter in New York. I just want to say to everyone, that I had a great time, and I hope that it was even more memorable for the 14 of you. As we all go back to our respective realities, for better or worse, remember this one piece of advice I leave to you all…[Ed: Amber’s writing was really blurry here but I’m pretty sure her advice was to study hard and do well in your classes this upcoming semester.]

— Amber
[Ed: We’ll have one final blog post from Professor Peterson once we’re all back in the states.]

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