20 Jan PM – Wrapping things up…

Well, it’s our final few hours here in Discovery Bay, and although it’s sad to leave the beautiful, tropical weather we’ve enjoyed for the past 16 days and head back to NY (which is expecting 2-4 in of snow tonight and tomorrow), it will be good to go home and have a bit of a break. This trip has been a flurry of classes, research and data processing/analyzing. But it’s all been worth it, and let’s be honest, it’s really hard to complain about your ‘job’ when working involves diving every morning!

As John mentioned in his blog post, I have been doing research here for the past 3 years and this Jamaica trip marked the end of an ongoing 3-year study I have been conducting looking at the effects of beach erosion from large hotels on the adjacent reef (particularly on the sponge community). Although, I am extremely relieved to have managed to get a solid 3 years of data without having hurricanes or anything else ruin my project, it is bittersweet to see it coming to an end. I have been coming to Discovery Bay Marine Lab every 6 months since January 2008, and it’s sad to know that I won’t be returning until next January. Over the years, I have grown close to the staff at DBML and it’s always hard to say goodbye to such a great group of people who have always worked really hard to make sure my time in Jamaica goes as smoothly as possible.

But all good things must come to an end, and I think everyone today is feeling a bit sentimental about the time they have spent in Jamaica, whether it was the last 2 weeks or several years worth of visits. But I am sure that if everyone feels the way I do about this place, it won’t be the last time we spend time on this sunny, laid back island. Jamaica has a way of getting under your skin, and once you’ve experienced all it has to offer, it’s hard to stay away for too long. After all- we are Jamericans now.

Amber and a stalactite during the cave tour. [Ed: Amber didn't give me a photo for her blog so I tried to find one where she wasn't underwater as that's how she spends most of her time in Jamaica.]

– Amber (graduate student and course TA)

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