The countdown clock has begun, and our time in Jamaica is coming to a close. From the diving and snorkeling, to the lectures, instructors, and even the tropical weather, I tried my hardest to gain as much as I could from this valuable experience. In just two weeks, I have logged twelve dives, gained four credits towards my marine science major, made some wonderful new friends, spotted special sea creatures, made connections with professionals in the field, and most importantly learned an invaluable amount about this ecosystem and myself.
Stepping into this journey, I wasnt sure how I would react or what I would learn. I cannot express my gratitude enough though to those that made it such a great experience. Thank you to Scarlet and Snow for looking out for us during every dive, and helping us with all the equipment. They showed us some of the most incredible places under water, and introduced us to Jamaica above and below the sea. Precious and the wonderful women in the kitchen made sure our bellies were full and our taste buds satiated as well as the cleaning staff that put up with us tracking mud everywhere. Dr. Buddo and Mr. Gayle were kind enough to give us their time so that we could learn more about Discovery Bay Marine Lab and the research that goes on here, and even extend invitations to apply to return to study here.
Thank you especially to the instructors. Not only did they teach us as much as they could, they answered every question, and strove to make sure we found everything we came here hoping to see and experience. They brought us to Duns River Falls, Ocho Rios, Rio Grande [Ed: I think she means Rio Bueno as none of our side trips were to the US-Mexico border.], Green Grotto, The Ultimate Jerk, and even accompanied us on work dives. While doing their own work, they taught us about the ocean, grad school, and their own research all while still having great times in between.
I've seen and done more than I could have ever hoped. I climbed a waterfall, played with bioluminescent organisms, dabbled with octopuses, glided with sting rays, gasped at a sea turtle, acquainted with coral, became friendly with a pelican, starred many damsel fish in the face, and so many other large and small adventures. I cannot say I am an expert by any means about anything I learned here, but I can say I am leaving with a much better understanding of the tropical marine ecosystem, what might be in store for my future, myself, and Jamaica as a whole. I am so grateful I had this opportunity to be here. It would not have been possible without the Discovery Bay Marine Lab staff, the Stony Brook instructors, and of course all our own families suffering in the snow back home.
The group of us are on the way to the lab from the airpport on the first day.
Here are some exceptionally beautiful fire coral we spotted while snorkeling.
This is the awesome view we had from the dock of the lab everyday.
Not only was the view amazing, but so was the artwork scattered around the campus that made being here even more delightful.