Today was our last day on the water, and that is a very sad reality. Melissa and I did morning camera duty efficiently enough to still be able to do a nice dive afterwards. Conditions were really nice- very little current, good viz, 1-2’ seas. I sat alone for a bit on the surface interval because I was just trying to soak in as much of the view and experience as possible. I can’t even imagine going back to dressing in horrible, uncomfortable dress clothes and (gasp) shoes and working all day indoors. I wrote a poem that expresses how I feel about this kind of life. See here:
Lost at Sea
When I’m atop azure waters
And under a clear blue sky
I get lost in the moment.
The salt air fills my lungs
And the sun warms my bones
And my negativity gets lost.
The sea birds call out
And the gentle lapping waves
Let me lose my troubles.
The ocean holds me in her arms
And rocks me gently to sleep.
My nightmares get lost.
When I get lost at sea,
The only thing I find is the true me.
The last dive for me was just a fun dive in which all 4 of the teachers dove together
for the first time this week. It was a lovely dive with lots of life, including three spotted eagle rays who kept circling us. On our safety stop, they did a nice fly-by, to say goodbye to me I’m sure 😉
This evening, we had a barbecue at base, and we were presented with “Honorary Aquanaut” certificates and a voucher for an overnight visit to the habitat. A storm is blowing in, so they had to cancel tomorrow night’s overnight, which didn’t affect me since I was going to have to miss it anyway. Now, I have the chance to come back (Yay!) and spend the night in Aquarius (WOO!). It was the best news of the day. Aileen made me cry with her kind words and HER tears, but she said I’m part of the team now. A few of us stuck around to continue with data, which is where I am now. I’m really going to miss this team so much. We all worked really hard and for really long hours, but we definitely had tons of fun together. We laughed through it all.
I really can’t say enough about this experience. Before I came down, it was so surreal, and it still feels that way to me. I can’t believe it really happened. I can’t believe I got to work on a boat all day, every day for a week. I can’t believe I got to dive in the ocean every day. I can’t believe I got to visit the world’s only undersea laboratory. I can’t believe I spent a week in the Keys. I can’t believe I finally got to see spotted eagle rays. I can’t believe I got to be part of such an incredible team. And I can’t believe I was hand-selected to participate in this opportunity of a lifetime. I’m so grateful and blessed to have had this chance, and I will remember it vividly and fondly forever.
*Note: Though we’re pretty much done, I’m still coming in tomorrow to do data for the team.