As this adventure ends I wonder if I will be the same person when I return to land. Will I miss the soothing rocking of the waves when I go to sleep? Or the deep blue color of the ocean where I find peacefulness when I stand on deck looking for whales? Will I miss the sense of belonging to the best group of scientists and crew that never cease to amaze me and teach me something new every day?
Will I leave a part of me in the Pacific Ocean and take a new me to the desert? Will I long to return or just hold on to my memories that I have made out here in the ocean?
Those unforgettable memories include the day of my 38th birthday, when our net was covered in pyrosomes as it was coming out of the water. As a birthday present, a jar full of pyrosomes was set aside for my students. Or, on that same day, walking into the galley to find a huge cake baked by Mark, our head chef, with everyone singing happy birthday.
Or the time Dr. Mark Ohman and I filmed the propellers of the ship underwater with a GoPro camera attached to a pole. Or the day he was pointing out and yelling with enthusiasm, identifying by name the organisms that would drift by in the water. Or the night I observed the recovery of the drifter with its attached experiments. It was one of the most beautiful nights, with an amazing group of scientists working in unison.
I take these memories with me and so much more. I am grateful for the personal and professional experience. The knowledge that I have gained will be poured right to my students and shared with as many people as possible.
Thank you to all the oceanographers on this CCE-LTER cruise, thank you to all the crew, and thank you to Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Science Foundation for this incredible opportunity.