Today I awoke with the rooster and immediately thought to myself, “Last day best day, I have to make it as meaningful as possible.” Though there wasn’t anything really special about our last full day, I tried to stop myself multiple times throughout the day to soak it all in. Just be present. Because I was more focused on being in the moment and trying to see smaller details, I thought about what has happened since I started scuba diving here in Grand Cayman.
One thing that happened after I started scuba diving, was that I became more of a conservationist. When entering the ocean, I am experiencing a whole new world. We have sent people to the moon, robots to mars, but have only explored 5% of the world’s oceans. Being in completely different surroundings that have so much impact on life above the water allowed me to find a personal connection with our oceans. For most people, it takes interaction with something to actually care for it; this is what happened when I started diving.
Another experience I had was bonding with such a random group of people. Despite all of our different backgrounds, personalities, and interests, our group was able to immediately form a relationship that would not have happened if we had not been on the trip together. Going from awkwardly greeting each other in the airport to laughing to the point of suffocation within a few days is truly something special. It is being able to make bonds like this that make me realize how lucky I am to be surrounded with likeminded people who make new experiences worthwhile.
At the final dive site, the last marine life I saw was the Atlantic stingray – the same species we saw at sting ray city the other day. Because stingrays can look very similar, I wanted to discuss how I was able to distinguish the Atlantic ray from another kind. After close up and personal experience at Sting Ray City, I don’t think I’ll ever misidentify the marine animal. The bigger ones have thorn like spines that are visible from the outside, and if the chance to touch it arises, it feels like boney, wet mushrooms. This specific ray is also part of the shark family, so they have ampulla of Lorenzini, which is a fancy word for a nose with sensing organs called electroreceptors. These sensors allow the ray to sense electric and magnetic fields and its food in those fields. Certain behavior that I observed while diving with the rays was their hunting method of shifting through sand by using their pectoral fins to move sand when they detect food with their nose hiding under it. This certain behavior was also helpful in identifying the type of sting ray.
This week has truly been one of my favorite experiences during my time at Jesuit. I am so lucky that I had the opportunity to be part of a fun, informing, and wonderful experience. I would like to thank our chaperones, Ms. Mathews, Mr. Marr, Mr. Allen, Mr. Von, and all the other teachers and staff who helped with the trip for providing us with an experience to be educated through hands on learning in such an amazing location. This was the experience of a lifetime, and I am glad I was able to spend it with an amazing group. As the last blog of the trip, see you later Grand Cayman! It’s been real.