Matthew Gonzalez – Day 7


What a way to end off the trip: two incredible dives, a long, laugh filled conversation with my piers, a delicious dinner, an amazing prayer service, and a free fruit punch to finish off the night. I’m sad that it has to come to an end, but like everything, it does, and I don’t think it could have ended in a more positive way. We started off the day with two dives, both some of the best dives of the trip. The first dive of the day put itself at the top of my favorite dives list.

“Trinity Caves” was one of the coolest and most exciting adventures I have ever had the privilege of experiencing. Getting to weave in and out of caves and canyons, seeing a vast variety of coral, watching bright and florescent fish swimming swiftly by made this dive my favorite of the week. As we turned left and right, up and down, we navigated through tight tunnels in the walls of coral. Darkness filled these tunnels as we swam towards the sunlight, its rays beaming down on the soft sand. Tunnel after tunnel we swam through, all opening up to an endless mountain chain of coral and cities of fish. One of my favorite parts of this dive was watching all the streams of weightless bubbles seep through the cracks in the mountains of marine life as other divers still in the tunnel exhaled. I remember one view vividly; as I came out of one of the caves, I ascended a bit, and looked up at the skyscraper of coral. The fish were lively, some moving swiftly, some moving slow, some traveling in schools, and some traveling alone. The coral looked like city lights, sharp and vivid in the shadowed evening. The bubbles, the fish, and the buildings of coral resemble New York City. Queen angelfish, princess parrotfish, and grunts were everywhere. After about a 40 minute dive and a maximum depth of 97 feet, I resurfaced, jump back aboard the “Twin Sister,” and we were off, heading to our next amazing dive sight.

Colors popped from even the surface. I knew that our last dive was going to be a special one. Red, green, yellow, orange, and blue corals made this dive sight so beautiful. All different kinds of fish filled up the area. I was able to see a puffer fish, and new fish while diving, which expands with water like a balloon when threatened, releasing spikes from its sides that fill its predators with poison. Also, I was able to see starfish hiding inside some barrel corals. Henry and I found a lobster den filled with at least 10 lobsters. About half way through the dive, there was a lawn chair sitting lonely in the sand. We each got a picture sitting on the chair, each person posing in their own unique way. We finished our final dive, and I remember taking a long time to make it back up to the surface. The water had a way of pulling me back to it. I didn’t want it to end. I took a long look down to the ocean floor, and took a long deep breath off of my regulator, and resurfaced for the last time of the 2019 Marine Biology trip.

Dinner was full of hamburgers and fries, soup and desserts, and filled me up quickly, but the buffet wasn’t all I was excited for tonight. The prayer service was amazing. Hearing each person reflect over their experience on the trip and being given question to reflect over my own experience really allowed me think deeply about what this trip meant to me, which I haven’t really had the chance to do. I was able to take a look back at my trip and see how well it has gone. I loved hearing that everyone shared similar opinions with me about each activity. Also, I was able to reflect on how I have grown closer to God and how I have strengthen my relationship with Him through caring for His creation. This prayer service was really the best way to close out the trip on a positive note by looking back at all the good in it, and revealing hidden things, like God’s presence, that we may not have seen before.

Throughout this trip, I have been nothing but excited to learn more and thrilled to be with some of my favorite people on such a beautiful island. Growing new relationships with the guys, my teachers, and the dive masters made this trip so much more enjoyable. Being around a great group of people can really uplift your day, and throughout this trip, I was surrounded by a group of people that made each day more exciting. I couldn’t have asked for a better week. What an opportunity I was given, and I don’t think I took a moment of it for granted. Marine Biology has been, with no doubt, my favorite class that I have ever taken. I really hope and look forward to doing it again next year. The Cayman Islands now hold a special place in my heart, and I’m looking forward to the British Virgin Islands next year. No words could truly explain how grateful and passionate for the ocean and Jesuit Marine Biology I am. That was a once in a lifetime experience, and I lived every minute of it.