Location: West End

The end of the trip is always bittersweet. Bitter because of the hard goodbyes we have coming our way. Sweet because although the goodbyes can be rough, the memory of the past few weeks more than makes up for it. Over the past 21 days Blair, Sam, and I have had the privilege of getting to know thirteen amazing young men and women. Although our shipmates hail from nearly every corner of the globe and bring a wealth of personalities here to Mambo No. Five, they have come together to work as such a great fun team that you’d think we’d been sailing together for far longer. Their jokes, their hard work, their playful spirits, their serious questions-all will be truly missed when they leave for home in just a few hours. Even though the trip has been winding down, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been buckling down to finish those final few certs. Neptunes Ryo, Jonathan, Walker, Caleigh, Dough, Sean, and Brandon have been polishing their dive skills with the Wreck Diver specialty certification. They are also among the few and proud divers who can claim that they understand the inner workings of a regulator thanks to their Equipment specialty certification. We hope that none of them return home with any hand injuries after many intense games of Egyptian Rat Slap, a popular card game that even the staff have become very competitive over. As for our Dolphins, Timo, Lauren, Chloe, Lili, Quin, and Dani-we couldn’t be prouder of the work they’ve put into their research projects. Team Parrotfish delivered an excellent presentation on the feeding habits of Caribbean Parrotfish species and their subsequent environmental impact. Team Christmas Tree Worm also knocked it out of the park by delving into the coral habitat preferences of one of the Caribbean’s most popular invertebrates. That’s not to say that our shipmates were the only ones learning. We as staff were fortunate enough to have the kind of crew that taught us in turn- and helped us become better teachers, mentors, and friends. It was both an honor and a pleasure to live and work with such funny, dedicated, exuberant individuals. They will be missed.