Going Home…

I can't believe it's over. I am now sitting at the airport, waiting to board my flight back to Toronto, Canada… where there will be no oceans, no hydrothermal vents and none of the amazing people I've had the opportunity to meet and befriend over the last two weeks. I have never felt so sad to be saying good bye. But I am extremely grateful to have had such an incredible opportunity – to be thrown into the midst of leading experts from several oceanographic fields and to be a part of an ocean-going science team is a priceless experience. Over the last two weeks the crew, scientists and studnets of Visions'11 felt like my family. Having spent eight months studying hydrothermal vents in isolation at the University of Western Ontario, I can't express how happy it made me to find people with similar interests. Under such conditions, it was difficult to remember to regularly update this blog…

Some highlights of the trip for me have been:

– many, many late nights watching ROPOS traverse the ocean floor, exploring hydrothermal vents, lava flows, collapse features, and other stunning features of the deep deep sea; with narration from John Delaney and Deb Kelley.

– Helping Giora with CTD sampling for helium, methane and hydrogen. Learning how to use the gas chromatograph, prepare samples for helium isotope analysis and looking at the data afterwards

– hydrothermal vent mineralogy and deep sea geology lessons from Alden Denny

– Helping Monica prepare hydrothermal chimney samples for biological analyses back at the lab as she starts her second year of her masters…also very very late at night!

– Learning to crochet and make a butter pie crust (you need ICE COLD water, AND a food processor) from Sarah the cook, and playing guitar with her husband Gray; taking many a nap in Sarah's hammock on the bow of the Thompson- definitely my favorite nap spot on the ship!

– Watching stars and learning constellations from Giora, Cody and Tim

– Poetry night!

– presentations by Tim and Giora on the BP oil spill and plastics in the ocean respectively – oceanography and environmental science are totally, 100% integrate-able!!!!!

– Going to Gas Works on my last night in Seattle with Adrian, Audrey and Alden – the A team indeed!

– A night spent on the town in Victoria with amazing people

… This is not an experience I am going to forget. As they are calling for boarding now it's time to sign out. I hope I see all of these people again some day and I can't wait to do more science aboard the Thompson!