December 21, 2003
|Letise Houser, Shipboard Education Coordinator|
Dr. Craig Cary, Chief Scientist, University of Delaware College of Marine Studies
is 5:30 a.m., and I am up on the bridge taking in the last images of
the cruise. I love this hour — the sun trying its best to cut
through the horizon where the sky waits in anticipation of the day.
The brightest of
For many, shore is a blessing, a comfort they have not felt in over
25 days. For me however, it is different. After so much preparation
(over a year) and anticipation for what might be accomplished during
the voyage, the adventure draws to a close — but I am really not
quite ready. This is not an uncommon feeling to me, in fact one I feel
each time I go to sea — it is just that I forgot and find myself
unprepared (as usual) to deal with the disappointment of it all ending.
me, in many ways, Extreme 2003 was no different. We came on board on
Nov. 29th with dreams of discovery and success and now will walk ashore
with coolers filled with that promise — samples from the deep
that may just answer those questions that brought us out here —
but maybe not. What if, in this brief moment that we were given, we
were unable to accomplish the task. Is that failure? Not in my mind
because no matter what happens, we learned more about the system we
work in, more about the process of science, and most importantly, more
about ourselves. These together are invaluable and will certainly provide
the new incentive to accomplish the task next time. This is what I believe
science is all about, building on past knowledge to strive further into
the realm of our natural world.
I rolled out of bed shortly after 8 a.m. and made my way up to the deck to gauge our progress — I see land! It was so close, but still more than an hour out of reach. Within that time, I showered and dressed. Then I had my breakfast out on deck, just so I could watch the shore come closer. The morning was hazy and cool, but the sun was trying to burst through the clouds. Before 10 a.m., Atlantis was tied to the dock. There was still last-minute packing to be done by several of the scientists. Some people will be flying out this afternoon, while others of us don’t leave Manzanillo until tomorrow morning.
With the time left in this tropical city, we will celebrate our safe return to port and the completion of a full and successful expedition. Thank you all for taking this journey with me. I hope you enjoyed it as much as, if not more than, I did. It has been a pleasure interacting with all of you and serving as your liaison “to the depths of discovery!”
|Copyright University of Delaware, November 2003|