Day 15: finale

And so the final day has arrived. We all woke up early to pack, had a final breakfast, and loaded into Captain Buck’s fancy boat. Today was exceptionally hot—by 7 o’ clock I was already sweating, and normally the heat only begins around 9 or 10. So the wind in my hair from the boat trip was a big relief, and though I was sad to be leaving, I was happy to be doing it in such style.

We had two stops along the way. The first was at another research station, much smaller than ours, this one owned by the Smithsonian. It was an incredible island, you could throw a ball from one side of it to the other. The station itself was colored in pastel paints and very cozy. We got a quick tour of the place, and looked at their experiments. They had many tanks of clear water housing two common Caribbean corals and their hybrid, which tends to be more heat-resistant than either of the parent species. We also got a great view from their patio, at the sea beyond the reef crest.

The set up of Carrie Bow’s coral lab.
The view from the patio at Carrie Bow.

After this we went snorkeling in the mangroves for about thirty minutes before heading to the airport. We had lunch at the restaurant on the pier of Belize City along with Javier and Rose, and said our goodbyes and took pictures. The bus driver alerted us that the van’s air conditioning had broken, and that he was sorry for the inconvenience. We all cheered (and I internally laughed, as we hadn’t had air conditioning in two weeks) and piled in anyway, for the final stretch of road in Belize.

The flight was good, I listened to music for all of it. Claire’s dad flew us again! It was a surprise for all of us. He waved from the cockpit and I did a double take upon seeing him, and then he gave us another shout-out before he took off. We arrived in Houston at around 8 o’ clock, and I got home at around 10 o’ clock, exhausted and still full of saltwater. I took a shower and passed out, unable to believe we had really spent two weeks in Belize, in the rainforest and in the sea.

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