by Eric Hagen [slideshow]

We joked that our parents would have to come visit us at the end of the week because we weren't going back to the United States. Amazingly, though, our stay has come to an abrupt end, and our normal days in Orlando, without ORCA showers, giant cobia, or “If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down,” must unfortunately resume. But the ecologically beneficial and ultimately fun lessons we learned here, from archeology to conservation, will be engrained in our memories from the  nuances of this fantastic trip for the rest our lives.

We hope we can make a t-shirt to remember this once-in-a-lifetime experience, all the esoteric quotes only the ten or so of us will understand written on the back: “We broke our Jaime!” and “PLP forever!” and “Rock out with your conch out!” and “I got a rock” and so on. These were creations of our endeavors on Broad Creek Cay, where we dug for days in the hot sun for 1200s and 1400s Lucayan pottery and shells and other remains, surrounded by the serene Caribbean landscape. We watched two documentaries on Bahamian wildlife and the detriments of fisheries, performed vigorous morning exercise (at which an Island School student would scoff), and the girls even got a chance to converse with your very... nice boys. Dish crew was anything but a chore, and washing dishes at home will be super lonely. Our own Mama J (Mrs. Justice the chaperone) will have to close off next year's trip to everyone but our same group of 7 people!

Let it be known the world is a better place for both humans and other organisms because of you. We will never forget this place. Now we have to fill out evaluation forms, and I'm pretty sure our responses are predictable...