Safely to Spain

Hello! My name is Rylin Duster and I am a sophomore from Oregon State University. I study Environmental Science with an emphasis in Aquatic Biology. I was really fortunate to be invited to sail on the Joides Resolution, where scientists are studying cores from the Hellenic Volcanic Arc region in the Mediterranean Sea. Life at sea has been better than I ever could have imagined, and I hope this is a first of many expeditions for me!

Today began earlier than most because we were heading into the port of Tarragona. I was up at 5:45 A.M. to take my daily Covid test, have breakfast, and wait for the sun to rise. The pilot got on the JR at 8:00 and we made it into port by 8:40. After watching the sunrise and experiencing the excitement of making it to Spain, we did some reflection on the many first experiences we have all had during this trip. Answers ranged from traveling solo internationally to seeing bioluminescent jellyfish, making smear slides from core samples, and partying on the Mediterranean! Speaking for the group, I think I can say we are all beyond grateful for the memories and friendships made over these two weeks. We then had time to work on some of our projects and got plenty of laughs in seeing different skits, puppet shows, and poetry based on the book A Brief History of Life on Earth. Afterwards, we had free time to explore Tarragona. My night consisted of a picnic on the beach and roaming the streets, taking in the culture and architecture that makes the city so unique – the perfect night, if you ask me!

Overall, this experience has been very eye opening for me not only as a young scientist, but also as a growing individual. I truly cherish the individuality and diversity of my peers: I never expected to have formed such strong bonds on this trip, but we are already discussing a JR Academy reunion! I can’t wait to see what they all accomplish in the future of science. I also want to give a huge shout out to our wonderful mentors for making this a possibility, and for being welcoming, inspiring role models to us undergraduate students. Cheers to making it safely to Spain!

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