Monthly Archives: August 2017

Day 6 – Goodbye Paradise!

Early Morning: Float the Cut!
Have you ever greeted the dawn with a sunrise float down a gently meandering channel, surrounded by friends and spiny urchins, doing all you can to grab the rocky shore before getting swept out to sea? We did.

Down Island Trip: Caves, Bakery, Club Med Beach, and Ocean Hole
The rest of the morning and afternoon were spent on a tour of the island. We began our adventures at some caves, complete with spiders and bats. Nice!

 

After a quick stop at the local bakery, we made our way to a dazzling pink sand beach once the property of Club Med. Can you see why Club Med might want this property?

Ocean Hole is 600 . feet deep. There’s a jumping wall. We jumped.

Wow, we were pretty exhausted after a day of fun. But it wasn’t over yet. Because we leave tomorrow, we had to clean our spaces.

“My mom is going to be so proud when she heard I touched a toilet!” -Anonymous

We closed out our trip with a bonfire and s’mores. It was beautiful.

Up at 5 tomorrow for our long journey home. See you in Boston!

Day 5 – Run, Swim, Jump, Science!

6:30 AM, and they’re off! All of us in swimsuits and running shoes jumped off the pier and swam across the marina. Out of the water and into a run to the next cut. Another swim, another run. Up a wall, push-up wave, caterpillar sprints, BIG jump! Plastic pick up, swim home. That’s how we started our day.

Then breakfast.

For the morning activities we split into two groups to flip flop the experiences of yesterday – the Cage and Sandbar.

In an effort to investigate sustainable solutions to the over-fishing problem, the Cape Eleuthera Institute constructed an aquaculture net where they are able to investigate best practices for raising fish for food. The top of the pen begins 35 feet below the surface and the bottom of the pen is at 85 feet. The kids loved swimming in clear blue waters and seeing the schools of fish that passed by.

The other half of the group went to Paradise and back this morning. The sandbar is a tiny desert isle surrounded by 85 degree shimmering turquoise water. We anchored the boat, and let the current carry us to the magically smooth sand made up of “ooids.” This stuff sells for big bucks as emollient-to-the-rich-and-famous, so we rubbed it all over our bodies. No lightning today!

After lunch, another split. Both teams got a chance to leap off a high rock into the balmy ocean. This Island School tradition is longstanding, heart-pounding, and a perfect opportunity to conquer fears. The snorkeling along the rocky shoreline was dazzling. Some of us even saw a moray eel.The other half the afternoon fun was the second dissection of the trip. This time, students investigated lionfish anatomy. Guess what we had for dinner?

Look at these amazing jumps!

Ask your kid about the meme battle for evening activities. We laughed a lot.

Tomorrow: LAST DAY.

Overheard in the dorm this early morning: ” At first, time was going by so slowly and I thought the week would never end. Now it’s going way too fast! We only have two more days!”

The campus this evening.

Day 4 – Student Bloggers Speak the Truth!

Greetings! Today’s news comes to you from a self-selected squad of eager student journalists. As you will see, it was another action-packed 16 hours of challenge and learning (and some laughter). Some details have been highlighted and others left out entirely. Like all working journalists, these stories were written on a deadline and editing is minimal. Enjoy!

DCIM100GOPRO

ELLIE: Snorkeling in the sand bar quickly turned scary when a boom of thunder filled the air. We ran out of the water and onto the small patch of sand in the middle of the ocean. Seven of us crouched on the sand, counting the seconds in between thunder and lightning  and waited for the boat that had gone back to land to drop of the rest of the group. After what felt like a bajillion years the boat came into sight and we ran through the water to get to where it was anchored, about 200 feet from land. The waves were aggressive as we frantically climbed into the boat. Once safely back on land we realized how lucky we were to be “home.”

KYRA: While life at the Island School can be carefree and fun, there are responsibilities that come with it. We are reminded at many points during the day that we are not in the United States and we have to go out of our way to make the community run smoothly. For example, on the first day we headed to dinner as soon as we arrived. I enjoyed the delicious options and beautiful variety while talking with my friends. Feeling carefree, I cleared my plate and started to head towards my dorm, but I was stopped by the realization that I had a job to do when staff asked for volunteers. Some friends and I were lead to the kitchen where we spent roughly twenty minutes scraping, cleaning and putting away dishes. Everyone has to do this every few meals. Every time I remember that it is my turn to be on dish crew I get slightly worried, simply because it is another thing to keep track of. We also have to remember to be conscious of the water we use, where we put our trash, etc. There are so many fun things to do here and it is easy to forget the responsibilities of being in a new community.

LINDSEY: Everyday, after fun filled activities, we get two hours of “exploration time”. During this, we can do and go wherever we want. Today, after swimming through the mangroves, I was glad to relax on my bed for the whole of our free time. I have also done many other fun activities during this time. One day, I went swimming in the beach right outside our door with a group of people. We found starfish, and talked while sitting in the shallow water. Another day, the whole Brookwood group went out to a store to buy food. A lot of us (including me) had whole pints of ice cream. That was a very delicious but stomach ache inducing trip. Exploration time may be my favorite part of every day.

SOPHIA: I tasted the salt in my hair as it whipped through the wind. Though Micah (as usual) was on the brink of throwing up, we still had a blast as he spurted out his thoughts. For example, “Why can fish swim through water but we can’t fly through air?” and many more. As our boat pulled up to the mooring, we got on our gear and dove in. Under the choppy water we saw the huge cage, as promised. I grabbed Micah, my swim buddy, and we followed the little schools of sergeant majors (fish) and jacks. The cage looked about 50 yards in width, covered in algae and a wonderful home for the fish. Out of the corner of my eye I saw frantic pointing and shoving. I made my way to the scene. Everyone was circled above a shark! I put out a muffled “wow” through my snorkel and continued to explore. In a blink of an eye, we were on the boat on the way home, with more of Micah’s quease-induced thoughts, dreaming of those wonderful fish and shark.

ELLA: The strong current pulled at the group, leaving us struggling through the almost waist deep water. There was a short stop where we learned about the types of mangroves, and a short rhyme to help us remember them: “Red, red pointy head. Black, Black salty back. White, white hold on tight.” Of course being us we were all chattering loudly and laughing until we fell as the sandy ground dipped and swerved. Half way up the stream the teachers stopped us, challenging us to be quiet for at least 5 minutes. We all lasted till the end of the stream where we then waited for the sand to settle so we could begin the journey downstream. 5 minutes later we were all floating in the stream with our faces in the water. The current carried us and soon we were on our way. On the sides of the stream fish lurked in the root of the mangroves. There were yellow tailed, juvenile schoolmaster snappers, a brown spotted French snapper, and spiky, blown up pufferfish. Soon we were at the end of our adventure and it was time to go back to the vans for a short car trip back to the Island School.

ANNABELLE: Every day we are pleasantly surprised. All of the sudden the sky turns dark, and thunder crashes. Whenever the sky goes dark we all sigh because we know our drying clothes and towels will soon be soaked. The rain begins to pour loudly, and lightning strikes. Although this event usually ends up with soaking clothes and wet shoes, it’s quite beautiful. The lightning strikes the dark air and pierces the sky. But it doesn’t always turn out wetting our belongings. One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen is the heat lighting. Actually, as I am writing this, lighting is cracking the inky sky. The air is humid but there’s no rain or thunder in sight. Only five minutes ago I saw the shape of crooked light interrupting the sky. I feel that the heat lighting, and the thunder storms are a huge part of the Bahamian culture.

Oh, the drama!

Tomorrow we run, swim, snorkel, and eat some more. ‘Til then, we sleep. Good night!

Day 3 – Water Polo, Rays and CSD

Another big one!

We started the day off with a rousing game of water polo. Both teams played hard and the final score was a very close 10,004 to 10,005. You might think these busy children would be beat by 8 this morning, but the big game just gave them energy for more.

After breakfast we split. One group went to attempt to catch some rays, and not of the sunburn variety. No, we were looking for southern stingrays and Caribbean whiptail rays. After burning thousands of calories pushing through Deep Creek (which is not very deep at all), the first group managed to conquer some fears but not catch any beasts. The afternoon group, though, got lucky. They saw a lemon shark and a nurse shark, both juveniles, and caught a female Caribbean whiptail stingray. Be on the lookout for tag #1606.

 

 

 

 

The other half of the morning involved a tour of the Center for Sustainable Development. At the aquaponics system at CEI, tilapia are raised for eating, and the nutrient rich water from their tanks is continuously pumped into an aquaculture system to grow lettuces, herbs, and kale. In the garden, the kids picked basil for pesto sauce and lettuce for tomorrow’s lunch.

  

We wrapped up the day with a hands-on lesson on reef fish identification. Ask your kid to tell you the difference between a French grunt and a blue-striped grunt. Just ask.

Time for bed! Another big day tomorrow!