3 green turtles, 2 barracuda, and a lemon shark in a mangrove tree

It’s been nearly four days on Cape Eleuthera and we are all in love with the place and the ocean already. I’m that overwhelmed by it all that I’ve completely fallen behind with blogging, that’s how good it really is. We’ve learnt all about the institute which is ran sustainably; they use denim jeans for insulation in the roof and recycled plastic for the floors – genius! They also use Aquaponics which combines both aquaculture and hydroponics and involves raising aquatic organisms and cultivating plants in water. We were shown around these systems which was truly spectacular to see how it all worked!

We had already been warned that our enthusiastic lectures had a Geocaching activity planned for us and so the afternoon involved 26 students cycling around the island, frantically looking for several clues. Attempting this whilst half the team had broken bikes or chains falling off made this quite a trek but it was great to discover a few of the islands great scenic spots. Myself and my team somehow managed to end up in the midst of the woods with no clue of our whereabouts, and so by the time we came back to the institute, we were ready for bed!

Later on those of the lucky few who could scuba dive (including myself) experienced probably their most intense diving induction, which involved having to put all our kit on blindfolded! This hyped up the students however who would now be ready for their first dive here in the Bahamas.

At 6:15am sharp the dive group headed to get their kit ready and whisked off to the dive site, “Sumting to See” – the Bahamians and their unique dive site names really shined through here. We all buddied up and soon enough we ready to go! As we descended into the water I couldn’t believe how crystal clear the water was, we could see for miles and miles. Throughout the dive we saw a wide variety of fish, ranging from a Barracuda to a Squirrel fish to the Bahamas famous Nassau Grouper. We all felt extremely overwhelmed when exiting the sea, now we really were buzzing to get in the water as much as possible to see the variety of life.

After an incredibly quick breakfast we set off in our separate groups for the day, me being on Team Coral and ready for a day with some turtles; the whole bus could not stop grinning with excitement at the thought of it. After the drive to the beach we were soon laying out the purse seine net, ready to catch some turtles! Our first attempt failed, however a few girlish screams from some students located us to our first Spiny Lobster of the trip. Our second attempt however was much more successful with us catching three green turtles, everyone was overjoyed (and ready for their turtle’s selfies of course). As a group we wrote down their measurements, and were even given the job of naming them – which followed as Bernard, Shark bait, and Sasha. Seeing turtles was the one thing out of everything I was most hoping to see, so seeing three on our second day was something I was extremely grateful of.

Sadly, we couldn’t stay all day and after releasing them and watching them swim out to sea, we drove back to the institute. Straight away we were back out again in our Bioblitz team trying to find and name as many species as possible. My team managed to spot some needlefish, two types of rays, and hundreds of fish!

So the past few days have proved to be jam packed full of turtles, lemon sharks for the Mermaid group, and mist netting occurring in the early mornings. You may read this and think surely this is some kind of holiday, but we are working extremely hard too and we are all looking forward to what the next few days bring, albeit minus the rain and thunder that has surprised us this morning!

Photo took by Rebekah Trehern

A juvenile green turtle. Photo took by Rebekah Trehern.

Team turtle with Bernard and Sasha the juvenile green turtles

Team turtle with Bernard and Sasha the juvenile green turtles.

Photo took by Lucy Twitcher.

A prairie warbler caught during mist netting. Photo took by Lucy Twitcher

eew204    January 6th, 2016    Bahamas archive