Last few days in paradise

Sadly all good things must come to an end and our time at The Island School was no exception. For our group (myself, Rebakah, Kelle and Laura) our final three days were spent investigating the distribution of sea urchins around Cape Eleuthera.  We ventured to sites every 500m around the Cape and snorkelled out to spot urchins, measure the rugosity where the urchins were and calculate surrounding algae cover. We also took samples of the sea water to work out pH and we swam with temperature loggers. All went smoothly apart from Kelle snorkelling into a Bull Shark, and myself and Becky being scraped over corals in extreme waves and currents and fighting thorny bushes to reach our sites! We found that one side of the Cape is populated with urchins and the other side is not, possibly due to the habitat on either side but we are still analysing our data. Our last day we used to shoot footage for our project video and we are very excited to put it all together!

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Lighthouse beach, Eleuthera

On Thursday evening, our lecturers and the staff at CEI were lovely enough to host a little send off party for all of us, and it was epic! We started with rum punch, Turkey burgers and making s’mores, and ended the night leaping around to Mr Brightside, crowd surfing and trying to copy lecturer Steve’s incredible dance moves. This was the perfect end to an unforgettable fortnight spend at The Island School and waving goodbye in the airport early on Friday morning made most of us a wee bit teary. Luckily we will be reunited in the yellow exchange at uni in a weeks time to reminisce on all the amazing experiences we have had over such a short period of time.

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One of the better pictures from Thursday night!

Landing in Nassau in the morning gave some of us enough time to visit Atlantis before we flew home that evening. As if it wasn’t exciting enough using our new knowledge of Caribbean reef species to identify nearly every fish in the aquarium, a member of the staff recognised our Island School t-shirts, as he had spent a semester there himself,  and took us on personal tour around the resort. To our amazement we were taken behind-the-scenes to the nursery of Green Sea Turtles and Southern Sting Rays, shown the tanks of injured or ill animals on the mend and where they grow red mangrove as part of a restoration project. The turtles they have at the resort have their very own nesting beach and we learnt about their project returning turtles back to the wild to see if they will nest on a different beach to the one they were born on. This was an incredible experience we couldn’t quite believe we were lucky enough to have and it was great to see that a commercial aquarium is carrying out conservation and restoration projects along with entertaining the public with their massively diverse exhibits.

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In love with the Turtle nursery at Atlantis

These past two weeks have taught us so many new skills, made us do things we never knew we could and has brought a group of near strangers into a big family. We were all so sad to leave such an idillic place and I know atleast four of us are applying for interships for next year. I would like to say a massive thank you to our amazing lectures being so passionate and supportive throughout the trip and of course to the Island School for having us and making us fall in love with marine life, you haven’t seen the last of us yet!

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vrb203    January 17th, 2016    Bahamas archive