We arrived at The Island School in the late afternoon on Wednesday. After moving in to the Cape Eleuthera Institute dorms and a quick orientation meeting, the seventeen students from the three different schools, Deerfield Academy, Glenlyon Norfolk School, and Collingwood School, walked over to the dining hall where we ate on an open deck patio and met multiple Island School students. At dinner, I met a Deerfield Alum from the class of 1990 who jokingly said, “You should all get a free pass on your work from your teachers because we are widening your horizons intellectually and spiritually.” Leigh Schmitt grew up in Deerfield and now teaches human ecology at The Island School.
The dish crew at the Island School reminded me of Deerfield’s dish crew and when everyone had gotten seconds, they turned on the music and got to work. The Island School doesn’t have a dishwasher so being on dish crew entails working together and cleaning all the dishes! Amazingly this experience was really fun and I was able to get to know multiple students who had just completed their first month of an 100-day program at The Island School. Though the piles of dishes were huge, working together we were able to clean them fairly quickly. We then did some awesome team building activities and went to bed, exhausted from the day of traveling, but excited for the days to come!
This morning we woke up at 6:00 am to be ready to snorkel by 6:30! Though we were all a little tired, the ocean was very refreshing and the view we got to see as we walked to the boathouse was spectacular. After lunch, we all loaded on to the shark research boat to head out and launch the Medusa. The Medusa is a robot type camera that can capture video at depths of up to six thousand feet. We were told how it works and even got to here some of the noises it makes to interact with the control box up on the boat. The Medusa being used at The Island School is the only one in existence and was the same one used to capture famous footage of a giant squid off the coast of Japan last year. The researchers at CEI and The Island School are using it to do research on deep sea sharks.
In the late afternoon we went to the Deep Creek Middle School. We were all matched with a student and enjoyed playing reading games with them on the school’s ten laptop computers. Afterwards, we went outside and played duck-duck-goose with the kids and let them take pictures on our cameras. I noticed how they almost liked taking the pictures on the cool cameras more that they liked being in them, but there were plenty of smiles to go around and every visiting student had an awesome time.