Arianne Evans ’16, Ellie Koschik ’17, and Helena Tebeau ’17 recount an active, surprise-filled day:
Hey from the Bahamas! Fun fact: Did you know that the word Bahamas (Baha Mar) means shallow water in Spanish?
Today [Friday], we started the morning with a sunrise bike ride to High Rock, a ledge over the water that we all got to jump off of. Our leaders told us it was a rite of passage for Island School students and guests. After we all had a chance to jump and watch the sunrise, we biked back to campus for breakfast (oatmeal bar!).
All thirteen of us piled into the back of the van and rode to Half Sound, where we worked with the turtle research team to collect seagrass data and catch juvenile green sea turtles. The morning was full of measuring and identifying seagrass and algae. On the way back to lunch, our research leader let us touch a sea anemone, which feels like a suction cup on your hand. As we started passing around sandwiches, Ms. Valk and Robin came onto the beach holding baby turtles. We were all really excited to pass them around and feel their shells and skin. One of the highlights of lunch was watching people in the group try to find shade in the limited amount of brush in the mangroves.
We did one more data trial after lunch and then the group tried—to no avail—to chase and catch more sea turtles. Back on dry land, we had to air out the smoldering hot van before piling back in and driving to our next activity. Our leaders did not tell us where we were going, so we were surprised when we pulled up to a place called “Ocean Hole,” which we learned is connected to the ocean through a series of canals that scientists still have not found to this day. The hole is more than six hundred feet deep and we were able to jump off one of the surrounding ledges (lots of jumping today). Some of us snorkeled while others sun bathed and had contests on who could make the greatest splash.
Once we were done at the Ocean Hole we made our way to the next “surprise” spot. To keep ourselves entertained in the car our group belted out the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Deerfield Cheering Song.” We pulled up to a dirt road, followed our leader down a path and found ourselves crawling into a cave that felt like we were on the Indiana Jones ride. We tried to find the Geocache box hidden there but unfortunately were unable to locate it amongst the cob webs and tree routes.
Our last stop of the afternoon was at a local popsicle shop where we each got to pick a flavor of either passion fruit or tamarin. They were super good and necessary after a long day in the sun.
Back on campus some of us biked to the Marina shop with Ms. Valk and hung out as we ate our snacks and drank some soft drinks. Dinner was burgers and fries!
Then we went around campus foraging for herbs and other plants and fruits to make a bush tea out of. Trent pulled a coconut from a tree, and we pulled mint leaves from the aquaponics garden. Once we had all of our ingredients, we headed over to a Deerfield alum’s (Leigh Schmitt ’90) house, who invited us over to make tea and hang out for the evening. We all played cards, ate popcorn and had a good time. When the tea was done, we all got to try it and it was great! Lots of laughs and good times today. Can’t wait for tomorrow!