Erin Howe ’20 and Mira Binzen ’20 share their first day experiences at the Cape Eleuthera Institute.
Erin Howe ’20
I feel like I have a brand-new sleep schedule that consists of waking up at precisely four-fifteen in the morning, getting on the road at five, frantically searching for coffee before I faint at the airport, travelling nearly all day, and sleeping sometime around ten at night. Two days in a row the group has followed this routine after we missed our connection to Eleuthera yesterday afternoon. All my worries left when we ended up staying at a modest but beautiful hotel on a little hill by the ocean in Nassau. I think all 14 of us felt like we gained a breath of fresh air when we sat peacefully at the outside tables before dinner. The food was incredible and some of us took a swim in the very blue water just before eating, washing away our extremely long travel day.
Arriving in Eleuthera at nine the next morning, I was in awe of the fact that we had just landed in a small airport in an even smaller plane. Our leaders from the Island School greeted us with smiles and questions about our previous unplanned night in Nassau, and proceeded to drive us to the Cape Eleuthera Institute and Island School, which I have learned are right next to each other. We later learned during our scavenger hunt of the property that the vans they drove us in completely run on bio diesel, a sustainable kind of diesel that is made from vegetable oil, mixed with methane, and produces byproducts that can be used in numerous other ways. We spent the rest of the scavenger hunt finding pigs, jellyfish, and exploring the sustainable home the institute has built, equipped with green roofs, solar panels, and double-pane windows.
I have been so incredibly pleased with the kindness of the people in the Bahamas and love the culture of greeting nearly everyone you see. Tomorrow, we get the treat of sleeping until six o’clock instead of four o’clock, and we won’t have to see another plane for a week.
Mira Binzen ’20
After enjoying our delicious lunch with some roasted pork and potato salad, the group made our way over to the nearest rocky shore to look at the sunlit blue water. I have never been to the Bahamas before, so seeing this beautiful water was one of the best firsts of this trip so far. After skipping some rocks, we headed back to the dorms to quickly put on our bathing suits, grab our masks and snorkels, and head over to the boathouse.
Before continuing on to our swimming expeditions, we all had to take a brief swim test. The water was so warm and the instructors were so kind. Then, right after we all passed the 50-foot swim test, we headed over to the van and made our way over to our next activity: snorkeling. This was another new thing that I hadn’t actually tried before. So many new experiences in just the first day!
After walking 10 minutes along the shore of the beak and making our way up a mangrove, we put on our masks and snorkeled all the way back to the end of the mangrove. We saw puffer fish, intricate mangrove root systems, and even a stingray. Once we were done swimming around with our group, we walked back along the beach and headed back to campus. Now we have a two-hour break to explore around and rest after our very eventful day. I’m currently sitting in a gazebo on the beach, looking over the water and writing this brief blog. I can’t wait for the rest of this week at this beautiful place.