Life on South Caicos is certainly not dull. We have been here for close to six weeks now, and I have loved every minute of it. Our days here are never the same. We rise early in the morning and start off with breakfast and a morning meetings, and then we jump head-first into the day’s activities. This can be anything from scuba diving for a coral assessment, pretending to think like marine policy enforcement officers out in the Marine Protected Area, or sitting in the classroom for a lecture.
Wednesdays and Saturdays are reserved for waterfront activities and community outreach, and have come to be my favorite days here on South Caicos. On Wednesdays, I help teach a science class at the local high school. Currently, we are discussing biomes and the different geographical regions, characteristics, and properties of each. The students in my class are always so excited to have a student from The School for Field Studies in the classroom with them. It is truly a highlight of their week. On Saturdays, I teach adult swim lessons in the ocean near the center. One of the neatest things about living in such a small community like South Caicos is being continuously involved with different community members. The high school teacher that I work with on Wednesdays comes to my swim lessons on Saturday!
Wednesdays and Saturdays are also great because of diving. I have been an avid diver for a number of years, and the diving on South Caicos is some of the greatest I’ve seen. The reefs are rather healthy when compared to other sites around the Caribbean, and we see sharks, turtles, eagle rays, and stingrays practically every time we get in the water. It’s absolutely incredible!
The abundant ocean life here provides us with ample opportunities for our Directed Research projects. My project will involve interviewing local fishermen to gather local ecological knowledge and applying that to assessing the historical conch and lobster fishing patterns of South Caicos, the most important fishing community in the Turk & Caicos Islands.
I can’t believe that it’s already been six weeks here on the Big South, and I am looking forward to all that the next month and a half hold for us here at the SFS Center for Marine Resource Studies!