Over the past two weeks two things have made them selves clearly self-evident. One: those pale 15 strangers that met at the airport a seemingly eternity ago are no longer pale; and two: the experiences we have shared have no doubt created a bond that has only become stronger with each passing adventure.
Each morning we wake up eager to start the day’s activities. Sometimes our own Annie MacCarthy leads the morning with some relaxing yoga. A perfect way to start the day. Perhaps further motivation comes from the breath-taking view right outside our doorstep. Professors Ed, Alex, and Aaron each have shared fascinating insight to the world of marine protected areas. The past week mostly consisted of students chattering and mumbling to themselves the scientific names of the local species. Holothuria mexicana (Sea Cucumber), Abudefduf saxatilis (Seargeant Major fish), Aetobatus narinari (Spotted Eagle Ray), oh my! After many days of relentless studying, the day of the test arrived and it was safe to say everyone did an excellent job on identifying the local flora and fauna.
When we’re done studying, we make our way into the local town of Cockburn Harbor eager to meet the locals and learn of their culture, customs and of course, FOOD! Saturdays on community outreach, the kids teach us so much about their passions and culture, and their excitement is certainly contagious. In the town there is so much to learn, whether its Domino competitions with the local pro Sweet Papa, grabbing sweet sweet ice’ies, or getting our fill of conch fritters from the already infamous Daryl’s.
The adventures don’t end on land; some of the most spectacular moments we have shared on this trip have been beneath the waves. As the divers and snorkelers gear up each week for amazing underwater adventures, there are constantly new surprises waiting for us. One dive brought about the luck of witnessing a whole squadron of 15 eagle rays! Other divers had the incredible experience of scuba diving with a few dolphins who were also reveling in the beauty of South Caicos.
Now the bug spray bottles are emptying, the salt-water showers have become the norm, and laundry is done in the ocean, it is great to see how much fun we can have while participating in low environmental impact activities. We can see directly how our actions play a role in the health of the local flora and fauna; we can start to help teach the local community of the importance of coral reefs and waste management. Its great to not just believe in such things but to live them as well.
I look forward to our continuing adventures and hope that with all that we have learned thus far, our group can help make the rest of the world as beautiful as South Caicos.