Life here on South Caicos has been quite busy recently, but so much fun. About two weeks ago, we came back from our field trip to North and Middle Caicos and Providenciales. The trip gave us a chance to experience life on the other islands, which varies widely. From the Conch Bar Bat Caves and beautiful beaches of Middle Caicos to the resorts and dive shops of Provo to the fishing community on South, there’s definitely a wide variety of lifestyles here in the Turks and Caicos Islands. After the field trip, we enjoyed a much needed spring break, with all of the hot showers and fresh water we could ask for. I know I speak for all of us, however, when I say how good it is to be back at the Center.

Following break, we had an intense week of classes and field exercises for Marine Ecology. We learned some common techniques for surveying mangroves, sea grass beds, and coral reefs. It was great getting back into the field to collect data, as well as learning how to monitor those habitats. Those exercises linked into our Directed Research projects, which started last week. For example, I get to use the techniques we learned in Marine Ecology for my project, which looks at fish abundance as part of a larger study on the effects of climate change.

On research days, we dive once in the morning and once in the afternoon, in addition to watching footage from our baited remote underwater videos (BRUVs). The days are long and there’s a lot of data, but when you’re doing what you love it doesn’t seem so hard. Now that we’ve been on a couple of dives, we’re settling into a routine and the fish names are coming easier. I’m eager to see how the data comes out at the end of the semester! With finals fast approaching and our time on South drawing to a close in just about a month, I reflect on how lucky I am to be here, and to be a part of the community that we’ve created. Even though we are busier than ever, I hope to be able to appreciate the rest of our time here.

Peace, love, and eagle rays.