Adventure Awaits on South Caicos

Posted: July 21, 2016

Image credit: Macey Rafter

Our first week on South Caicos has been an adventure full of many new experiences. When I arrived on the island I immediately noticed how beautiful and clear the water was; free of trash and pollution. There is a lot to adjust to, starting with the temperature change from 70 degrees in my home of La Jolla, California to 90 degrees and sticky here in South Caicos. Within one week my lifestyle has already completely changed. I enjoy the pace of my life here in South Caicos because it is simple and surrounded by an environment that has so much to offer.

This week we have had a few lectures that focus on getting us comfortable with the marine and terrestrial environment that we will be living in for the next few weeks. The professors have also introduced the three projects and we will be working on this session that will help us to compose our final research papers. These include looking at different shark populations, researching the local fisheries on South, and taking a social science approach to the local foodways of the island. I am excited that we will be collecting data on all the projects, but at the same focusing on one particular research question that will help benefit the island when writing my final paper.

Image credit: Chris Casaclang

Since we have yet to start our projects and haven’t had many assignments so far, a lot of us like to spend our time down by the pool, playing card games, and going out and exploring the island. My favorite place that we have snorkeled so far was Admiral’s Aquarium, where I saw two nurse sharks and a southern stingray for the first time. It was an amazing experience seeing all these organisms that I have certainly studied before but have never had the chance to experience up close. We have also visited local mangrove habitats, where we got to see a lot of different fish species. The coral reefs are full of life and are amazing places to explore here on the island. They are unlike anything I’ve ever encountered in La Jolla and I am grateful to be able to have such an experience.

Image credit: Macey Rafter

It is also very rewarding to walk through the town and greet the locals. The best part of the program so far has been adapting to a new lifestyle that is very different from my own. It has already taught me a great deal about how complicated the American lifestyle can be versus the pace of life here on South Caicos. Overall, I am forming a lot of friendships with all of my amazing fellow students here for the second summer session. We are not only giving back to the community with our research, but we are also learning about ourselves and how to adapt to a new environment.

Image credit: Macey Rafter

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