Posted: July 12, 2017

Ever had a dream that when you woke up you either wrote it down or immediately went looking for someone to tell it to? Our time here on South Caicos has been that dream and this is my attempt to capture every moment of it in a brief instant.

If someone had told me eight months ago that I would willingly give up taking a hot freshwater shower every night or willingly wake up before eight AM, I would have laughed and called them crazy. Now, even after just a month, I long to come back and do this again. To once more be a part of the community here.

This trip has opened my eyes to a world of wonder and beauty that often gets overlooked in our day to day routines. It’s so easy to take for granted the food we eat, where we sleep, and the connections to the world around us that we have. However, with our normal lives partially stripped away, as we gave ourselves to become part of this community in Cockburn Harbour, we found ourselves growing closer together as a group. The bonds we have shared both on the water and working together on land have knit us together regardless of our individuals backgrounds.

Our days were partially filled with fun as we spent our time snorkeling and diving around the reefs in the area, seeing turtles, Southern sting rays, nurse and lemon sharks and a variety of fish. However, as a group of scientists, just seeing the marine organisms was not good enough. We were taught the scientific names of a variety of organisms so that we no longer looked at a reef and saw a continuous swirl of color, but instead we began to understand the different parts and pieces that made up the ecosystem.

However, we did not just come to learn about the species, but we sought to learn how to protect and maintain these organisms. As such, we spent a large portion of our time understanding the potential effects of MPAs and looked at how to both maintain it from a social perspective, but also from the ecological perspective. We applied this in the field by creating an Outdoor Resource Management plan for one of the bays and then assessed the growth and density of Queen Conch (Lobatus gigas) in the East Harbor Lobster and Conch Reserve.

Now, as I prepare to return to life outside of the center, I can’t help but imagine what greater things will continue to be done here. How lives will be changed and new eyes will be opened. This month has not been nearly long enough, but it is where this chapter of the story here ends. And so, to the people of the island, the staff at the Center for Marine Research Studies, and the greater SFS community, I just want Now , as I prepare to return to life outside of the center, I can’t help but imagine what greater things will continue to be done here. How lives will be changed and new eyes will be opened. This month has not been nearly long enough, but it is where this chapter of the story here ends. And so, to the people of the island, the staff at the Center for Marine Research Studies, and the greater SFS community, I just want to say thank you for giving us the experience of a lifetime.

→ Marine Resource Studies in the Turks & Caicos Islands