January 8th was our first full day at the Island School, which is located on the southern cape of Eluethera. This morning we woke up at 7:00 am for a little run and and at the half way point Annie put us through a little abdominals workout! The Island school provided breakfast, which was then followed by a tour of the campus. I thought it was really cool because the island school is self-sustainable and is very efficient at reusing energy. The pigs eat the left overs from the school, the fishes waste water is filtered to nourish the plants where it is then recycled back with the fish. The Island School also gets its energy from solar panels and wind turbines.
After the tour we had a swimming test before we either went SCUBA diving or snorkeling. We took two boats out, one with the divers and the other with the snorkelers. Once we arrived at Tunnel Rock the snorkelers went out had a great time looking at the fish from above or free diving about ten feet under and taking pictures of the fish or the other group diving. As for the divers we (Annie, Allison, Christian, Brody and myself) first had to go through some basic skills with the SCUBA guide Ron. These skills included a mask clear, regulator removal (taking oxygen supply out of mouth and then retrieving it), and a bouancy test. Once we were done we were off to explore the Tunnel Rock at a depth of about 30 feet. There were all sorts of rockfish, angel fish, rays, jelly fish and snappers. After swimming through a half opened cave our instructor Ron spotted a lion fish. Lion fish are an invasive fish to the waters of the Bahamas and eat a lot of the native species. The Island Schools has an active Lion fish research program http://www.ceibahamas.org/lionfish.aspx. We continued our dive for about another 20 minutes and about 5 minutes before we were going to start the ascent our instructor spotted a Hammerhead shark about 7 to 9 feet in length about 40 feet away from us! This SCUBA diving trip was awesome and so much better then diving in the Oregon coast. There was way better visibility and the water was way warmer, when diving in Oregon the water temperature was 45 degrees compared to the 75 degree waters today in the Bahamas. I think we plan on diving at least one more time before we head back the states.
After diving we went out to dinner at Coco Palms, which is a local restaurant in Eleuthera and our server Avion. After we were done eating Avion talked about the culture of their settlement and showed us some amazing costumes that they made for this last years Junkanoo. The local people on this island are so welcoming and friendly this is definitely a place I could get used to visiting!
One last thing right now some of the chicks are freaking out because there is a cockroach in their bathroom… Kelsey keeps screaming and crying.