Linkers return from The Island School, Bahamas

IS 2Ten Link students, along with two faculty chaperones, visited The Island School in Eleuthera, The Bahamas last week. They spent the week learning about the sustainability, the local marine life and Bahamian culture. They studied at the school, snorkeled to study the ocean floor, dissected isopods and lionfish, and explored the island to see the flora, fauns and learn about the island’s natural wonders. To prepare for this trip, students participated in a quarter-long elective class at Link where they learned a lot about the island and what they’d find once they arrived there. This eye-opening exposure for students was funded by generous donors to Link Education Partners.

Here is the diary of the week’s activities, written by the students:

Friday, April 7
Today was a really good day but tiring day for us. We were able to ride 2 flights and arrive at the Bahamas safely. The people at the Island School were very welcoming to us and gave us basic info about the Island School and what we will be doing in the next 7 days. We were introduced to how our lives will be at the Island School and they told us about the activities we will be doing tomorrow. We hope that you were not very worried about us and if we will be safe in this environment. Actually, we are having a great time here! We can’t wait to tell you about all the adventures we have during our stay here. Have a great night! ~Austin and Kasandra

Saturday, April 8
The second day at the Bahamas was one of the best days yet. At 6:30, we did our swim test and later that afternoon, we went snorkeling and saw some coral and fish under water. We had bagels and cereal for breakfast and chicken and rice for lunch. We also went to the 4th Hole Marina and did snorkeling in shallow water. This day was one of the best days of the entire trip so far. ~Janelle

Today I had dish duty and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. But today, god had answered my prayers. I walked in for dinner and I didn’t see just food, but I saw tacos! I was very excited and after that, we went to the Octagon for Fish ID. We saw and named every type of fish and its family. We played games to see who could match the fish to its family correctly and overall had a fun and wonderful day. Can’t wait for the next day! ~Cedric

Sunday, April 9
We started our day with playing Nuke ‘Em on the beach. The game got very competitive and interesting. After that, we took a Down Island trip to see two caves . One was a Bat Cave and a Water Cave. We went to a pink sand beach, ate lunch, and swam. The beach got its name due to algae ammonia (which means poop) which makes it pink. Then, we went to an old abandoned Club Med resort. We saw the dance floor and the swimming pool. Finally, we went to our destination. We gathered fire wood, set up tents, and did everything to be camp ready. We ran to go see the sunset, ate s’mores, and went to sleep listening to the calm waves while sleeping on the beach. ~Elizabeth and Amir
Monday, April 10
We slept in on the beach, and got up to a sunrise. We all brushed our teeth, got dressed for the day, and ate cereal. We left the beach, and went to the Sapphire Blue Hole. We all ended up jumping into the hole into the water. Then we went to the Preacher’s Cave. After that, we went to our trip leader Lydia’s favorite bakery, and got a lot of delicious pastries. After, we went to the Ocean Hole, and jumped in there as well. We swam with fish and snorkeled. We finally came back to campus, and took a refreshing shower, had steak and potatoes, and relaxed while watching a documentary on fish. ~Abolaji and Ajibola

Tuesday, April 11
Today, we started our day off by doing yoga at the boathouse. We then ate breakfast and got ready for our first activity. The 12 of us split into two boats hoping to catch a shark. Cedric and Amir cut out pieces of fish to bait the shark. The other five students were watching so that they can potentially bring in a shark. Lucky, we caught a nurse shark! BJ helped with measuring it and we felt its leathery skin. Later that day we worked on the Aquaponics system to plant lettuce and pick out larvae. Then, we worked at a local community garden with kids to plant vegetables such as sweet potato and carrot. After most of the work was finished, the boys went to play basketball with some Bahamian boys and won. Finally, we all came back and had a relaxing evening in the octagon with everyone before going for a night wade under the boathouse. We found some sea urchins, an anemone, a conch, and some bioluminescent sparkles in the water. ~Rodney and Janelle

Wednesday, April 12
Today we started our day off by going to the High Rock and jumping off of it. Michelle and Cassandra took a lot of convincing to jump off the rock and ended up jumping, which they thought was really fun. After that, we had oatmeal, muffins, and cereal for breakfast, which energized us for the day. Then, one of the island workers named Johnny took us to the farm and got us some delicious and fresh coconuts straight from the tree; everyone pretty much enjoyed it. Then we out on a rough boat ride to our trip leader Lydia’s favorite spot, which was called Sandbar beach and we played different games such as Birdie on the Perch and Marco Polo, which became extremely competitive, but ended up being fun. After that, we dissected a lion fish and many isopods because we couldn’t go out on our stingray adventure due to the weather. But the dissecting was very cool. We later on went out to eat at Sharil’s, where we ate fried chicken, ribs, mac and cheese, fried lion fish, rice and peas, and corn, which was all very delicious and hearty. We finally went out on a peaceful Night Hike, checking out an abandoned resort. We saw many interesting things and saw many beautiful stars. We enjoyed our night and hoping for another great last day tomorrow. ~Michelle, Kasandra and Janlle

Thursday, April 13
It’s been a great trip, but it all has to come to an end. This morning, we started our day by getting on a boat and heading over to the aquaculture cage which is stationed about 100 feet deep in the middle of the ocean. We went and snorkeled and saw a fish called a jack that was longer than one of our guides, Violet, was tall. On the way back, it was a really bumpy ride and the waves were going crazy and crashing all over us. Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Snyder got completely soaked even though they didn’t get in the water. After we got back to campus, we went to breakfast, which was eggs, grits, and sausage. Then, we took a drive to Lighthouse Beach, which is supposedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole world. The road was too bumpy to drive all the way to the beach, so we had to walk at least 45 minutes in the hot sun to our destination. We felt consumed by the heat, but our efforts were rewarded by the sights of palm trees, pine trees, beautiful pinkish white sand, and aqua-colored water. After we played in the water for a while, we ate lunch. Some of us saw a stingray in the water right by us. We were scared and ran out of the water, but Austin was just snorkeling and he didn’t even know that the stingray was right beside him! But he was totally fine. Then we went for a little hike up a hill to see the old lighthouse that the beach is named after. We found a private little stretch of beach between two rock outcroppings and played in the water for a while. Then we walked back to the van (another 45 minutes in the hot sun!), drove back, and cleaned up our dorms and packed. We had dinner then tried to have a bonfire on the beach, but it was too windy, so we went to Hallig House and roasted marshmallows over the stove and ate them with homemade chocolate chip cookies. We ended our evening by circling around a votive candle instead of a fire, and played Rose Bud Thorn, our favorite way to debrief at the end of the day. We all said what our favorite parts of the trip were (Rose), what we didn’t like (Thorn), and then what we hoped to take with us back home, or how the trip changed us in some way (Bud). We had a great heart to heart, then we ran around and had some more fun before turning in to bed early so we can be refreshed for our long journey home tomorrow. ~Entire Island School Expedition Group

Friday, April 14
The flight home!

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