This week we said ‘bon voyage’ to an amazing group of students, staff and crew from Seatrek Fathoms. They graced us with their presence for 10 days of science, fun, research, snorkeling, and much much more.
A new experience for the education team with the group staying aboard their 65ft sailing schooner named the Avalon. Each day the group made it to land and delved into our program. The focus of this trip was for the students to really get an idea of how a remote field station functions, all the differing aspects of research at CEI and the reality of setting reachable research goals.
We began our trip with a day sharking out with Owen and his team. It was quite the day long-lining with both the Dave & Di and the Avalon, giving all the students an opportunity to be first hand part on the long-lining crew, switching out with the observers stationed on the Avalon. The day was successful, hooking one Reef Shark, all the students were able to see how shark research works out in the field, and it was a great day had by all.
Getting a holistic CEI experience included a cage dive, giving the students a look into offshore aquaculture. This, alongside setting up a service project in the farm, solidified permaculture and what it is to live a permaculture lifestyle. From this, students really understood that it is a combination of all different techniques that make up the word and culture of ‘Permaculture’.
We had a great couple days out on the island, completing a community service project in Rock Sound Ocean Hole Park and enjoying the beauty of Lighthouse Beach. We started with a trash clean up, followed by clearing shrubs and trees blocking an access road to the Ocean Hole, also removing large trash from the coppice. This was eye opening for the students to visually see the impact of trash on such a small area.
Following this the students split into their three teams for the research portion of the trip; Sharks, Bonefish, and Patch Reefs. For 3 days we conducted our research out in the field; Sharks and Bonefish teams headed to the mangrove flats, and patch reef team out to the Bight of Eleuthera to survey the patches. This research culminated in a professional research presentation on the last day of their trip, which all students performed at the highest level. Members of our community attended and only had great things to say about the students and their work!
Overall this was an amazing trip for Seatrek and CEI to be partners in. The students went away with a better understanding of the Bahamas, CEI, research and connecting what they already knew about marine life with what the Cape has to offer. We want to wish all aboard the Avalon good luck in the future. Don’t forget about us here at CEI, and we hope to see you soon!
You can check out Seatrek's day by day blog at: http://www.seatrekbvi.com/fathoms/2013-biologist-s-log/?start=0