On Monday, we were in full preparation mode. The island was slowly quieting, but our busy week was just beginning. On Tuesday afternoon we welcomed this year’s Sacred Heart University (SHU) field course! Led by Dr. Deirdre Yeater, this year’s group is a mix of SHU & Eckerd College students. We know it will be a fantastic program and we hope you enjoy all of the student-written field reports. The first one starts below! ~Kel & Nicole
We all met for the first time at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. We were scoping out strangers in the airport – trying to figure out who was in our group! With the awkward stares behind us, we boarded our little plane. We were surprised, but excited, to walk outside to get to the tiny, pink plane! For Corinne, it was our first time leaving the US! Others had never seen the propellers moving on a plane either…We thought the Fort Lauderdale coastline was beautiful. Until we reached Bimini that is! There were so many different shades of blue as we flew over the Gulfstream. As you got close to Bimini, you could easily see the ocean topography and tiny, tiny, Bimini. Next it was a “bus” ride to the water taxi. The drivers were, shall we say, welcoming. The water taxi was our first up close look at the water and it was as beautiful as it looked from the air. We arrived at the Sea Crest (boat to door service!), meeting Nicole & Kel for the first time, and settled in. We were pleasantly surprised with our rooms and amazed at being able to see the water from both sides! Showering while you watch the ocean is pretty cool!
Instead of naps, we went to the beach. Some of us napped on the beach, but not before our first snorkel. We saw a barracuda, a doctorfish, jacks and a school of translucent gray fish. We found lots of conch shells, some still pink and others bleached from the sun. Even when there were no fish to observe, just swimming over the rippling white sand was beautiful. Floating with the sea and exploring the rocks was lots of fun. Some of us had rumbling stomachs so we tested out the local crack conch. Yum!
In the afternoon, we had our first official class session with a great introduction from Nicole. We learned about DCP in general (all their research sites are fascinating!), the two species found around Bimini, and lots of brainstorming of future discussion topics. We discussed… in press article about the dolphin’s use of Bimini’s shoreline and talked about how the development of Bimini’s coastline’s might impact the dolphins over time.
After class, it was time for our relaxed, welcome BBQ on the dock. While we waited for dinner, we scoured the dock for life – we saw huge black sea urchins! We all got to know each other better over dinner and then, pretty tired, we headed back to our rooms. We prepared for tomorrow by going over readings and then crashed.
“The PEDuncadunks” (SHU 2015)