Student Update: Research Class

Island School students have been busy these past few weeks with academics. With only two more weeks before 8-day kayak rotations start, classes are in full gear. Student Margaret Kelly reflects on a recent research class.

I have had many life changing experiences so far, but one experience so far has really stuck out and stayed with me. On one Friday during my research class, my group went out into the field. I am a part of the Deep-Sea Biodiversity research group and for our field day we were going out into the Exuma Sound to retrieve some traps. It was a beautiful day out with only a slight breeze, so I knew that it was going to be a very fun class. The process of retrieving our traps can be long and hard and sometimes we will sit out there for an hour rocking back in forth with the rolling waves watching hundreds of meters of line being coiled into our blue bins.

When we were at the 800-meter mark of our 1000-meter line, 4 of my fellow classmates, the intern helping us, and a visiting teacher all jumped in the water. We wanted to watch the traps come up from the deep blue abyss that we were currently hovering over. I had been snorkeling in a previous class out there, but not being able to see any bottom is a strange feeling. When you look down into the ocean all you can see is the light shining down into an endless vortex. After about 10 minutes of floating in this unreal place I noticed a white blob surface from deep bellow us. After about a minute of observing this strange thing, we all realized that it was part of the traps and that they were almost to the surface. It was absolutely incredible to witness our research actually happening. Once the traps got closer, I realized that what I had seen earlier was actually a Bathynomus giganteous that we had caught. For some reason, it was mind blowing to me to watch the traps surface.

While we were boating back to campus, I started to reflect on what we had just witnessed and also about what a great opportunity I have been given. I am in one of the most beautiful places in the world and I am going to school. For most people The Bahamas is a place for vacation, but for me it is my campus for everything that I am learning here. Our school days very rarely just involve sitting in a classroom because we are always using what is around us in order to learn more. This hands on learning style has definitely impacted me and I know that when I go home I will be able to take it with me.

Margaret Kelly

Margaret snorkels through the deep blue abyss.
Margaret snorkels through the deep blue abyss.
The trap coming up.
A deep sea trap on its way to the surface.