Tag Archives: down island trip


This video consists of footage from free diving earlier in the semester, paddle boarding during exploration, and an ocean hole that we stopped at during our Down Island Trip. Free diving is one of my passions so I knew I wanted to include it in this week’s blog and share it with the world. The footage is of a site called “tunnel rock” that is around 30 feet deep. The paddle boarding footage was taken during exploration time and we were lucky enough to find six eagle rays in boathouse cut! That was the first time I saw eagle rays and I had been waiting the entire semester to find one, so it was exciting. Our Down Island Trip was fun overall but the highlight for me was definitely the ocean hole. I love to jump off cliffs into water and so doing that at the ocean hole gave me a rush.

Alex Weinstein

Island School Zombies.
Students and faculty dressed as zombies for the annual zombie run-swim.

On the 31st of October, everyone who was not on kayak or a down island trip woke up and prepared for a normal run-swim. To our surprise, we got handed three palm fronds to tie around our waists. We separated into groups and began our planned run-swim as normal. We turned the first corner and saw our English teacher, Olivia, standing before us in full zombie apparel, and quite in character. When we got closer, faculty members sprinted out of the woods, attempting to get our fronds. The only sanctuary that we found was when we burst into the clearing ready to once again get in the water. However, looming across the cut stood more faculty zombies waiting for us. In the end, it was probably the most intense workout thus far, and undoubtedly the most fun. That night, the caciques had prepared a Halloween surprise. Firstly at circle, we all showed up in our Halloween apparel. Then after dinner and an hour of study hall, we all went into the kitchen for a cake that they had made for us. The second surprise was that we all went into the presentation room and watched The Shining, however we only got half way before we had to go to bed. It was an exciting Halloween for all, and I couldn’t think of a better location to spend it than in the Bahamas.

Peter Ellinger

K3 on 8-day kayak.
K3 on 8-day kayak.
K3 as a storm approaches.
K3 as a storm approaches.



















Our 8-Day kayak trip will be one of my favorite memories of my Island School experience. It started off with Courtney and me in a double kayak with the sun shining. But quickly, the sun hid behind the clouds and we all saw a wall of rain waiting for us before our next campsite. Then it poured. It was a complete downpour for the first three days of our trip. While passing Princess Cays, we were in 15 minutes of strong, persistent wind while buckets of rain dumped down on us. I seriously considered paddling to the cruise ship offshore to ask for a room, but Alexa and Courtney kept screaming “The Climb” and my mood lifted. Once we got to Lighthouse beach on day three, a day earlier than planned, some of the engineers in the group created a type of shelter to stop the rain from hitting the fire that Jack was furiously trying to build. No one wanted to have cereal or tortillas and peanut butter for dinner, but we did. After dinner, the girls found out that one of our tents had collapsed and was sitting in a puddle of mud. In a spot of gloom, Téa lifted our spirits and recommended that all 7 girls fit into one tent. It worked okay for a little, until I felt the raindrops hitting my forehead in the middle of the night. At around 10:30 I couldn’t take it anymore, so I got out of the tent (at that point it had stopped raining) and was going to set up the other tent myself. But Alexa couldn’t sleep either, so she and I got up with only one working headlamp, and set up the tent. All five of the other girls were stuck in a tent piled together, while Alexa and I spread out, just the two of us in a four-person tent. The sun finally came out by day four. With our soaking tents and soggy food, we pressed on to turn this kayak trip around. The group as a whole explored the different caves and cliffs of lighthouse beach, spending our last 24 hours together before we would spend 48 hours alone. The next day, the sun was shining and it was time to take our oaths of silence on the cliff looking down the beach. All 13 of us walked down the beach silently, waiting for our turns to be dropped off. I was third, but could see Hendricks to my right, and Hugh to my left. They kept me entertained for most of my solo, but sometimes I would spend my time huddled in the corner of my self-made shelter, hiding from the sun and journaling. On the morning of pick up, I woke up early to pack up and watch the sunrise. As soon as I saw Glenn leading the group down the beach, a smile hit my face. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself for doubting my ability to last the 48 hour solo. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to survive 48 hours alone, but I did. I did it and am so proud of myself for accomplishing it. It was a major milestone in my Island School life. At the cliff, when our oath of silence was broken, it was so nice to see everyone and hear about peoples’ journeys. Our last few days of kayak went by like a breeze. The sun was shining and we could see for miles. That night around the campfire, K3 bonded about our solos, and I will always remember everyone singing along to Eliot’s bucket song and just how happy I was to be with everyone. The time that I spent with this group on kayak will always be one of my favorite memories from my Island School experience. It has helped change me and shape me into a better and stronger person.

Libby Schwab


Students pose for a picture in Hatchet Bay Cave in Northern Eleuthera.
Students pose for a picture in Hatchet Bay Cave in Northern Eleuthera.










View from The Glass Window Bridge.
View from The Glass Window Bridge.










Beach at the old Club Med Resort.
Beach at the old Club Med Resort.










After a nice sleep-in post-kayak, I was woken up to a loud “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” from all of girls dorm. I was so psyched to be spending my birthday with my friends on day one of the Down Island Trip. We had all heard the other groups rave about how much fun it was and I couldn’t wait to get going. On our first day, we visited a ruined airport and resort, a horse farm, and Harbour Island. It was fascinating to see the remnants of Eleuthera’s past through the overgrown runways and the disintegrating Venta Club resort. Oceanview Farm had many beautiful, healthy horses that we were able to see, and a very knowledgeable owner named Angela. She told us so much about the history of Eleuthera and how it has developed and changed over the past years. Harbour Island is a quaint island where the most common form of transportation is via golf cart. As we walked up and down the streets looking for people to interview for our Histories class, we stopped at the beach and saw the incredibly soft, pink sand that stretched on for miles. After conducting a few interviews, we split up to find a place to eat dinner. My group and I walked up and down the same street for hours looking for Avery’s, a small family-style restaurant that serves amazing, authentic food. We took a water taxi back, set up camp for the night by Preacher’s Cave, then made a fire on the beach where I was surprised with scrambled birthday cake (warm, half cooked cake batter made in a pan over a small fire) and Oreos. It was by far the best birthday I’ve ever had and there was no place I would rather have been. The next day I was woken up to a loud “HAPPY HALLOWEEN!” from the girls in my tent. We packed up camp as fast as we could so we could arrive at Spanish Wells, a 3-mile island just off of Eleuthera, in time for breakfast. I don’t think I’ve ever had a more amazing breakfast sandwich or milkshake in my life. Afterwards we walked around the island, which also used golf carts for transportation, and stopped at a thrift shop where many of us found Halloween costumes for later that night. We took a boat back around lunchtime and made our way to the blue hole. I looked down a 20ft drop into a natural pool of ocean water in the middle of a field. Jumping into the brisk, salty water was one of the most exhilarating leaps I’ve ever taken. We then made our way to the Hatchet Bay where we ventured deep into the dark abyss of a damp, rocky cave. The writing on the walls of the cave added an eerie Halloween effect. By the time we finished our adventures, it was the late afternoon so we headed out for a late lunch and Harkness discussion (because yes, this was an academic trip although it felt like a vacation). As the sun started setting we went to set up camp at an old Club Med. The beach there had some of the softest, pinkest sand I’ve ever seen and acres of falling down buildings and destroyed swimming pools. After some exploration, we all put on our wacky costumes and left for a Fish Fry in Governor’s Harbour. There was a DJ, limbo, and great food all night. By the time we got back to our campsite, we were all knocked out from too much singing and dancing in the streets. The following morning we had a Harkness discussion at the library, stopped at the mouth watering Governor’s Harbour Bakery, then made our way back to campus. The Down Island Trip exceeded my expectations, and I was lucky enough to have all my great friends with me to experience it. I can easily say that this has been one of the highlights of my Island School experience.

Inna Oh



Friends and Family Discount Extended at Cape Eleuthera Marina & Resort

Ever think of coming back to Eleuthera and doing some exploring? Well, we are making it easy for you with this Do It Yourself Down Island Trip (DIY-DIT) guide. Check out the sites, eat some local food and relive the down island trip you took as a student. To make the trip a little sweeter, don’t forget to check out the great deals at the Cape Eleuthera Marina & Resort for Island School alumni and alumni families, especially now that the Friends and Family discount has been extended through the end of the 2015 calendar year! Be sure to drop by campus and say hello as you set out on your DIT!

DIT map-01You can download a copy of the map here: DIT map.

DIY Down Island Trip!

Ever think of coming back to Eleuthera and doing some exploring? Well, we are making it easy for you with this Do It Yourself Down Island Trip (DIY-DIT) guide. Check out the sites, eat some local food and relive the down island trip you took as a student. To make the trip a little sweeter, don’t forget to check out the great deals at the Cape Eleuthera Marina & Resort for Island School alumni and alumni families. The Friends and Family discount is only available through December 22, 2014. Be sure to drop by campus and say hello as you set out on your DIT!

DIT map-01You can download a copy of the map here: DIT map.



Summer Term 2013: Academics Update July 11, 2013

After a week exploring South Eleuthera above and below the water, the students are already taking on the academic portion of Summer Term!  Again, the students are quite busy, so Summer Term faculty have filled in for this blog post!  We, as faculty, are consistently asking them, “How can we live well in a place?”  Exploring this question, students will rotate through week long intensives focusing on three different themes: Marine Ecology, Food Systems, and Tourism & Development.

Marine Ecology: In Marine Ecology, the classroom is not a room full of chairs or desks. Instead, the classroom is a small portion of a larger coral head, buzzing with fish of all sizes and coral of all kinds. As students learn about various components of the marine ecosystem, they have the opportunity to explore what they learn in class underwater by taking the time to observe a single section of a reef. Students return to the same spot every class, each day more aware of the complex interactions that make a functional ecosystem. Students also dive into the world of Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson and participate in discussions about ethics and conservation.

Food Systems class visits Edrin’s farm in Rock Sound.

Food Systems: Understanding where our food comes from, how it gets to our table, and where our waste going after we are through are all essential in gaining a sense of place and grasping our term’s theme: living well in that place.  During the Food Systems unit, students will visit farms (both on and off Island School’s campus) to learn about the challenges and techniques to growing food on Eleuthera.  In addition, students will understand both our environmental and social impacts that accompany our production of waste products.  After two and a half days of in and out of classroom learning about food systems and human ecology, students will take part in intensives that highlight important sustainable food systems here on the Cape.  Students will break up into two groups, focusing on either the Aquaponics system at CEI or the Farm on Island School’s campus to further understand how to live well in a place with regards to the food we eat and the waste we produce.

Tourism & Development (Down Island Trip): Students explore the island of Eleuthera on a four day camping road trip. While visiting new settlements, such Governor’s Harbour, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells, student conduct interviews with local Bahamians. On the Down Island Trip, students also visit some of the natural attractions like ocean holes to swim in, or caves to climb through. Throughout the week, students conduct a variety of readings and have discussions about how tourism has shaped the development of Eleuthera. As they see the effects of failed tourism on the island, they began to discuss alternative forms of tourism and how it can be done so in a sustainable way for the island of Eleuthera. The class opens student’s eyes to how we can travel and understand a place we are visiting, as well as getting a chance to see all 100 miles of Eleuthera!

Our first Down Island Trip comes back to campus today and we are looking forward to having our whole community together this afternoon!  Stay tuned for more updates from Summer Term 2013!

Summer Term Orientation Begins – A South Eleuthera Road Trip!

This summer, the Summer Term students will be writing blogs about their experience, but while they are busy in orientation, the summer term faculty will do their best to summarize the students’ daily life!

Hello from Eleuthera!

The students are quickly getting familiar with The Island School and all of the components of their Summer Term experience. This week, the students are busy orienting themselves with our kayak program, through a day-long kayak trip around the Cape, the SCUBA program, with three days of certification and training under the water, and our Down-Island program, with a daylong road trip around South Eleuthera.

Yesterday marked the first day of orientation and 11 students and three faculty headed north to Rock Sound for the term’s first South Eleuthera Road Trip – SERT – to experience the island aside from our campus. Later this summer, students will embark on a 4-day Down-Island journey, a vital part of The Island School experience. Through their trip up and down the island, students are introduced to the geography and culture of Eleuthera while understanding how much the those landscapes can teach the students about themselves and where they are. In addition, students will begin to understand the tourism industry on Eleuthera by visiting larger settlements to gain even more perspective of life on the island.

First stop on the SERT: the Banyan tree! Students had time to explore the area surrounding the Banyan tree before settling down for reflection, observation, and sketching what they saw. The group gathered to share ideas and drawings of the tree.At the Rock Sound Market nearby the Banyan tree, the SERT group searched the aisles for the most local and the more foreign foods they could find. After the 15-minute market hunt, they shared what they found and related their findings to the concept of local foods, waste, and the relationship between consuming food and the impact on the environment. For example, students were surprised that almost all the food on Eleuthera has to be shipped in from the United States. The students will Continue reading

Godspeed K1!

[slideshow]Kayak and Down Island Trip rotations are in full-swing this week at The Island School. On Monday morning the first group of kayakers left Cow Pointe on their three-day paddling excursion, while the rest of the summer term students piled into two vans to head down island. Each group will be out until Wednesday and on Thursday they’ll swap paddles for vans and vice-versa.


3 Down Island Moments with K1

Down Island Trips are not only an important Island School tradition, but they are one of the most engaging and exciting place-based educational opportunities available to our students.  As a staff member, DIT’s are one of my favorite opportunities, too.  I get to see students in new contexts, having new experiences, and negotiating new ideas (sometimes uncomfortable and difficult). This semester, in a walk-on basketball game with some locals on Harbour Island, a student was called “white boy” for the first time.  Students talked about being treated like tourists.  Individuals talked about how people would come up and easily identify them as Island School Students.  They felt like this label meant that they were not individuals, but standardized and stereotypical predictions of people.  They wrestled with the dangers of labels.  They thought about the virtues of tourism.  They even faced the fear of a first thing in the morning 3o foot cliff jump.  What a way to start the day!  I could feel paradigms shifting under my feet.

So, to demonstrate what a Down Island Trip really means, I bring you three moments that illustrate the heart of The Island School’s Down Island experience:

Staged at the Governor’s Harbour library, this is an excerpt from final Harkness-style discussion about what tourism means to Eleuthera.

Continue reading

Kayak Rotations Begin


On Monday of this week K1 departed girls dorm cut and began their 8-day kayak expedition as the kayak rotation got underway. While they were headed out on the water, K2 headed down island for their trip to the north end of Eleuthera. After returning yesterday from their trip K2 left The Island School this morning for their 8-day trip. The first group of kayakers are preparing for their solo experience over the next couple of days and will be back next week. The other groups, K3 and K4, are on campus doing their academic rotation and will be doing their own trips in the upcoming week.  To see more pictures, don’t get forget to check out our Flickr photostream.