Last week The Island School hosted 12 SCUBA divers from the New York Harbor School. Accompanying the divers were dive instructors Liv Dillon and Joe Gessert and board member Eli Smith. The divers continue the relationship between the New York Harbor School and The Island School, which includes dive trips such as this one as well as bringing students to enroll in Island School semesters as part of the City Bridge program. Students participated in up to 22 dives (four per day), 10 received their Advanced Open Water Certification, while the other 2 students (who had already completed their Advanced Open Water) worked towards their Divemaster.
In SCUBA, I have learned and experienced a lot. I have come to love and enjoy the fun of SCUBA diving. SCUBA has become one of my favorite hobbies. I love the feeling of getting into the water with my classmates and exploring the underwater world of The Bahamas.
My instructors Captain Ron Knight, Karen Knight and Mrs. Walker make diving fun. The Deep Creek Middle School offers us Ninth Graders the opportunities to not only learn to such an interesting subject, but to become certified divers. We also learn about the physics of SCUBA in Science class. All of the equipment is provided by The Island School. Captain Ron and Karen Knight are really great instructors. It has been fun learning from the best. SCUBA diving is a big opportunity for all to explore the underwater world. I’m looking forward to becoming a certified diver.
By: Shaquille Carey
K1 and K2 returned from their 3-day expeditions yesterday afternoon and now it is time for K3 and K4 to head out to sea! Meanwhile, back on campus, K1 and K2 are busy getting scuba certified!
The New York Harbor School (NYHS) is a public high school located on Governors Island off the southern tip of Manhattan. Founder, Murray Fisher, connected with The Island School over 8 years ago during NYHS’s inception as a resource on how to develop a non-traditional education organization in a traditional setting. Over the years NYHS has sent numerous faculty members to The Island School’s annual Teacher Conference and has sent even more students to Eleuthera for semester, summer and SCUBA programs. Every winter, NYHS flies south to Eleuthera to complete SCUBA certification for its students. These kids use the skill to help do research back home. One of the major projects is the restoration of oyster beds in the Hudson–read more here! This February we hosted another great group and wanted to share one student’s personal reflection on the trip–it really highlights the value of our partnership and why we continue to find ways to help it grow.
“Here I am at the edge of our dive boat ready to make my first descent into the open water. Secluded on an island in the Bahamas with several other minority students, we are far from the low income urban environment in which we are used to living. I sit on the edge of the boat with my back against the wind while the cool Bahamian breeze sneaks under my ears and over my shoulders. I am so eager to get into the ocean and explore. It looks like a giant, sprawling pool. As the warm bright sun beams on my tight dive suit hugging my skin, a twenty pound air tank on my back, and my hair brushed into a tight ponytail, I think to myself how did I get here? Before this trip I never had the opportunity to venture outside of the U.S. Continue reading
by Caciques Caroline Schoen and Aldis Gamble
I took a deep breath, feeling my body rise slightly, then let it out and sank as bubbles streamed past my face. I sank until my face was level with the hole in the mass of coral before me: the opening of tunnel rock. The light dimmed as I swam into the tunnel, but enough still remained to be able to see what surrounded me. To my left a light green mass of coral almost appeared to resemble a brain, its surface a twisted mass of ridges and valleys. In front of it, think, olive green fingers of coral waved gently, each six inches long with a hole down the center. On my right, a small school of large, silver fish passed so close beneath me that I could have reached out and touched them. Continue reading
by Caciques Evan and Emma
[slideshow]By just the 9th day at The Island School, “home” has taken on a new meaning. K1 and K2 made a triumphant return from our 3-day kayak expeditions feeling as though we had arrived home. It seemed as though the buggy beaches and the strenuous kayaking had accomplished something other than giving us itchy and tired arms—it created a family-like bond where everyone knew that together, the impossible could in fact be possible and any challenge could be overcome. Everyone had returned tanner, physically and stronger, mentally; and more excited than when they had left about the prospects of attending The Island School. Continue reading
If you distill all the rules and protocols of scuba diving, there is one fundamental principle: breathe.
Perhaps this seems redundant. On land, the physiological process of taking air into one’s lungs and then expelling it is also pretty essential. Yet when PADI, the Professional Association of Dive Instructors, declares, “always breathe slowly and deeply and continuously,” in their Open Water Manuel, they aren’t kidding around. Even several meters below the surface, divers should never hold their breath. The physical effects of changing depths, caused by tremendous fluctuations in pressure, must be regulated by a continuous cycle of inhalation, exhalation. Failure to do so could lead to arterial air embolism, pneumothorax, mediastinal emphysima, subcutaneous emphysima—conditions whose names alone are enough to scare most divers.
Luckily, I am not scared. Or at least, I am not as nervous as expected. I am a first time diver, but I am learning from a Divemaster who is patient, thorough, and reassuring. I came to The Island School this fall as a Teaching Fellow for the Continue reading
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Students breathing bubbles at Tunnel Rock
I awoke this morning to a howling wind and thought to myself “uh-oh”. But by the time we gave K1 and K2 kayak trips a big group hug around the flagpole, the wind had already begun to settle