“Just over three years ago I was rumbling along in a van on my way from Rock Sound to The Island School, clutching my backpack tightly and wondering what I had gotten myself into. I had no idea that the next three and a half months would be the most challenging, rewarding and enlightening time of my life.
I attended The Island School as a student in the fall of my junior year in 2011 and I’m lucky to be back this spring as an intern with the Sea Turtle Research and Conservation team. It’s truly amazing to be back at a place that had such an impact on my education and overall growth as an individual. No matter where I walk on campus I’m flooded with memorable experiences, lessons I learned, and friends I made while at The Island School. The reason my Island School experience was so memorable is the same reason I found myself applying to be an intern for this spring. The unique nature of this place fosters an exceptional learning and professional environment that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world. Not to mention the ability to learn and experience rich Bahamian culture through the organization’s efforts to connect with the greater community. It was especially cool to arrive on campus and see how the organization has already grown over the past few years to include Hallig House, CSD, and the new intern housing under construction. I’m excited to see what the next several months will bring.” -James Murray
Sea turtles are on the endangered species Red List. The most common species of turtle found in the Bahamas is the green turtle, which we are studying. Previous studies in the Bahamas have included nutrition, grazing, growth rates, and abundance, but none have been conducted on Eleuthera. Our study is currently being conducted just north of Rock Sound in Half Sound, on the Atlantic side of the island. The purpose of our study is to investigate the abundance, size, and distribution of green sea turtles in Half Sound and our hypothesis is that areas with an abundance of sea grass will have dense turtle populations. We have two main methods that we’ve used so far in order to catch these turtles. The first is by boat, in which we take a small skiff to Half Sound. We ride Continue reading
The past two days have been primarily taken up with learning about and surveying green sea turtles in the local sounds and creeks. We began yesterday with a mini-class taught by Lucie, a researcher at CEI completing a baseline survey on turtle populations in South Eleuthera. We learned that there are 5 different species in the area–Green, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead, Leatherback and Hawksbill–though some are more abundant than others. All of the species are protected under international treaties, though very little is known about their populations, migratory habits, etc.
After learning about the turtles and how Lucie conducts her studies, we headed out to Jack’s Bay to do our first survey. We hiked in to the beach and got picked up to go out to the seagrass beds where the turtles usually hang out. Spotting turtles requires two people to stand on the bow deck of the boat and look in the seagrass for turtles. It is not an easy job, but once we all saw one turtle, it was much easier to spot them. We saw a few from the boat (and we were all really excited!), but when we got in to snorkel with them, they had all disappeared! We were a little bummed to miss swimming with the turtles, but Lucie assured us that the next day would be even better at Half Sound.
Today (Tuesday), we woke up and completed a run-swim for our morning exercise. Continue reading